Sound Reduction for Industry

Reducing noise levels in an industrial application is generally undertaken to ensure that the workforce or members of the public are protected from excessive noise levels that could prove to be harmful to the health and well being of those within the area.

To achieve the required sound reduction we need to introduce elements of mass to provide the suitable sound reduction performance. We also need to ensure that no gaps or weak spots within the installation are left as this will compromise the effectiveness of the solution. 
Architectural sound reduction is covered further here and additional information on noise at work is available if required.

Acoustic Enclosures

Acoustic enclosures are generally manufactured from a steel construction and will include a roof to ensure the noise source is totally enclosed within the enclosure.

An enclosure may be small to fit around a small noise source such as a gearbox or fan unit. Alternatively it can be the size of a large factory and include electrics, air conditioning and other requirements needed to conduct the operations required of it.

The enclosure will normally consist of a solid steel outer skin to provide the required sound reduction, a mineral wool or foam core to provide absorption to prevent sound from reflecting off the steel services. If mineral wool is used then a perforated steel inner skin may be used to keep the mineral fibre in place.

Any doors or windows required within the enclosure will need to be designed to match the performance levels required of the enclosure.  

Acoustic enclosures are used widely in industry for:
– To go around machinery or plant
– Control noise from gear boxes, blowers and fan units
– Provide test spaces for measuring sound levels
– Sound Havens
– Control Cabins
– Power Generation

Design is critical to ensure that the manufacture of the enclosure meets the specification that is required to be met.
Enclosures that have equipment fitted within it are normally required to reduce the noise breakout to acceptable levels and therefore we need to understand what noise levels the equipment  generates.
For sound havens and control cabins we generally want to stop noise entering so that the operators have a safe area to work or wait whilst not required to be within a noisy environment. For this we need to understand what the noise levels are in the area around the cabin or haven.

Small Units
May be supplied as a welded constructed unit in one or more sections and designed to be dropped over or assembled around the equipment


Framed Systems
Enclosures may be supplied in a demountable system consisting of a frame and bolt in panels.
These systems are easily transported compared to a larger fixed unit and also allows the enclosure to be built up around equipment already fixed in place.


Modular Panels
Similar to a framed system, enclosures built using a modular panel system can be easily transported to site and built around existing equipment or spaces.
Large enclosures built from modular panels may need supporting steel work to help support the construction and the panels join together using a suitable fixing or method that is part of the overall system design to ensure the structural and performance requirements are not compromised.


Fixed Systems
These include solutions such as containers that are popular for power generation applications as they can be easily moved on the back of a lorry, with the equipment already in position and ready for connecting to the services or supply.

Being of a steel construction enclosures are usually available in the following finishes:
– Unpainted finish (where mild steel is used)
– Various grades of stainless steel (not usually painted)
– Powdercoated to any RAL or Pantone Colour (size may restrict the use of this process)
– Wet Painted (including marine applications) 

Acoustic performance levels will be subject to the individual system used and the testing that the manufacturer has conducted on their own products.

We can assist in identifying a suitable system for you to meet all the performance requirements needing to be met

Large Enclosure with Sliding Doors
Enclosure with inlet and outlet attenuation
Side View on a Steel Enclosure

Acoustic Screens

Acoustic screens are generally manufactured from a steel construction and unlike an enclosure do not include a roof which can allow sound to pass over the top if poorly designed or specified.

An acoustic screen is designed to built around a noise source and can be pretty much any size.
Screens can consist of one or more sides and be used in both internal and external applications including along lines of communication such as roads or railways.

A screen will normally consist of a solid steel outer skin to provide the required sound reduction, a mineral wool or foam core to provide absorption to prevent sound from reflecting off the steel services. If mineral wool is used then a perforated steel inner skin may be used to keep the mineral fibre in place.

Any doors or windows required within the enclosure will need to be designed to match the performance levels required of the enclosure.  

Acoustic screens are used widely in industry for to provide a suitable barrier between a noise source and the rest of the environment

Design is critical to ensure that the manufacture of the screen meets the specification that is required to be met.

 

Modular Panels
Acoustic screens built using a modular panel system can be easily transported to site and built around existing equipment or spaces.
Screens built from modular panels may need supporting steel posts support the panels and an allowance for the fixing of these needs to be included in the design.

Screens can include features such as doors, windows and acoustic louvres as required.

 

Being of a steel construction enclosures are usually available in the following finishes:
– Unpainted finish (where mild steel is used)
– Various grades of stainless steel (not usually painted)
– Powdercoated to any RAL or Pantone Colour (size may restrict the use of this process)
– Wet Painted (including marine applications) 

Acoustic performance levels will be subject to the individual system used and the testing that the manufacturer has conducted on their own products.

We can assist in identifying a suitable system for you to meet all the performance requirements needing to be met

Acoustic Screen with Doors & Windows
External Noise Barrier
Internal view of an acoustic screen

Acoustic Doors

Industrial acoustic doors provide the enhanced performance levels required whilst being robust and capable of surviving the daily rigors expected within industrial applications.

Whether to fill a new opening or replace an existing door the options for door types and hardware is extensive to suit most applications.

Industrial acoustic doors are an ideal solution for:
– Internal or external personnel doors
– Upgrading existing doors 
– Control rooms and sound havens
– Privacy areas such as conference rooms

Door types available include:

– Hinged single leaf doors
– Hinged double leaf doors
– Sliding doors

And can be manufactured from either:
– Wood
– Steel

The doors are commonly supplied as a pre-hung set meaning the door leaf and frame will have been manufactured as a set in the factory to ensure the fit and seals are correct.

Depending on the manufacture and type doorsets can be sourced to provide rating in excess of Rw 50dB

Timber acoustic doorsets are available in:
– Primed finish ready for onsite decoration or to a finished paint colour
– Wood veneer or finish from available ranges
– Laminate finish

Steel acoustic doorsets are generally available in a powdercoated finish to a standard RAL colour or wet painted to suit (depending on colour availability)

Large Industrial Sliding Doors
Steel Acoustic Access Door
Timber Acoustic Door

Acoustic Foams

Foams make ideal acoustic absorption mediums given that they are porous, lightweight and can be converted in to a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Given the lightweight nature of the foams they are ideal for the following applications:
– Industrial applications such as around noisy equipment or areas
– Lining enclosures and canopies 
– Used in plenums and ducts
– HVAC applications

Melamine Foam
Available in various grades that are suitable for various applications or where added fire resistance standards need to be met.
Lightweight nature of this type of foam at 9kg/m³ make this an ideal choice for most applications.


 

PU Foams (Non-Fire Rated)
Numerous types of open cell polyurethane (PU) foams are available on the market that offer good acoustic performance with the continued benefit of being a lightweight and flexible material.
Density of foams available vary but are generally around 20 to 40kg/m³ 


 

PU Foams (Fire Rated)
Fire rated PU foams are treated with an additional process to provide a Class 0 rating (BS 476 parts 6 & 7).
Density of these foams are usually between 70 to 90kg/m³ 

Fabrics
Common fabrics used by manufacturers include Cara and Lucia range manufactured by Camira Fabrics.

Self-Adhesive Backing
Fitted with a self-adhesive layer to provide a readily available fixing method

Foils
A variety of foils are available and include plain or reinforced types in different material thicknesses.
Foils are generally applied by the manufacturer and are available with or without a self-adhesive element to allow use without the need of an additional adhesive.

Other Facings
A number of different facing materials from tissues to specialist materials to add chemical, thermal or abrasive properties to the foam can be provided. 
Materials include vinyl materials, tissues and specialist felts plus many more different types.

 

Barrier Materials

Barrier materials are flexible sheet materials that can be used to add mass to a structure.
These materials can also be used in conjunction with foams or other absorption based materials to help introduce an element of sound reduction to a product.

For maximum effectiveness of these materials then the full area needs to be treated ensuring that no gaps or weak spots are left between any framing, materials or junctions of these materials where noise could easily pass through and therefore negating the barrier material’s purpose

Barrier materials tend to be used in the following applications:
– Industrial applications 
– Lining enclosures and canopies 
– Partitions
– As part of a composite material

Polymeric
A flexible material that is manufactured from a PVC or rubber material along with other binding agents to provide a way of introducing mass to a system.
Available in a range of different masses from 2kg/m² up to 20kg/m² plus.


Bitumen
A flexible material that is manufactured from a bitumen material along with other binding agents to provide a way of introducing mass to a system.
Available in a range of different masses from 2kg/m² up to 20kg/m² plus.


Other Types
Various other products may be available that have been manufactured from different base materials with the same aim of providing a flexible mass layer.

Plain
As a plain material

Foils
A variety of foils are available and include plain or reinforced types in different material thicknesses.
Foils are generally applied by the manufacturer and are available with or without a self-adhesive element to allow use without the need of an additional adhesive.

Damping Materials

Damping materials are flexible sheet materials that can be used to help reduce the resonance of sheet materials.
Where barrier materials needs to be used over 100% of the area, damping materials are only required to cover around 30% of the area to be treated (treated area required may differ and you should refer back to the manufacturers recommendations).

Damping materials tend to be more flexible and are designed to help reduce the vibration of materials such as steel when noise is attempting to pass through.

Barrier materials tend to be used in the following applications:
– Vehicles
– Roof Systems 
– Audio Speakers

Polymeric
A flexible material that is manufactured from a PVC or rubber material along with other binding agents to provide a way of introducing mass to a system.
Available in a range of different masses from 2kg/m² up to 20kg/m² plus.


Bitumen
A flexible material that is manufactured from a bitumen material along with other binding agents to provide a way of introducing mass to a system.
Available in a range of different masses from 2kg/m² up to 20kg/m² plus.


Other Types
Various other products may be available that have been manufactured from different base materials with the same aim of providing a flexible mass layer.

Damping sheets are generally supplied with an adhesive layer as an integral part of the product

Plain
As a plain material

Foils
A variety of foils are available and include plain or reinforced types in different material thicknesses.
Foils are generally applied by the manufacturer and are available with or without a self-adhesive element to allow use without the need of an additional adhesive.

Treatment Types

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