Why and how to employ air curtains at industrial doorways

Air curtains can minimize humidity transfer between refrigerated and ambient temperature areas.

According to studies, work areas which are too hot or too cold, from air infiltrating from nearby doors, can affect worker productivity. Many facility operators unsuccessfully attempt to separate indoor and outdoor environments with strip curtains, which are highly inefficient because they leak, are subjected to strong winds, and insufficiently cover the width and height of doorways. While cold or hot weather from open doorways affects worker productivity, it can also skew the manufacturing machinery and computers, as abrupt changes in the temperature decrease quality control (QC). Studies have shown temperature lowers the production activity by four percent per degree when temperatures reach 80.6 F (27 C) and above. This dramatically affects employee performance, making it hard for them to finish basic tasks. Further, working in colder environments allows for more human error and less productive individuals.1

Internal freezer doors can convert infiltrated outdoor humidity into icy floors and door hardware, resulting in daily maintenance costs and present occupational safety liabilities. Air curtains can minimize humidity transfer between refrigerated and ambient temperature areas, which is common near freezer door openings. Minimizing humidity can limit slippery floors and door hardware freeze-ups. Moisture sources may need modification before expecting an air curtain to minimize humidity challenges. Likewise, when temperatures rise above recommended levels in refrigerated storage, products can spoil, and the air curtain’s return on investment (ROI) can increase. Further, the duration of such short rises in temperature can go unnoticed, which results in spoiled products, which are serious health and safety hazards.

A new air curtain industry innovation increasing efficacy is the adaptive settings feature, which potentially boosts energy efficiency by automatically calibrating the airstream performance, in accordance with real-time local weather conditions. Adaptive settings are possible with factory engineered software since they use proprietary algorithms to determine the best volume, velocity, and uniformity (VVU) balance for the given moment. Once determined, the controller adjusts the the fan’s speed based on those current weather conditions.

Air curtains must adequately cover the doorway width and operate with enough velocity to cover the height.

Smart on-board controllers and app platforms connect end-users to their commercial doorway air curtains through the internet for programming, operating, and monitoring. Pinpointing the most energy-efficient air curtain fan speeds (up to 10) helps buildings meet energy conservation, sustainability, and carbon footprint goals, while supporting thermal comfort. Further, applications have also helped the air curtain industry advance; using a smart phone, facility operators can access an endless supply of air curtains at a multitude of addresses from anywhere across the globe.

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