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Shop employees work in peace after air compressor is hushed.

Small machine shops present a special problem in noise control becaue employees work in close proximity to machinery that is the noise source.

Faced with this problem, employees at Precision Roll Grinders (PRG), Allentown, PA, knew that getting away from the compressor was impossible. But with the aid of a noise control specialist, and SONEX curtains and panels from illbruck inc, Minneapolis, MN, they learned that it was possible to work side-by-side with the compressor.

PRG stipulated that any installation had to be economical snd practical. Not only did they have a specific budget, but any noise control enclosure had to allow access to the compressor and provide enough ventilation to prevent heat build-up. The rest they left up to noise control specialist Kris Kollevoll, BRD Noise and Vibration Control, Wind Gap, PA.

Mr Kollevoll's first step was to determine how much and what frequency of noise the compressor was making. "It's important to work with specific data rather than guess," he says.

He measured the compressor's overall noise level and frequency content using a hand-held octave band meter. Mr Kollevoll's tests, taken three feet from the compressor, showed levels as high as 92 dBA that peaked at a frequency of 500 Hz. The federal standard for noise exposure states that workers exposed to over 90 dBA during an 8-hr workday without hearing protection run the risk of hearing loss.

Machine shop employees met to determine noise reduction goals, including improving speech communication, dampening the impact of the irritating on-and-off compressor cycling, and lowering the employees' noise dose.

"Because the compressor was located in a corner (and because it could not be removed), we had two choices," says Mr Kollevoll. "Enclose the compressor on all four sides, or use the existing building to form half the enclosure. We decided the best solution was to install an accoustic curtain."

To form the outer walls, he chose SONEXcurtain Barrier Septum, a composite of sound-absorbing foam and a noise-containing barrier covered in a quilted, durable vinyl-coated fabric to make it resistant to abrasion, moisture, and oils.

The adjacent walls were covered with SONEXvalueline Panels, which absorb airborne sound energy to reduce reflections and reverberation.

When Mr. Kollevoll tested the noise level after the installation, he found that the noise level was reduced by 13 dBA to an overall level of only 70 dBA, a significant reduction.
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Comment:Shop employees work in peace after air compressor is hushed.
Publication:Tooling & Production
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
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