When we pitched this article idea to the company press materials editor, he laughed, because the answer to the question is in the name, “industrial air filtration system.” He said it will be a one-sentence write-up, and he has a point. However, there is more to an industrial air purifier than one might expect. Why? Because there are many different types of pollutants and many different types of workspaces.
In addition to these basic air purification concerns, there are also efficiency levels appropriate to different locations, business models, and needs. There is a wide range of different regulatory needs for industrial air purification, and for organizations with a production center in or near residential areas, odor, emissions, and public relations must be considered.
What all of this tells you right off the bat is, when you need an industrial air purifier, it is best to work with a full-fledged design, engineering, and installation company like Aair Purification Systems. Because anyone can turn on a fan and wag the front door, but when you need reliable, round-the-clock air purification that meets OSHA standards while remaining competitive, you need to work with the pros.
What Does an Industrial Air Filtration System Do?
When most people think of an air purifier, they think of a small appliance that sits next to the bed or easy-chair and cleans the air in one of a number of ways. Some people might think of a shop-vac, which is a small suction device that is either built into a position near a workbench or mounted on wheels. But an industrial-grade air filtration system is another beast altogether. They are massive, and often resemble a modern gain silo on the side of buildings in your local industrial park.
These huge machines have duct systems that travel around the interior of a warehouse, factory, or production center to clean the air. As mentioned above, there is more than one reason to clean the air. They include:
Protect Respiratory Health
It is common knowledge that woodworking is particularly dangerous to respiratory health. Many industrial processes are equally or more dangerous. For these reasons, air purification and personal respiratory protective equipment are essential on many worksites.
Purity in Production
If a welder, for example, is working in a very dusty environment, it can be dangerous for his health. But it can also compromise the quality of the welds he produces if they become contaminated. This is true of many manufacturing, fabrication, and other industrial processes. It is especially true of brewing facilities and agricultural centers.
Meet Regulatory Standards
Federal and state authorities often impose specific requirements for air quality in and around industrial settings. This is especially true for companies with workshops located near residential areas or protected natural spaces. Failure to meet these standards can be bad for business, bad for the health of everyone who comes into contact with the facility, and can come with some hefty fines.
Even in the best cases, foul odors arising from certain production processes can make it hard for crews to focus on their jobs. In the worst cases, unpleasant odors are unpleasant because they are dangerous. If a facility does not, as they say, “pass the sniff test,” it is bad news for everyone involved.
Maintain Community Relations
Branding professionals would tell you that a bad smell emanating from your company warehouse is very poor advertising. This is especially true if you are located near a residential area. But even if your neighbors are running their own industrial processes, bad odors rising from your facility can make your relationship with your neighbors tenser than it needs to be. Even if your facility is remote and isolated, investors, partners, and even journalists may pay you a visit, and you will certainly want to make a positive impression.
Guard Against Pathogens & Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, all kinds of organizations have been investing in advanced air filtration systems to protect work teams and the general public. For many organizations, state and federal regulations have made this a necessary part of doing business. For others, customers have demanded safer environments for themselves and each other. Dentist offices, in particular, need specialized air purification systems in order to perform their core functions safely. The same is true for many types of businesses that previously did not need these types of technologies.
Similarly, volatile organic compounds arise from many kinds of industrial processes and must be captured, neutralized, and eliminated. While the majority of VOCs are not directly or immediately toxic, they have been associated with long-term health effects which are to be avoided when possible. For workers who would be exposed to certain VOCs on a daily basis, mitigation and neutralization are a necessary part of doing business.
How Industrial Air Purification Works
In the simplest terms, air purifiers move air through a filter that catches pollutants and particles, producing cleaner, more breathable air. The major difference between one type of air purifier and another is its size, but most importantly, the type of filter it uses. The various filters used include:
- Absolute Filters: The most common is the “High Efficiency Particulate” Air filter or “HEPA” filter. Other absolute filters include the EPA and ULPA filters.
- Active Carbon: Used for excessive pollutant concentrations and toxic particulates.
- Dry Filters: These come in a range of efficiency ratings and provide the most basic type of air filtration by passing air through a screen.
- Electrostatic: Used to attract soot and smoke, electrostatic filters use a negative charge to attract pollutants using mild electromagnetism.
- Wet Filters: Also referred to as “viscous filters,” wet filters contain grease or oils to catch, hold, and sometimes attract certain types of airborne contaminants.
Industrial air purification uses one or more of these filtration types to clean large spaces with powerful air motivation systems and massive duct networks to cover high volumes of air. To protect your crews, customers, and ensure purity in your production process, it is always best to work with a trusted and proven industrial air filtration company.