Simulation, Engineering Services, TriMech Services

Understanding Ventilation Strategies for a Safer Manufacturing Floor

By Rob Taylor on September 14, 2020

Providing a safe and healthy manufacturing environment is crucial to the well-being of the employees operating the manufacturing floor. Proper ventilation is one of the ways in which you can contribute to their safety. Most of the time, the machinery used in manufacturing floors produces heat, fumes or haze that can have an effect in the productivity of the workers. So, how can you improve the ventilation conditions in your manufacturing floor?

Ventilation Challenges in a Manufacturing Floor

Open Loop Ventilation facilityManufacturing floors are ever changing. Sometimes they are designed with the proper ventilation strategies from the get-go. Others, however, are simply designed to fit a specified building code which dictates how many air changes per hour (ACH) are needed for a facility of that size. That strategy doesn’t identify problematic regions that exist in those specific facilities. Human safety and comfort can be compromised in such situations.

Regardless, there are inevitable changes that affect ventilation in manufacturing floors, such as machinery being moved from one place to another or the expansion of the facilities. When these changes happen, the old ventilation strategy is no longer suitable for the new conditions. Although many companies add ventilation systems like new fans or louvers, they find themselves investing large amounts of money without seeing any results.

Figuring out the best ventilation strategy is not always a simple procedure. There are high costs related to buying new ventilation equipment, and in most cases production will have to be halted. Imagine the frustration of spending the time and money to make these changes only to find that they don’t fully address the problem – or even make the problem worse.

Using CFD Simulations to Solve Ventilation Challenges

To make sure you save time and money in the process, it's important to conduct the proper analysis of your current situation and look for viable solutions to your problems. With computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis in SOLIDWORKS Flow Simulation, you can bring to life your current ventilation situation and virtually test alternate strategies to determine the best fit for your situation. The most valuable benefit of CFD simulations is the ability to not only see exactly where the airflow is within the facility, but also see why the air is moving the way it is. 

In the hands of an experienced simulation engineer, CFD results bring to life regions where the airflow is providing the necessary temperature and ventilation benefits – and regions where the supplied air is not reaching its intended area of the facility. At TriMech, our CFD Simulation Project Engineers work with clients to combine our expertise in solving CFD simulations of facility ventilation with the client’s expertise on their needs and what potential solutions are viable.

How TriMech Improved a Ventilation Strategy with CFD Analysis

We recently had an experience where a client needed to eliminate haze produced from the fumes of their machinery in their metal casting facility. Throughout the years, the facility had undergone structural changes which was affecting their ventilation strategy. The plant had grown, new equipment had been added and things had been moved around, but their ventilation strategy had not been updated. The haze from the fumes was left lingering in the roof of some of the facility's areas, making it unsafe for the floor operators.

We used the 2D drawings of their plant and created a 3D CAD model to run a CFD simulation. Through this analysis we assigned the temperatures, airflow values and contamination concentrations to simulate the airflow in the existing space. The analysis showed haze accumulation in the same areas as the physical plant.

 

With the CFD analysis, we were able to run different "what if" scenarios that allowed us to reveal critical information that informed the next design solution. After multiple simulations, we discovered that the changes to the plant were minimal and its ventilation could be improved with additional equipment such as louvers and fans. Through this analysis, our client found a cost-effective solution that would also reduce their production downtime. With the proper analysis, we were able to simulate the areas that would need to be updated and our client could strategically plan their plant renovations.

 

At TriMech, our Project Engineering Group is available to help you with CFD analysis and additional engineering services that can help you and your business. Our experienced engineers are here to help you overcome your challenges.

Are you curious about the details and outcome of this project? We are excited to share the process with you, which is why we have created this white paper for you to download and discover all the details.

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