Noise Reduction in Factories

Noise reduction in factory

Factories are one of the loudest working environments due to the excess noise created by running machinery. Keep reading for tips on how to reduce noise in your factory and create a more productive work space.

Sound Absorbing Wall Treatments

When high-noise machines are placed up against walls in the factory, sound absorbing wall treatments can provide noise reduction. Our Absorption Foam or Acoustic Absorption Panels can be easily hung over walls to absorb noise coming from the vibration of machinery.

Widely Spacing Machines

Widely spacing machines creates more room for noise reverberation throughout the room, which can be combated by installing efficient sound absorbing treatment on the ceiling and upper walls, as previously mentioned. This can reduce the total amount of noise in the room, but does little to reduce noise in the free field for the equipment operator standing directly in front of the machinery. This layout is better for speech intelligibility, which is a measure of how comprehensive speech is in a given setting.

Closely Spacing Machines

In a factory with higher ceilings, machines should be closely spaced. In this case, room surface treatment can be more effective if the noise in the free field is quieter than the total noise reverberating throughout the whole room. This will reduce the reflected sound, meaning that equipment operators can be more responsive to the noise of their own machines. This layout is better for increasing employee productivity and satisfaction, as machine operators are not as distracted by other nearby noise and can focus on the job in front of them.

Installing Enclosures to Contain Machine Noise

A sound-isolating enclosure with an operable view panel can allow workers to operate their machine without directly facing high noise levels. While this method involves constructing and installing an enclosure, it can be incredibly effective in containing the noise of a machine.

If you are interested in learning more about isolating vibrating machinery, read this article for additional information. If one of these tactics worked in your factory, let us know in the comments below.

 

Unexpected Ways Noise is Getting Into Your Home

soundproofing home

If you’ve ever lived close to a noise source, you know the negative effect noise disturbances can have on your life. Removing the noise source is usually impossible, and hiring a soundproofing expert is expensive, leaving most victims of noise problems feeling hopeless.

However, many noise problems are the result of common weak spots that can be easily fixed. Keep reading to learn about three unexpected ways noise is getting into your home and what you can do to stop it.

The Problem: Cracked Walls

Believe it or not, minor cracks and gaps in walls are one of the most common culprits of a noise problem. They make walls susceptible to sound waves, which will easily slip through weak spots and find their way into your home. Even the most elaborate soundproofing solutions will fail if cracks are not addressed first.

The Fix: Caulk

Surprisingly, this common sound problem has one of the simplest solutions. Start by examining your walls, paying special attention to areas surrounding doors and windows, where cracks are most likely to occur. Mark any weak spots that you find and then seal them up. Any basic caulk will work, but if you want some extra reinforcement, consider using green glue, a sealant designed specifically to remedy sound problems.

The Problem: Gaps Below Doors

As we’ve noted, any gaps increase susceptibility to noise problems. Larger gaps, like the space between a doorway and the floor, are bigger problems than small cracks in the walls. If you are able to slide a piece of paper underneath your front door, the gap is too big and sound is definitely coming in through the open space.

The Fix: Door Sweeps

Installing an entirely new door is unnecessary to fix this problem. All you need to fill in the open space is a door sweep. Sweeps are designed to fill any space left between a door and the floor beneath it, creating a tight seal and blocking sound waves from entering.

The Problem: Weak Windows

Windows are another spot targeted by sound waves. Most window glass is relatively thin, allowing sound to sneak through. Additionally, the space around windows is extra susceptible to cracks, making windows the perfect spot for sound waves to hit.

The Fix: Soundproof Curtains

Soundproof curtains are an affordable solution to reinforce your windows. They are made from a highly engineered, soundproof material designed to block sound waves as they hit. They also create a tight seal around the window, strengthening the space against noise. These ones can be customized to fit any window and are offered in a variety of fabrics for an inconspicuous solution.

Noise can be a sneaky culprit, but with these tips, you can easily protect your home from outside noise. Did one of these solutions work for you? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Open Plan Offices vs. Closed Plan Offices

closed office plan with acoustic treatment for speech privacy

Though there are many distractions in the workplace, one of the most commonly noted is noise. Excessive background noise from coworkers typing, chatting, or talking on the phone can distract others from their work, making them less productive.

To combat this issue, many offices have begun to consider speech privacy, and have looked for ways to improve speech privacy in their offices.

When we think about speech privacy in the workplace, we have to consider the two most common office plans, open plans and closed plans.

Open Plans

Open office plans are, as the name states, open and spacious. They tend to be large spaces with relatively low ceilings and minimal, if any, floor to ceiling barriers.

Open office plans have a ton of benefits. The openness encourages a greater sense of community, making employees feel more comfortable building relationships and asking coworkers for help. The lack of permanent barriers allows for easy setup and rearrangements. Additionally, one HVAC system and one lighting system can usually support the entire space, making open plans more energy efficient.

Open plans have one major flaw though, they lack speech privacy. Speech privacy allows for conversations to be contained to only those individuals involved in the conversation. This not only keeps speech confidential but also allows for an overall quieter workplace.

Speech privacy can be introduced in open plans with the right tools. Screens, or partial height barriers, should be placed between workstations. These can be specifically designed acoustics screens or regular cube dividers. The walls, ceilings, and floors of the office should be treated with sound absorbing material to diminish echo and reverberation. In particularly noisy offices, electronic sound masking systems can be installed to combat background noise.

Closed Plans

Closed plan offices are made up of multiple, individual offices with many floor to ceiling barriers.

Closed plan offices shut employees off from one another and can discourage community building within the office. These plans are more difficult to set up initially and layouts are usually permanent once installed.

While they do have some drawbacks, closed plans provide extreme speech privacy. They have floor to ceiling barriers with hallways acting as buffer zones between offices, which makes for a very quiet workspace. Because of the lack of noise, employees often focus best in closed plans. While closed plans may benefit from some sound treatment, they generally do not require as much attention as open plans do.

All businesses and office environments are unique so it’s important to find the office plan that works best for your employees. Have questions about creating speech privacy in your workplace? Let us know in the comments below!

ULI Awarded Developer – Case Study

chicago acoustical testing

A large, ULI awarded developer in Chicago, IL was considering a switch to panelized light gauge framing for developments between five and thirteen stories high. Before making this change, the developer wanted to run some acoustical tests.

The developer looked to Commercial Acoustics to facilitate the testing. Commercial Acoustics’ expert technicians performed a total of eight tests on wall assemblies with 6-inch studs, 24-inch O.C, two layers of 5/8-inch drywall and a single layer of Wall Blokker Pro.

The test results showed an improvement in STC by a delta of +5 points in 12 ga, 14 ga, 16 ga and 18 ga when the Wall Blokker Pro was in place. The developer was pleased with the Wall Blokker Pro’s ability to improve STC ratings.

Next-Generation MLV: Mass Loaded Vinyl’s Potential Applications

Soundproof Media Room

While Mass Loaded Vinyl has been a dependable and competitive product to improve STC in industrial settings for decades, there has been little improvement in the product itself in recent years. As we’ve discussed before, Mass Loaded Vinyl is a PVC-based product that adds a cheap filler, usually Calcium Carbonate or Barium Sulfate, to provide superior sound ratings. The initial versions of MLV included Lead as well but was replaced over the years due to health concerns.

The focus on product development has been on how to make the product cheaper, and thus more applicable to residential and commercial settings. This has led to a number of improvements in manufacturing and a search for cheaper filler alternatives.

However, the PVC-base of the product has not changed – until recently. After several years of product development, followed by 18 months of fire and acoustical testing, Commercial Acoustics has developed an EVA-based Mass Loaded Vinyl soundproofing membrane that has improved the performance without sacrificing cost competitiveness.

One major difference is that PVC is a naturally rigid material (think exterior panels for housing or fences). In order to make it flexible, you need to add a softening agent, known as a “plasticizer”. The downside of this is 1) added cost, and 2) the plasticizer migrates out of the product over time, causing the PVC to become brittle. This is why older plastic toys break easily if left outside for a few weeks.

While Wall Blokker is equally heavy as other types of Mass Loaded Vinyl, the improved flexibility also improves the sound-blocking capacity, on both Wood and Metal stud walls.

Regardless of your needs, Commercial Acoustics has years of experience installing Mass Loaded Vinyl and Wall Blokker products, to offer our a clients a full range of solutions for their unique problems.

Resolve Noise Complaints Easily with Apt. App

Commercial Acoustics partners with Apt. App to work on soundproofing solutions

A growing number of people are finding that apartment communities are the ideal fit for their lifestyles. While there are innumerable benefits to apartment-style living, there are also some major drawbacks. Most notably, noise.

Dealing with noisy neighbors becomes a much greater struggle when living in such close proximity. With nothing but a thin wall separating your bedroom from your neighbor’s living room, noise problems can quickly become unbearable.

However, bringing up a complaint to a neighbor is uncomfortable, and can come off as rude or unfriendly. Because of this, residents often choose to accept constant noise as an unavoidable aspect of their living situation and try to ignore it, rather than confront their neighbors about the issue.

This is where Apt. App comes in. Apt. App, a Denver based company, has developed a technology designed to enhance and simplify the resident living experience. The app boasts a range of features curated to resolve the daily struggles of apartment-style living. Among these is a neighbor-to-neighbor communication system with an option for the sender to remain anonymous. This allows residents to send polite, anonymous messages to their neighbors about issues like noise disturbances, without the fear of creating a hostile relationship.

Apt. App hopes that this communication system, combined with the rest of the features the app offers, will promote the growth of positive communities within apartment communities and help residents develop good relationships with their neighbors.

Commercial Acoustics understands the need for noise control in apartment complexes and applauds Apt. App’s endeavor to facilitate and resolve noise complaints in an easy, civil manner. If you’re interested in learning more about what Apt. App has to offer, click here to visit their site.

Case Study – Naples Flatbread

commercial acoustics absorption panels naples flatbread

Naples Flatbread, a modern restaurant serving up artisanal flatbreads, recently discovered they were suffering from a sound problem. In addition to their restaurant services, the trendy location is equipped with a stage and offers live music to guests as they dine. Nearly all restaurants experience some type of soundproofing or acoustics problem, and hosting live music only adds to the need for expert sound treatment. Naples Flatbread found their sound solution with Commercial Acoustics.

Commercial Acoustics sent their acoustic experts to consult with the owners of Naples Flatbread. A clear height of 30′ combined with the number of sealed surfaces that restaurants require was causing something of an acoustic nightmare for the restaurant. The technicians analyzed the restaurant, considered its layout, and calculated the exact amount of absorption necessary for the space

Our acoustic experts determined that 75 acoustic panels would considerably improve the acoustics in the restaurant, effectively solving their sound problem. Commercial Acoustics manufactured all 75 panels, each measuring 2x4x2″. The experts then developed the ideal layout for the panels, installing 50 to the restaurant’s walls and the remaining 25 to its ceiling.

Commercial Acoustics was able to fully remedy the acoustic problem Naples Flatbread was experiencing. The restaurant is now the ideal location for guests to enjoy both their flatbreads and their live music events, without the burden of a noise problem.

Isolating Vibrating Machinery

Commercial Acoustics Isolating Vibrating Machinery

From factories to schools to offices, nearly all buildings contain some type of mechanical equipment. While necessary to keep operations running smoothly, mechanical equipment tends to generate a lot of excess noise. These types of machines vibrate as they operate, creating a type of noise that can be both heard and felt by building occupants. This is because vibrations move from the machines to various building elements, traveling throughout the building’s structure and spreading noise as they go.

Constant vibrations rumbling in the background make for a distracting environment in which employees and students have difficulty focusing and are therefore less productive than they could be. This common noise problem can be resolved with soundproofing techniques like sound isolation. In this case, sound isolation means separating the offending equipment from the building’s structure in order to prevent vibrations from being transmitted from the machine to structural elements. Resilient mounts can be used for this purpose by isolating vibrating machinery from the building’s structure. This solution works best when equipment is located close to columns or load-bearing walls, as these structures offer better support for the resilient mounts.

Typically, mechanical equipment is bolted directly to the floor, allowing vibrations to easily jump from the machine and attach to structural elements, sending additional vibrations throughout the entire building. By relocating this type of equipment so that it can be mounted to a column or load-bearing wall with a resilient mount, structure-borne noise can be diminished. While machinery treated in this manner will still project some amount of airborne noise, the removal of the structure-borne noise is typically enough to render the remaining airborne noise unnoticeable.

Noise from mechanical equipment may seem impossible to resolve, but with the proper soundproofing techniques, the noise problem can be eliminated without much interruption to the building’s daily use. If you’re concerned about mechanical noise becoming an issue in one of your projects, reach out to Commercial Acoustics to learn more about resolving this type of noise problem.

Understanding Speech Privacy

soundproofing and sound masking for open offices

What is Speech Privacy?

Speech Privacy can be defined as the inability of an outside listener to understand a conversation between two or more separate individuals. Effective speech privacy is an essential aspect of any office as it allows employees to:

  • Conduct confidential conversations without being overheard
  • Ignore distracting conversations
  • Understand in-person and phone conversations more clearly

Measuring Speech Privacy

Speech privacy operates on a scale of 0% – 100%, where 0% means perfect privacy (no communication) and 100% means perfect communication (no privacy). Most offices aim to achieve a speech privacy level of 5%. At this level, most speech will be unintelligible to an outside listener, though some words may be understood.

Achieving Speech Privacy

In order to achieve the desired level of speech privacy, there must be a careful balance between the noise created by the speaker and the ambient noise in the room.

When the speaker’s voice is louder than the ambient noise in the room, the speech becomes non-private, rendering it intelligible to all those within earshot.

When the speaker’s voice is much lower than the ambient noise, the intended listener will be unable to understand the speaker.

When the speaker’s voice and the ambient noise are equal, speech privacy will be at its most ideal level.

Direct Speech Paths vs. Reflective Speech Paths

Open office plans allow for direct speech intrusion paths, meaning speech will travel directly from the speaker to the listener. These paths may be blocked with the introduction of screens. Screens can be anything that blocks the sound’s path including acoustical products, furniture and cubicle walls.

Enclosed plans allow for speech intrusion through shared walls and doors, flanking, and sound leaks (cracks) in the building’s structure. These paths may be closed by sealing sound leaks, installing carpeting and softer furnishings, and installing acoustic panels to walls and ceilings.

If you have concerns about speech privacy in a current building project, contact Commercial Acoustics or leave a comment below!

Hotel Soundproofing – Hyatt Clearwater

Commercial Acoustics Hyatt Condo Soundproofing

The Hyatt Condo in Clearwater, Florida needed help soundproofing their ceiling on the penthouse floor. Directly above, dozens of patrons used the rooftop bar at night and during the weekends. While the penthouse suite affords the best views in the hotel, it is also the closest to the nightlife noise, and therefore often in need of additional soundproofing.

As we’ve discussed in the past, there is little regulation in STC and IIC ratings for soundproofing hotels. However, most of them have a brand standard that ranges from 55-60 points, and can be above 60 for luxury suites. By setting aggressive STCs and monitoring proper installation techniques, hotel management can expect to reduce customer noise complaints considerably.

The Hyatt Clearwater ceiling used a double-rack design with soffits to hide unsightly pipes and electrical, but this did not improve the sound attenuation rating of the assembly. Furthermore, treating the floor above was not an option, since the deck was already and completed, and beyond the waterproof limit of the hotel.

In order to achieve acceptable sound ratings, the client turned to Commercial Acoustics to provide soundproofing membranes that could be installed on the ceiling above. By implementing a heavy-duty soundproofing membrane along the ceiling, known as the Wall Blokker PRO, the team was able to provide significant decoupling of the ceiling while also adding additional mass to reduce airborne transmission.

hyatt soundproofing commercial acoustics

hyatt soundproofing commercial acoustics 1

hyatt soundproofing commercial acoustics 2

Ultimately, soundproofing installation on ceilings is the most difficult and took a team of four almost one week to cover the nearly five thousand square feet. For best results, Commercial Acoustics recommends applying ceiling-bound membranes to the backside of drywall to expedite installation.

Commercial Acoustics Hotel Soundproofing Ceiling

Check here for more hotel and hospitality soundproofing case studies.