Industrial Noise & Vibration Centre

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Noise Control Case Studies

An elegant engineering solution to your noise or vibration problem may already be available. Search the largest database of noise control at source case studies in the world for best practice alternatives to conventional, high-cost palliatives such as acoustic enclosures, silencers, barriers etc.

Showing 1 to 15 out of 112
  • vibrating screen
  • noise control
  • low frequency noise

Vibrating screen / sieve noise reduction - by 50dB

Vibrating screen noise reduction

A low-frequency hum from a large vibratory wood scrap process sieve was the cause of extensive complaints. The very low frequency (11.8Hz) meant that conventional noise control measures such as acoustic enclosures and barriers could not be effective (the wavelength of sou d at this frequency is 29m!).

Whilst this tonal frequency is inaudible, the effects that cause complaints are usually rattles and reflections in objects, for example...

Vibratory screen noise effect videos:

wood processing vibratory sieve noise reduction

We developed innovative engineering noise control measures for the vibrating screen that reduced the problem low-frequency hum by a very remarkable (and probably record-breaking) 99.999% (50dB). The modifications were implemented within a day, were low cost and had no effect on normal operation or throughput.

This engineering vibrating screen noise control technology is applicable to a wide range of applications - contact us if you'd like to discuss a particular project.

We have also generated a comprehensive technical note on all aspects of vibratory feeder, hopper, conveyor, separator and sieve noise...

Other examples of our engineering vibratory system noise reduction technology include:-

  • noise control
  • fan noise attenuation
  • environmental noise

Water Evaporator Mine Fans – 99.5% noise reduction

Axial mine water spray fan noise attenuation

Proposed £100k conventional attenuators for 10 axial mine water evaporation fans in Australia would have had zero effect in the noise as it was predominantly low frequency tones (hum or drone). A few emails and <£20k gave 23dB noise reduction and improved efficiency.

The Australian mining company had a series of 10 large axial fans that are used to evaporate water pumped from underground. However, these fans had caused complaints over a very wide area. The quote for £100k of mufflers would have provided zero attenuation as they would be fitted only to outlets (half the noise is from the intakes) and they would provide virtually no attenuation at the dominant 200Hz tone.

Our remote noise control service diagnosis allowed us to evaluate the problem using information and recordings provided by email, saving a visit from the UK to Australia... We designed and emailed aerodynamic fan noise control modifications for local manufacture. These reduced the tonal content by 23dB at a cost of <£2k/fan. As fan efficiency was also improved, this was a profitable, self-financing project for the client.

  • chiller fan
  • noise control
  • environmental noise

Roof-Top HVAC – “chiller farm” data centre noise control: 90% cost saving

Rooftop chiller fan noise attenuation

The cost of reducing the data centre noise from the air conditioning system chillers on the roof of a large multi-storey facility to meet the requirements of the Local Authority had been quoted as costing over £300,000 using conventional acoustic barriers and silencers. Fitting these acoustic screens round the chillers would have required:

  • additional structural steelwork to cater for wind loading
  • considerable planning (closing streets and bringing in cranes)

These proposed noise control measures would also have reduced the cooling capacity of the HVAC system, increasing running costs. The data centre communications company involved approached us in the hope that we might have a better idea.

We did...

Following very careful analysis of the noise sources and layout of the air conditioning plant and some lateral thinking, we designed an elegant solution involving a combination of:

  • engineering control at source,
  • innovative local acoustic treatments
  • imaginative use of site geometry
  • modifications to the chiller control system

The result was a set of modifications that were easy to implement in convenient stages and reduced the data centre AHU noise by 15dB(A) at a cost of c £40,000 – and with no effect on the normal operation or the overall efficiency of the system - unlike the previously proposed conventional noise barriers and silencers.

How to attenuate the noise from data centers

More details of the best approach to reducing the noise from chillers and air conditioning plant >

  • noise control
  • environmental noise
  • cooling tower

Plating Plant Cooling Tower Noise – acoustic un-screening…

Cooling tower fan and pump noise reduction

The noise from a pair of new cooling towers had ignited complaints from residents across the road from the site. A typical acoustic consultant was drafted-in who recommended the industry default silencers and a noise barrier without carrying out any diagnosis. Not good practice, let alone best practice.

The predicted effect on the plant noise of fitting the typical conventional acoustic package of silencers and a barrier along the edge of the site was to reduce the noise level down to around 56dB(A) at the neighbours - still far too high for the area. Despite a total cooling tower noise attenuation package costing well over £40k, not only would the problem not have been solved but in addition, as the acoustic barrier would have caused serious transport access problems, the company had to look for alternatives.

Our solution was based on a very accurate diagnosis and ranking of the cooling tower fan, drive and pump noise sources to develop an engineering source control package. The final noise reduction measures for both cooling towers comprised:-

  • intake and drive motor modifications
  • exhaust and pump silencers
  • local acoustic screening

This package achieved a noise level of <50dB(A) at a cost of only £6k and without affecting normal site operation or cooling tower efficiency. Around 15% of the cost and more than 4 times the attenuation of the conventional noise reduction measures.

How to select the optimum cooling tower noise control measures >

  • environmental noise
  • noise control
  • fan noise attenuation
  • cooling tower

Cooling Tower Fan Noise Reduction + improved efficiency

Cooling tower fan noise attenuation at source

Cooling tower fan silencing by conventional means is often both very difficult and very costly as the problem is usually low frequency in nature so conventional silencers and noise barriers don’t work. Despite this fact, the cooling tower world is awash with placebo silencers and acoustic barriers that are just a waste of money. Alternatively…

… quite often there are low-cost source control alternatives. For example, the dominant environmental noise problem from a food processing plant in the middle of a village was caused by cooling tower noise from a pair of units – despite the large silencers already fitted to the axial fan exhausts. We devised engineering modifications that produced a substantial improvement in the efficiency of the cooling towers that, coupled with measures to reduce the noise from falling water, not only cut the overall noise level from the units by 15dB(A), but also substantially reduced running costs.

Details of how best to silence cooling towers >

  • chiller fan
  • environmental noise
  • server farm
  • data center
  • fan noise attenuation

Cool Air Conditioning Plant Chiller Noise Control

Axial chiller condenser fan noise reduction

Chiller noise control costs were cut by 80% using new technology. The company running a server farm had spent £100,000 on noise control measures (acoustic barriers and silencers) for their HVAC and AHU plant to no avail – the complaints continued as the noise levels were virtually unchanged. We were invited by the Local Authority to provide both parties with a definitive statement as to what constituted “best practicable means” and to sort the problem.

Careful diagnosis allowed us to generate a best practice noise control package that would eliminate the problem at a cost of c £30k.

These measures included purpose designed silencing, geometry changes, improved acoustic screening and internal modifications to the main Air Handling Units. On the air conditioning condenser units, we by-passed the conventional solution of noise barriers and silencers as these are not only high cost control measures, but they can also reduce the efficiency of the chillers themselves. Our alternative was a set of low cost engineering noise control modifications that not only reduced the overall noise from the HVAC plant at source by 8dB(A), but also eliminated the hum (worth an additional 5dB(A) noise reduction with respect to environmental noise limits) – and with no effect at all on the chiller condenser performance or access.

The result was an overall noise reduction of 12dB(A) and the elimination of the tonal content of the noise from the condensers. If best practice had been used at the start, the company would have reduced the cost of the chiller plant noise control project by 70% and avoided several months of management hassle and a sacking…

More information on the optimum way to reduce noise from server farm, chiller, AHU and data center fans >

  • noise control
  • fan noise attenuation
  • environmental noise

Paint Plant Spray Booth Extract Fan Noise Reduction

Paint shop spray booth extract fan noise attenuation

Paint spray booth extract fan noise control poses a problem for conventional silencing in that, even with effective filtration, the silencer will clog and lose attenuation. Moreover, paint fans often generate a low-frequency hum that passes through mufflers with little attenuation. This case study illustrates a low-cost alternative approach to spray booth extract noise reduction that lasts the lifetime of the fan without loss of performance.

A pair of classic industrial paint spray booth extract fan filter systems used on an MDF paint plant generated a very irritating low-frequency drone that was the subject of complaints both from operators inside the workshops and from local residents. At these low frequencies, conventional silencers would not only have been ineffective, but would have quickly clogged.

Moreover, as the pair of fans were not quite synchronised, the sound also had a distinctive “beat” which made it even more annoying. As the spray booth extract fan noise was at a low frequency of 146Hz, conventional silencers would have been very large, very expensive, would have required relocation of the plant and supplementation with lagging and enclosures (and regular cleaning). We bypassed all these issues by reducing the fan noise at source (Quiet Fan technology), eliminating the tones (13dB reduction) and the “beat ” with no down-time outside normal maintenance requirements.

This approach has a broad application for silencing paint plant, spray booth fans and other dust extract filtration systems as a more effective alternative to attenuators…

  • environmental noise
  • fan noise attenuation

Dirty Air Quarry Fan Noise Reduction – no cleaning costs

Quarry fan noise reduction - no clogging

A serious problem for the conventional silencing of quarry fan noise applications like this where the air is very dirty is the need to shut-down to clean the silencers on a regular basis with the associated cost implications. Our noise attenuating technology is immune to clogging, so no cleaning is needed - ever…

In this instance, the tonal noise (hum) from this quarry suction fan working under very dirty conditions was reduced by 23dB using our unique Quiet Fan technology. No silencers, no enclosure, no lagging, little down-time and no maintenance - ever (despite the operating conditions). Plus, this all comes at a tiny fraction of the capital cost of conventional silencing and without the associated running cost penalty.

This approach to fan noise reduction is particularly effective where the air is dirty as it avoids the need to clean silencers - plus it does not compromise fan efficiency. Consequently, it is the ideal noise attenuation method for dust and cyclone extract and filtration systems.

  • environmental noise
  • fan noise attenuation
  • axial fan noise

Massive Axial Fan Noise Reduction – at seriously little cost

Steelworks axial extract fan noise attenuation

Low frequency tonal noise (a 112Hz hum) from 8 very large architectural scale axial fans (several stories up that were already fitted with 8m long silencers!) at a Tata steelworks had caused environmental noise problems over a number of years. We diagnosed, we tweaked – and the problem was solved at virtually no cost…

All the possible conventional fan noise control solutions had been considered (largely additional silencers). These would not only have cost a large fortune (and would not have been effective at 112Hz), but they would also have reduced system efficiency and therefore increased the running costs.

Our detailed diagnosis revealed a system resonance that we addressed at source by slowing the fans very slightly. This reducing the fan tones by 20dB at virtually no cost, with no downtime and with no effect on the system efficiency.

  • environmental noise
  • fan noise attenuation
  • fans

Combustion Fan Noise Reduction – problem solved overnight

Combustion fan noise attenuation

Despite considerable time and money being spent with the supplier and acoustic consultant installing silencers and reducing fan speed, a noise abatement notice was due because of numerous complaints about combustion fan noise. We resolved the problem overnight via Barry welding in 22dB of attenuation during a normal shutdown...

Combustion fan noise from a new waste heating system at a Palgrave Brown MDF site had caused numerous complaints from neighbours with a noise abatement notice in the offing. The fan system supplier and their consultants had tried conventional measures (additional silencing and reduced fan speed) over an extended period to no avail.

On the point of admitting defeat, they were referred to us by the local Environmental Health Officer. Our solution was to control the tonal fan noise at source using Quiet Fan technology aerodynamic fan noise control. This was fitted during a few hours of scheduled downtime. The next morning, it was hard to tell that the unit was running as the tonal noise from the ID fan had been reduced by 22dB and the overall level by 9dB(A).

palgrave ID combustion fan noise attenuation .jpg

A quick, low-cost and permanent attenuation for the lifetime of the fan without maintenance and without affecting efficiency.

The results were so impressive that the director, Alan Fillingham, recommended that our approach should be used throughout the group.

Compared with traditional attenuators or mufflers, this approach to induced draught (ID) fan noise reduction is not only typically 70% - 90% lower capital cost with significantly reduced running costs, but it is also much more effective at cutting the low-frequency tonal content that is a common cause of environmental noise complaints. It can also be used on fans that run at high temperatures.

  • environmental noise
  • fan noise attenuation
  • fans

Noise Control on Thermal Oxidiser Induced Draught Fans

Thermal oxidiser fan and stack noise reduction at source

Severe noise problems were encountered from the fans in a new regenerative thermal oxidiser plant on an industrial site. The suppliers suggested an earth berm noise barrier, large fan silencers and acoustic enclosures that would not only have cost a 6 figure sum, but would have been a complete waste of money as they would not have worked as the problem noise emanated from the top of the stack.

We used precise diagnosis to isolate the key subjective sound features in addition to the overall broadband noise that dominated the dB(A). The optimum noise control modifications involved:-

  • we removed the tones using our aerodynamic fan noise control technology
  • one fan was slowed to remove the “beat” with the other unit
  • the dampers were moved to improve flow
  • small conventional attenuators were added to reduce broadband noise (as the low frequency elements had been removed, only small silencers were required).

These modifications eliminated all the noise character and reduced the overall noise by 15dB(A) at a few % of the costs associated with the proposed traditional (and largely ineffective) noise control package.

  • environmental noise
  • fan noise attenuation

Record Breaking Formula 1 Fan Noise Control

Red Bull extract fan noise attenuation

Fitting conventional silencers to this fan extract system seemed a long-winded and crude process to Red Bull who were used to the pace of change and the engineering innovation found in Formula One. Our approach was a perfect fit for their engineering ethos – 1000x less noise installed within a pit-stop of a few hours.

High speed fan noise reduction

Red Bull found an alternative to traditional attenuators in our Quiet Fan aerodynamic noise control technology. The aerodynamic inserts were designed, manufactured and installed inside the fan casing within a pit-stop window of just a few hours to dramatic effect.

The problem 218Hz low-frequency tone was reduced by a factor of around 1000... This is a reduction of 30dB – a new world record for our innovative technique, completely eliminating the problem at the source for the lifetime of the fan, without maintenance and without affecting fan efficiency.

Red Bull record breaking 30dB fan noise control with silencers

“We felt that there had to be a better way to reduce the fan noise other than by compromising the system efficiency and creating additional long term maintenance” said Terry Brice of Red Bull Technology.

“The INVC technique not only produced a fantastic result, but it’s also very satisfying as an elegant engineering solution”.

  • stack noise
  • environmental noise
  • fan noise attenuation
  • fans

Low Cost Noise Control – emergency cement stack fan noise reduction

cement works fan and stack noise attenuation

Cement fan stack noise reduced over a weekend...

Unfortunately, the plant update to improve the efficiency of the exhaust fans in a large cement works created a serious noise problem that generated complaints from miles around. A novel, low-cost attenuation system was designed and fitted over a weekend to avoid the eye-watering downtime cost required to implement conventional solutions.

Conventional stack silencing would have resulted in an unacceptable delay in solving the problem. In addition, it would also have involved massive capital expenditure plus the costs of a very prolonged shut-down and the system efficiency would also have been reduced. Our alternative solution was based on designing a set of bespoke stack silencer elements tuned to suit the noise signature. These were pre-fabricated off-site and then inserted into the stack through a small access door over a weekend.

cement fan stack noise attenuation

The result was a 19dB noise reduction over the critical low-frequency range with zero effect on the fan or stack efficiency. The overall cost was a small fraction of conventional silencing - and without the reduced fan efficiency.

The alternative to costly 19th century attenuators

Large centrifugal cement works fans are a common source of low-frequency (and tonal) noise problems. Where the tonal content is the dominant issue, our aerodynamic fan noise reduction technology is by far the best alternative to fundamentally 19th-century noise control techniques such as silencers, enclosures and lagging. These involve high capital expenditure and extensive downtime to fit with increased maintenance and running costs (due to reduced system efficiency).

Where it is not possible to achieve the desired result using aerodynamics, this new stack modification technology can (and has been) been fitted in a couple of days to cut the noise across a wide range of frequencies without the reduction in fan efficiency often associated with silencers.

View the article published by the Global Cement magazine on this approach.

  • environmental noise
  • fan noise attenuation
  • fans

Steelworks Industrial Fan Noise Reduction – £1,000,000 cost savings

Tata steel gas fan stack noise attenuation

3 off, very large, 4-megawatt steelworks fans had been the cause of environmental noise issues for years. The problem was solved within months at a tiny fraction of the cost of attenuators by implementing our Quiet Fan technology aerodynamic fan noise reduction techniques. Fan power consumption was also reduced, making this a self-financing project.

We were awarded the annual Rushlight Noise Abatement Award for this project, an award that celebrates the organisations throughout UK and Ireland that have furthered environmental technology and innovation.

The fans generated a low-frequency hum (c173Hz) over a wide area. As the fan speeds varied, sophisticated resonator silencers were ruled-out and conventional attenuators would have imposed a very heavy penalty, not only in terms of capital and installation costs but also the increased running costs due to reduced fan efficiency. Tata approached us for a second opinion as to potential alternatives.

That second opinion saved more than a £million…

steelworks gas fan noise reduction without silencers

Our solution was to develop innovative retrofit aerodynamic modifications that were installed inside the fan casing, avoiding the need to modify either the existing ductwork or the stacks to fit silencers. This not only cut the capital cost dramatically but also reduced downtime from weeks to a weekend.

These modifications have eliminated the noise at source for the lifetime of the fans as they require no maintenance and have no effect on fan efficiency (unlike mufflers/attenuators).

The willingness of Tata to seek a second opinion reaped very substantial rewards compared with conventional silencing:-

Tata gas fans noise attenuation at 1500m
  • 94% + reduction in noise (12dB)
  • capital cost savings of over £800,000
  • substantial environmental benefits (carbon emissions)
  • c £200,000 saved each year on running costs (power and carbon) compared with silencers

“INVC’s modifications have brought about a huge reduction in fan noise, improving the environmental conditions across a wide area around the Plant. They’ve also saved us a large amount of money by negating the requirement for major capital expenditure, so it’s been a remarkably successful project.” – Grahame Wallace, Tata

  • scrap extract
  • fans
  • attenuators
  • silencers
  • fan noise attenuation

Scrap Fan Noise Reduction – occupational and environmental in one

Scrap extract fan noise reduction

Attenuators do not take kindly to the passage of scrap – which is a problem when installing noisy extract chopper (or cutter) fans. Our cutting-edge aerodynamic fan modifications, however, are even robust enough to be able to cope with the extreme case of the passage of scrap metal. In this example, both occupational and environmental noise problems were simultaneously solved at source.

Three sets of chopper fans are used to pull-off scrap aluminium cans from the production lines to shred them for recycling. These generated high levels of tonal noise (drone or whine), causing both occupational and environmental noise problems.

Instead of fitting conventional fan attenuators, acoustic enclosures and noise lagging at a potential cost of £30k or more, our Quiet Fan technology was fitted to the fans in a matter of hours to give an overall noise reduction of 22dB(A) at an installed cost of c £1000/line – a capital cost saving of 90% and with no effect on fan performance or efficiency.

scrap can fan noise attenuation analysis

Unlike silencers, the modifications are unaffected by the passage of scrap cans and will last the lifetime of the fans without maintenance – and at less than 1% of the previous noise level…

The same technique is widely applicable to all forms of chopper or cutter fans, not to mention for silence dust extract, cyclone and filter fans that process any form of waste material.

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