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How evaporative air cooling can change industrial production for the better

5 min read
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In this article, you’ll discover why production facilities across Europe are turning to more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly air cooling solutions to tackle the industry’s ever-growing climate control challenges.

Throughout Europe, high temperatures have been on the rise, with the last decade the warmest on record. In fact, 2020 came in as the hottest year ever, at 1.2°C warmer than the average year in the 19th century.

This has impacted workplace environments in every industry, but in production and manufacturing, where air conditioning isn’t always a viable option, a new approach to climate control is needed.

What rising temperatures mean for industrial production

In many factories and production plants, climate control is already a challenge without the added issue of global warming. This can be due to heat generated by ovens and machines used as part of the manufacturing process (in steel and plastic production, for example), as well as physically intensive work carried out by staff, such as loading or unloading lorries.

Another, often overlooked, factor is the building itself. Insulation, ventilation and the number of floors in a building will all determine how a facility reacts to the year-round heat generated as a result of modern production practices.

There are lots of reasons to take climate control seriously in any factory, production plant or manufacturing facility. As well as reducing both the output and quality of production, excessive heat can cause damage to equipment and put employees at risk.

Why more facilities are turning to evaporative air cooling

Until fairly recently, evaporative air cooling has been relatively unmentioned. However, businesses across Europe are now seeing its potential in extreme working conditions where standard air-conditioning is either too expensive or simply not plausible.

More than just the most viable climate control solution, evaporative air cooling units come with major practical and economic benefits for industrial production, including:

  • Lower energy costs
    According to an article by Frontier Economics, in the EU energy makes up between 5.7% and 8.4% of the production costs of sectors such as basic chemicals, man-made fibres, iron, steel, and paper.

    Unlike standard air-conditioning units, evaporative air-cooling systems don’t rely on refrigerant gasses. By using outside air and harnessing latent heat energy, they are able to flow cool fresh air into a space and cut energy usage by as much as 90%.

  • Better productivity
    With every °C that the temperature rises above comfortable working conditions, productivity is more likely to slow. This drop in performance is more common where physical labour is used more than machines. As well as causing employees to tire more quickly, uncomfortable heat can impair cognitive thinking.

    Because they don’t rely on sealed environments to work at maximum efficiency, evaporative air cooling units can flow cool air to where it's most needed, without being affected by open doors or outdoor working spaces like lorry loading bays

  • Safer working environments
    Even in modern working environments, heat-related illnesses are common and, when temperatures exceed 39°C, a busy industrial production facility can become life-threatening. The risk of heat stress, exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke become more of a danger as the body struggles to cool itself down, while reduced attention span and motor skills make it unsafe for employees to operate equipment and machinery.

    As EU regulations around temperature in the workplace tighten, evaporative air coolers are proving vital in ensuring the safety of employees.

How it works

Evaporative cooling units take advantage of the natural process of evaporation to take warm air from a stifling atmosphere and turn it into a fresh cold breeze.

  1. A fan draws hot dry air across cooler pads which absorb water from a reservoir.

  2. When the hot air crosses the cooler pads, the water molecules on the surface evaporate and lower the air temperature inside the system.

  3. This fresh air is circulated around a building, forcing hot stale air outside.

To learn more about evaporative air cooling and its increasing role in industrial production, or for help choosing the best system for your requirements, contact our team of experts via the form below.

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