When we put out a call to local manufacturers, asking for volunteers to participate in an air quality study, we were very pleased when Allan Barber, owner of J.K.M. Custom Fabricating in Cambridge, Ontario, stepped forward.
“We constantly have an air problem—just because of the nature of the business. We do a lot of grinding, there are a lot of fumes...”
– Allan Barber, Owner
Since the purpose of our study was to quantify the impact of our patented ecoair Rotation System® on indoor air quality in a challenging manufacturing environment, J.K.M.’s 10,000 square-foot fabrication area located adjacent to their in-house paint booths was both challenging and an ideal test site.
By the time we began working with J.K.M., we had already gathered sufficient data at other pilot sites to prove the energy-saving benefits of our patented ecoair Rotation SystemTM. IAQ, however, was a different story.
This was to be the first concrete study of our system’s effect on air quality in a manufacturing facility, so we were particularly grateful to Allan for his willingness to participate in the project. Although he was skeptical of our ecoair Rotation System®, Allan didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to improve indoor air quality for his shop-floor employees.
As he told us, “I really want to give the guys the best we can give them...We can’t custom-design a shop—we’re not at that stage. I think if I was looking to start from scratch now, that would be part and parcel of the whole building, but for us to do it now—at this stage, with this building— it’s just not feasible.”
We were hoping that the test results would convince Allan that an ecoair Rotation System® is a feasible way to make his shop a cleaner, safer workplace.
First of all, we needed to establish a baseline for indoor air quality at J.K.M., so we used a particle counter to take initial air quality readings at occupant level, near the main work stations. Then we installed one of our larger systems, an ecoair Rotation System® model EA- 42-F, on J.K.M.’s shop floor and re-tested the air quality at the same locations with the ecoir Rotation System® running.
Over the course of several weeks, we took a series of measurements, all the while fine- tuning the filters until particle readings were as low as possible. (Our filter of choice turned out to be a Merv 13.) Once we’d optimized the filters, we determined an appropriate replacement schedule that would maintain air quality at a consistently high level.
Whenever we changed the filters at J.K.M., employees were amazed to see the mass of particulates that our system removed from the air. Several people even remarked on the welcome spectacle of fumes being inexorably drawn into the unit and absorbed by the filters. Such anecdotes were encouraging, but the data that we collected would tell the real story. When we finally finished crunching the numbers, we discovered that our patented ecoair Rotation System® reduced the average particle count at occupant level by almost half.
On average, we cut particle counts by an amazing 45%!
We couldn’t wait to tell Allan. Over the course of the study, he’d seen the large quantity of particles caught by our filters and observed the increased air flow in the shop. At last, he’d be able to review our findings and decide for himself whether or not our ecoair Rotation System® belonged on his shop floor. We presented the results and crossed our fingers. He purchased the unit.
Allan later commented, “In all honesty, if somebody said, ‘Buy one of these’, and I couldn’t have it in the shop first to see [how it works], I’d probably say no...But once you get something in and you see the [air quality] graphs and you see what’s been taken out—you know, it is beneficial.”
However, he does recognize that our system is not a silver-bullet solution for indoor air quality. Rather, it’s intended to complement existing systems and scrub the air at occupant level. As he explains, “We still have to do the source capture and clean our ceiling air cleaners…especially in the winter. It’s all going to work together.”
“The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Small particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest problems, because they can get deep into your lungs, and some may even get into your bloodstream.”
“People look at it and say it’s just a fan in a box, but there’s a little more engineering involved...” observed Allan, referring to our patented ecoair Rotation System®. If the unit we installed in his facility was merely a fan in a box, it would certainly have made our jobs easier. But Allen is right, we engineer our units to meet certain performance specifications, we optimize our washable, reusable filters to match the operating environment, and we conduct onsite testing to determine the best filter maintenance schedule.
By cleaning the air at occupant level, our units lighten the load on ceiling-mounted filtration units (typically part of a building’s HVAC system), as well as other air scrubbers, making them more effective. This in turn extends the lifetime and reduces maintenance on hard to reach ceiling mounted equipment. While ceiling filters are often neglected because they’re burdensome to maintain, our units have been designed to make changing filters a snap—so it’s easy to keep them operating at peak efficiency. No clogged filters means the air stays clean all the time.
“Part of the package I wanted was two sets of filters, so when we take the dirty ones out—even if we’re exceptionally busy—we can put new ones in immediately...” says Allan. And that’s exactly what we delivered.
Thank you to Allan Barber and the rest of the team at J.K.M. Custom Fabricating. We’ve reduced airborne particulates by an average of 45% in their shop and we look forward to even better results in the future.
If you want to learn more about how we can help you improve the air quality in your manufacturing facility…
Figure 2: Our ecoair Rotation Systems® trap more particles by moving air through the filters at very low speed.