Automotive Industry Ventilation Challenges

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In the automotive industry there are challenges to overcome in order to properly ventilate a facility. Whether ventilating an aircraft hanger, service station, paint booth or bus depot, there are several factors to consider in order to adhere to local, state, and federal guidelines, all while doing the job effectively.

The automotive industry emits byproducts that require ventilation, such as exhaust, fumes, smoke, heat, odors. As a consequence, it is harmful if exposed to for extended periods of time. Moreover, these byproducts contain corrosives and other harmful elements that damage the structure, equipment and process.

Any process producing heat, smoke, fumes, mist, dust, moisture or other byproducts need to be expelled and controlled so as to achieve a clean and safe working environment.

This is why proper ventilation is mandatory for the structures in the auto industry. Appropriate ventilation equipment for the specific diversification in the automotive industry will ensure standards are met while remaining reliable for the foreseeable future.

Proper ventilation is required for the following purposes:

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Automotive Industry Ventilation Equipment

Whether the facility is producing auto parts or housing aircrafts, IAQ is paramount. In addition to various fans, blowers and makeup air units, separate equipment may be necessary.

Auto Part Manufacturers

Depending on the size of the facility, manufacturing plants require ventilation equipment to work harmoniously together. Fresh air is pushed in and polluted air is forced out. This allows for suitable IAQ.

The unique challenge with these types of manufacturing plants is that they produce pollutants in a primarily sealed environment. Air cannot be recirculated. The manufacturing equipment in the automotive industry emits dust, oil, smoke and exhaust.

Many facilities may have natural ventilation in place. However, mechanical ventilation provides control over the air as directed by a predetermined plan that designates air flow rate and direction. This is necessary when undesired heat and pollutants are emitted at a rate that is greater than the flow rate of fresh air.

Automobile Manufacturers

auto assembly plant ventilationCar assembly plants are typically vast areas that use a combination of natural and mechanical ventilation. In order to control the indoor air flow, blower fans and exhaust fans are implemented. This configuration pushes out the pollutants and allows for tempered air to be recirculated back into the facility.

Polluted air needs to be exhausted from heavy equipment in an auto part manufacturing facility. Since air is being pushed out, tempered air needs to be pushed in. This is in order to balance the factory’s air pressure. This is achieved using a make up air unit.

When pushing in air, make up air units use fresh, tempered air from outside the auto manufacturing facility and helps restore the current air that is polluted.

Automotive Garages

Automotive garages typically have at least 1 large bay door. Due to natural air being able to flow freely into and out of the facility a make up air unit isn’t required. Exhaust fans are typically used to help push out the air. This allows for air to naturally circulate.

HVLS fans are commonly incorporated into auto garages to help with temperature control and keeping occupants comfortable.

A separate office with conditioned air is commonly attached to the garage. Therefore, an air curtain is used in order to stabilize the office temperature when the door is opened. Air curtains also prevent contaminants from entering.

If the garage requires heating then specialized heaters, whether it be gas fired door heaters, unit heaters, or heated make up air, can facilitate the process.

Transportation buildings require specialize ventilation equipment that must meet local and federal air guidelines as outlined by ASHRAE (source).

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Aircraft Hangers​

ventilation equipment air hangerAircraft hangers have advanced as much as the aircrafts themselves. Therefore careful consideration to the ventilation requirements for aircraft hangars should be given. Depending on the hangar’s facilities function, the requirements vary. Keep in mind, large doors and high ceilings make controlling the humidity and temperature difficult.

Some aviation hangars have strict corrosion control protocols. For that reason, larger HVAC rooms are required. These rooms must be adjacent to the exterior wall due to the outside air requirement.

Bus Transit Garages

Some transit centers are underground and require more mechanical ventilation than transit garages that are above ground. Proper ventilation should be maintained no matter where the bus garage is located. Mechanical ventilation solutions should be applied in order to tackle high temperatures and expel pollution.

Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, soot and other pollutant levels increase within closed bus terminals. The result of this is a toxic environment and high temperatures (academic source). The air in bus depots can become stagnant and stale. To combat these issues air needs to be circulated and flow in the appropriate area.

This can be accomplished mostly using natural as well as mechanical ventilation. Exhaust and supply fans are strategically placed through the depot. If bay doors can be opened it would be more beneficial. Air curtains are applicable to prevent toxins from reaching areas where such byproducts are harmful.

Paint Booths

paint booth exhaust fan The type of airflow and ventilation system in a paint booth will help you determine what type of spray booth fans are necessary (OSHA source). Depending on how large and what type of spray booth will determine the ventilation system needed.

Once the airflow system is understood, the type of fan is more apparent. Tubular axial fans for paint booths may be sufficient for your application. If the spray booth wasn’t prefabricated then wall exhaust fans are a good choice since they are self-contained and are able to also filter.

Spark resistant fans, or explosion proof exhaust fans, may be necessary to provide a safe environment. Paint booths produce a large amount of hazardous fumes. Exhaust fans filter out the particles and fumes. The byproducts are flammable and a spark could cause severe damage.

Makeup air units in spray booths are necessary to “make-up” the air that is expelled. Make- up air units in paint booths help filter harmful pollutants such as overspray. Specific configurations are necessary depending on many factors.

Be sure to speak with an expert.

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R. Williamson & Associates has been in the ventilation business since 1931 and has a long history of providing ventilation equipment for wastewater treatment facilities and reclamation plants.

Should you have any questions or comments regarding an application please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our trusted experts.

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