As moist air takes over in summer, manufacturers often struggle to maintain consistent room moisture. Even with air conditioning, relative humidity can rise to unacceptable levels for equipment operation and product integrity. The only solution is to add a dedicated dehumidification system to remove unwanted moisture while maintaining a desired room air temperature.
Humidity problems affect manufacturers such as:
- Machine shops, especially during big swings in outdoor humidity. Excess indoor air moisture can cause condensation on equipment, wet floors and saturated electrical panels.
- Water-cooled machines used for plastic injection molding. Any moisture forming on the machines can result in product discoloration.
- Printing facilities. Paper may wrinkle, shrink or expand, causing ink registration problems.
- Products that require a specific drying cycle. Examples include plants that manufacture or store dry foods like spices, cereal and candy, or producers of recycled rubber mulch. If air moisture levels are too high, drying times can be longer than needed, slowing production, losing productivity and increasing energy consumption. Dry food packaging plants also risk compromising food quality if a consistent indoor environment is not properly maintained.
Here are some strategies for solving potentially expensive, high-liability humidity problems in manufacturing settings:
- When a specific CFM (cubic feet per minute) of outdoor make-up air is introduced to your indoor manufacturing space, make sure the air is properly treated before it enters production and storage environments. That is, the make-up air must be run through an outdoor air dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. That air may also need to be heated or cooled to maintain an ideal relative humidity level. A room exhaust fan is also needed and sized to run the room at a slight negative pressure.
- Ensure your facility is well insulated and properly sealed with a dedicated vapor barrier in walls and ceiling to prevent a constant influx of humid air, especially in summer months. Well-sealed windows and overhead doors are also important.
- Have your facility evaluated to see if a custom-designed dehumidification system could help. Air conditioning systems remove some, but not enough, moisture from indoor air to prevent rust and other common manufacturing humidity issues. If you have an existing dehumidification system, DCA can determine if it is functioning at full potential, or if our engineers recommend a replacement unit (smaller, larger or same size).
DCA can custom-design a dehumidification system specifically for your facility, depending on conditions like temperature and dew point. See how DCA helped a Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico ceramic casting plant overcome its humidity challenges.
Start your summer by gaining better control of the relative humidity in your plant. You’re also likely to see improvements like higher efficiency, reduced equipment maintenance, less product spoilage and greater energy savings – not to mention a more comfortable work environment.