Seasonal changes in temperature can not be controlled, yet it is a given that the summer months will bring extreme temperatures. This presents numerous concerns for manufacturing facility managers. These problems will have to be addressed at one point or another, so it is best to meet the heat with a proactive mindset so that the perils of summer can be mitigated rather than suffered.
Facility performance under the duress of extreme heat can be successfully managed by ensuring employee safety, focusing on air intake through AC units, and providing air circulation via rotating fans — both stationary and movable.
Profoundly hot working conditions are dangerous because they affect the mental and physical performance of any company’s most precious resource: people. When workers are subjected to temperatures in excess of 95 degrees, a condition known as heat stress becomes imminent. This is when the body’s response to temperature prompts it to begin sweating in an effort to cool itself.
In working conditions like this, employees must be supplied with ample amounts of clean drinking water so that they can remain hydrated. Most dehydrated human beings are not capable of operating machinery, of critical thinking, and can even become mechanically impaired. All of these symptoms spell one thing: danger.
In From the Outside
Facilities equipped with air conditioning systems can be well cooled during the summer months as long as there is efficient circulation. This begins with the air intake vents and panels on units which are positioned somewhere outside the facility — usually on the side of a building or on the roof. These must be cleared of debris before the system is engaged.
The most important components here are the air filters. Old filters are saturated with dust and particles and must be replaced every three months, or at the very least bi-annually. Otherwise, clogged filters cause unit motors to have to work much harder than necessary to draw in air, which in turn causes undue wear and tear on moving parts such as belts and fans. It is also critical that moving parts such as rotors and coils are sufficiently lubricated for maximum performance.
Internal Air Management
Once the clean air is flowing into the facility, it is important to distribute it evenly so that both people and machinery are being cooled. This is best done with large mobile fans that can be positioned as needed. Ceiling fans switched to rotate counterclockwise will help with air flow, as this creates a downdraft that pushes air trapped up near the ceiling down to where the people and machines are.
Heat depletes human performance, but it also causes molecules to expand. This means that the surface areas on moving machine parts that constantly come in contact with one another are increased, and with that comes greater friction and ever-increasing temperatures. This can affect the performance of belts, tracks, and bearing seals. Increased monitoring of moving parts is a sound preventive measure as is abundant application of reducer oil.
As the heat climbs every summer, the bottom line of manufacturing facilities does not have to decline — as long as proactive measures to beat the heat are put into action.
To find out how a Computerized Maintenance Management System can help you proactively manage your manufacturing facility contact us today.