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What You Need to Know About Acoustic Abatement Products and Decibel Reduction

What You Need to Know About Acoustic Abatement Products and Decibel Reduction

AmCraft’s Acoustic Abatement Products

Single block barrier curtains. As a configurable product, our single block barrier curtains are retractable and can be hung to create a completely enclosed space. The soft side of the curtain – made with 2 inches of sound attenuation material – is hung to face the source of the noise you wish to dampen. The other side of the curtain – made of one layer of sound blocking material – acts as a barrier facing the area you want to keep quiet. The single block barrier curtains have a maximum height of 30 feet for retractable curtains and 40’ for stationary ones.

Double block barrier curtains. Just like the single block product, the double block barrier curtains are retractable and designed to configure to your needs. The front side of the curtain is made of 1 inch of sound attenuation material, followed by a layer of sound blocking material. Behind this is another layer of 1” sound attenuation material and sound blocking material, making this curtain have 2 complete layers. The double block barrier curtains have a maximum height of 20 feet for retractable curtains and 30’ for stationary ones.

Acoustic baffles. AmCraft offers acoustic baffles in several configurations – including ceiling, convex wall, flat wall, and free hanging – and sizes. These products feature 2.5-4 inches of cotton absorption material.

Understanding Decibel Reduction

Putting an exact number on decibel reduction for a particular space is difficult – there are too many variables. Noise reduction products are just one element of a workspace’s acoustics. The size of the space; the material of the floor, ceiling, and walls; and how the acoustic curtains are placed all affect noise levels. In a small space, sound has less room to dissipate. This is particularly true of high-decibel, low-frequency sounds. Sound also will travel through and reflect off of different materials, like metal and concrete. Gaps between acoustic curtains will allow some sound to escape the barrier.

Given all of these factors, we cannot offer our customers a decibel reduction guarantee, but we can demonstrate how our products have been used in multiple different settings. Our case studies show the decibel reduction results achieved in real-world projects, which you can use as a model for understanding what to expect with your own project.

In addition to our case studies, we also provide sound transmission (STC) and noise reduction coefficient (NRC) ratings for each of our acoustic abatement products. These ratings, helpful for any noise abatement product, measure two different things. STC ratings measure how well a product lessens decibels as noise passes through it. NRC ratings measure how well a product absorbs sound. Review the STC and NRC ratings for each of our products on our data sheets.

Our acoustic abatement products are designed to bring effective noise reduction to your workspace. Reach out to our team to create your curtain and take the first step toward improved noise management.

Acoustic Baffle Systems Are a Sound Choice

Acoustic Baffle Systems Are a Sound Choice

The word baffle, at its most basic level, is defined as, “to retrain or regulate”. Used as a noun, its definition expands to, “a device used to restrain the flow of a fluid, gas, or loose material or to prevent the spreading of sound or light in a particular direction”. AmCraft Manufacturing understands these definitions and has used them to design a system of acoustic baffles for industrial environments.

With heavier duty outer layers, and performance focused inner layers, these baffles help facilities of all sizes mitigate and absorb sound and lower noise levels. With four different designs to choose from, it is also guaranteed that there is an acoustical baffle to suit all different sound situations.

The first two baffle options are ones that are designed to be supported by a facility’s ceiling. The “free hanging baffle” has a rectangular shape, with the width being wider than the height. Its mounting method has the top edge of the baffle supported from the ceiling, typically using chain suspension. It hangs straight down and provides a wide, flat panel. These baffles assist with absorbing sound that hits them head on.

The second baffle option in this category is the “ceiling baffle”. These units are still rectangular, but are longer rather than wider. Both the right and left edges mount to the existing ceiling, and the center of the baffle is pulled down toward the ground by gravity. This mounting method creates a baffle that is bowed out in the center, away from the ceiling from which it is hung. While these units are also designed to absorb sound, they can catch sound from many different vantage points. Their bowed shape allows them to intercept sound from anywhere within their bell curve, not simply sound that hits them head on.

The final two baffle options mirror those of the two outlined above, but are designed to be supported by the facility’s walls. The “flat wall baffle” has a broad, rectangular shape and sits with its backside flat against an existing wall. Its generous surface area will assist with dampening sound that hits it head on anywhere within its body. Meanwhile, the “convex wall baffle” has a shape that bumps out from the wall on which it is seated. This curved shape once again allows this unit to absorb sound from a wider range of areas. When mounted to a wall, this curved baffle can easily break up sound traveling from the ground, ceiling, or open area in front of it.

All baffle options fabricated by AmCraft have options for their front layer which allows for sound transmission through them, as well as durability and cleanability over time. This unique combination of two different mediums allows for the fabrication of a high performance acoustic product in a long-lasting shell. For more information, please contact our dedicated sales team here.

How to Choose the Right Outer Layer Material for Your Industrial Acoustic Curtain

AmCraft Industrial Curtain Wall Layer Materials

When putting together an acoustic industrial curtain, there are a variety of options and choices to be made. The inside layers of the curtain are where a majority of the acoustic performance takes place. However, the outer layers of the curtain are equally important. This outer layer not only determines the look and feel of your curtain, but can also impact the overall function and performance of it.

The first option is our most common for industrial acoustic curtains. An outer layer of solid PVC coated polyester (a.k.a. vinyl) forms a solid barrier between the innards of the curtain and the outside environment. As this is a solid material, it will let slightly less sound through and into the inner layers than the following two material options.  This means, that less of the sound will be absorbed or reflected.  However, the difference in potential sound transmission that this material offers versus another material is negligible. What this outer layer may lack in sound transmission, it makes up for in other areas.  This vinyl layer has a variety of benefits.  For starters, it is very durable to abrasion, scratching, cooler temperatures, and everyday wear and tear. It is also easy to clean.  It can be washed down with water and a mild detergent. So while a solid PVC vinyl outer layer may keep some sound from traveling to the innards of the curtain, it will also keep dirt, dust, debris, and moisture from doing the same thing.  These features make this outer material an ideal choice for rough, dirty, and/or industrial environments.  Additionally, the PVC coated polyester is available in 10 standard colors, making it easy to match to each company’s desired color scheme.

PVC coated mesh is the second option for your acoustic curtain’s outer layer. This material is also durable when standing up to abrasion and cooler temperatures, as mentioned above with option one.  As with any mesh, it is more open than a solid material. This mesh boasts a 70% opacity, which means that approximately 30% of the surface area covered by the mesh is open. This will allow the sound to travel through this outer layer more effectively than a solid material would. A small boost in acoustic performance (absorbing and reflecting) of your industrial curtain can be expected due to this factor. To clean this material, we recommend vacuuming it, then wiping it down with a moist cloth. You will want to be careful not to let excessive moisture or debris come into contact with this curtain, though, as these elements can harm the inside layers and diminish its acoustic qualities.

The third and final option for the outer layer of your acoustic curtain is a cloth fabric. This material is solid in coverage, but soft, as most fabrics are.  It allows for sound to travel through it, but will stop most dust, dirt, and debris from passing through. In terms of assisting with sound absorption, this fabric is the best option for the outer layer of an industrial acoustic curtain.  However, it is not ideal for rougher environments. Dust and dirt may stick to it, it can be torn or snagged, and it can be stained. Additionally, if moisture comes into contact with it, that moisture can bleed through to the inner layers. We would recommend a curtain with this fabric in gentler environments. As with your other options, though, it can still be cleaned.  The best way to do this is to vacuum the fabric. Also, it is available in 6 standard colors.

When deciding which of the above outer material options is best for your needs, it is best to think about your environment and determine what will give you the necessary balance between durability and acoustic performance. With industrial curtains, as with all products, you have many good options at your disposal. For assistance is picking the right choice for you, contact our sales team today.

The Most Effective Solutions for Noise Reduction and Sound Absorption

Common Uses and Locations for PVC Strip Curtains

No matter what type of facility you work at, you are bound to run into questions and issues about the acoustic quality of your space. Each space, from restaurants to warehouses, is made up of different building materials that will add to or detract from the acoustic quality of your facility. Just from a cursory look at the internet, there are a number of products that boast being able to cut down on sound in a space, reduce echo, and possibly even deaden the unwanted sounds all together.

Acoustic curtains are one genre of acoustic abatement supply that are popular and for good reason. Acoustic curtain products have two main benefits. First, they can provide more space flexibility and versatility than a hard wall can. Acoustic curtains can often be moved easily and therefore can provide acoustic abatement when needed, but do not have to remain in use when they are not required. Second, acoustic industrial curtains can offer different looks and aesthetic options, which may make them more desirable for your space, depending on the setting.

However, even within the acoustic curtain category, there are many different brands and options for an acoustic industrial curtain. Before deciding which products are best for your needs, it is important to educate yourself on what measurements are used to determine how one brand of acoustic curtain compares to another.

noise reduction and sound absorption

The Importance of the STC Rating with Acoustic Curtains

One measure of acoustic property is the STC rating. STC stands for sound transmission class, and is defined as how well a septum, in this case an industrial acoustic curtain, can abate sound. It also tells us roughly by how many decibels a given barrier can be expected to lessen sound as the sound travels through it. While it is enticing to think that a thin fabric curtain can give a good STC rating, from a practical standpoint that isn’t realistic. A thicker curtain, one with more acoustic material inside of it, will typically have a better STC rating than a thin curtain.

A great example are the industrial acoustic curtain products offered at AmCraft Manufacturing. AmCraft manufactures acoustic curtains and panels with single block technology as well as double block technology. The acoustic insulated curtain with single block technology has an STC rating of 34.5, while the industrial curtain wall with double barrier technology boasts an STC rating of 47.5.

As a comparison, a single layer of 1/2″ drywall on each side, wood studs, no insulation (typical interior wall) has an STC rating of about 33- comparable to AmCraft’s single barrier acoustic curtain. Meanwhile, 6″ Hollow CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit) has a typical STC rating of about 46, which is slightly less than AmCraft’s double barrier technology curtain.

How NRC Rating Factors into Noise Absorbing Curtains

In addition to considering the STC rating of an acoustic curtain product, you should also consider the NRC rating. NRC stands for noise reduction coefficient, and is an indication of the amount of sound absorbed when it hits a particular surface. An NRC rating of 0 indicates total reflection of the sound, while an NRC rating of 1 indicates total absorption of the sound. As it relates to AmCraft Manufacturing’s product offering, their acoustic curtain with single barrier technology offers an NRC rating of 0.82 and the acoustic curtain with double barrier technology brags an NRC rating of 0.64. Both options offer a superior NRC rating to many of the other curtain products that are readily available.

In your search for the perfect acoustic product, you will find AmCraft’s acoustic industrial curtain wall and acoustic panel products are designed to fit your needs. These curtains offer superior acoustic value, as illustrated by their STC and NRC ratings. They are also fully customizable to your size and aesthetic requirements and are available in both retractable and stationary options.

Acoustic Wall Panels / Curtains Reduce Machine Noise in the Workplace

Acoustic walls, panels, or acoustic curtains reduce machine noise in the workplace to meet OSHA requirements for noise levels and employee safety. Industrial and manufacturing facilities that operate loud equipment can generate noise levels at dangerous levels that can affect employee safety. Production lines are typically run on hard and reflective surfaces, causing sound reverberations that can compound the problem. Along with this, the machinery itself produces a high level of noise and echo from motors, and the impact of grinding, pounding, sanding, cutting and other workplace activities. These extreme noise levels can damage the hearing of workers and often affect communication between personnel which can cause additional safety hazards.

OSHA regulates noise levels in order to protect workers from hearing loss and workplace accidents. An industrial acoustical curtain is a cost effective and easy way to control many types of noisy environments. The National Institute of Health describes noise-inducing hearing loss as a one-time exposure to loud noise, or as the result of ongoing exposure to a loud environment. Machine shops are an example of workplaces that are filled with tools and machinery that can produce high sound pressure levels ranging from 80 to 110 decibels. OSHA mandates that a safe level for noise should not exceed 85dbs.

Acoustic curtain walls are used in industrial, manufacturing, welding, assembly, automotive, woodworking and other businesses that are prone to high levels of noise emissions. Whether it comes from internal or external forces, excessive noise becomes a problem for everyone when it comes to effectively managing safety issues in the workplace.

Controlling Noise at the Source limits Reverberation and Echo

A good way to reduce noise, reverberation and echo are to separate large areas into smaller areas and contain the noise at the source. A permanent or modular enclosure can be used to control noise levels to the inside of the enclosure or to the outside of the noise source. Because sound barrier curtains rely on re-direction and absorption, it is important to use these sound barriers in a location that can provide the most relief.

Sources of Excessive Noise in the Workplace:

• Industrial Gas and Plasma Jets
• Ventilator, Furnaces and Exhaust Fans
• Pumps and Compressors
• Electric Motors
• Machine Tools for forming and metal cutting
• Pneumatic Tools
• Punch Presses
• Lathes and Grinders
• Conveying Systems
• Transport Vehicles

Noise levels that are typical for these sources are:

• Grinding on a pedestal grinder 90-95
• Discharging metal objects into metal bins 85-95
• General noise level in fabrication shop 85-95
• Hammering steel 95-100
• Guillotining 95-100
• Multi-spindle automatic turning 95-105
• Circular sawing metal 95-105
• Pressing – blanking 95-110
• Punch pressing 110-120
• Riveting 100-110

OSHA mandates that a safe level for noise should not exceed 85dbs.

Acoustic Curtain Walls create a Sound Barrier Wall, Enclosure or Modular System for Use in the Shop

Acoustic Curtain Enclosure

Acoustic curtains can be used as stationary or retractable walls. Acoustic curtain walls can be permanently mounted to create stationary workstations, or can be modular, making them flexible enough to install and move to another location to accommodate the relocation of machines or other equipment. Acoustic wall panels can be used as a single wall sound barrier, or as an enclosure mounted to sturdy track systems.

Acoustic curtains with mass loaded vinyl control the sound waves and sound pressure levels that reverberate from the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and machinery surfaces. Acoustic sound enclosures are easy to assemble and flexible in how you want to install it. They can be mounted to the floor, the ceiling, walls, or suspended from the deck of a structural roof.

Using Sound Absorbing and Sound Deflecting Material Reduces Overall Noise Levels

An acoustic curtain is constructed using a durable outer shell and mass loaded vinyl that allows noise to be reduced through sound absorption and sound blocking materials. With the appropriate level of sound reducing materials, it is possible to reduce low frequency noise levels by 20db or more. High frequency or high pitch noise levels can be reduced by as much as 45dbs.

For many high level noise situations the most cost efficient and effective solution is to enclose the noise at the source. Creating an enclosure will limit the way noise can travel, including noise that is air-borne, noise that reverberates from structural sources, and noise that is emitted from equipment and machinery. Many times acoustic ceiling baffles are needed to complete an enclosure in order to achieve the full level of noise reduction that is needed.

Acoustic Sound Barrier Products are a great way to Protect Workers from Unsafe Noise Levels

Acoustic covers are another option for containing noise directly at the source. Covers can be custom made to fit specific equipment such as compressors, hydraulic pumps, HVAC equipment, generators, blowers, pile drivers, furnaces and more.

AmCraft custom manufactures Acoustic Wall Curtains that can provide moderate to maximum noise reduction for use in many applications. These sound barrier products can be made to any size and are an effective and economical way to reduce the levels of sound required to meet OSHA noise level guidelines in the workplace. Contact Us Today!