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Dematic want to bring down the noise at your facility

23 April 2024

The firm’s Noise Reduction portfolio helps identify and resolve harmful noise levels within your warehouse.

TODAY’S WAREHOUSES and distribution sites are buzzing with activity – sometimes 24/7, which is a nice way of saying that they can be filled with all kinds of noise going on everywhere in a building. Dematic has been working on reducing noise for several years. Our development and testing process includes noise testing, so noise pollution is not new to us Warehouse noise levels are impacted by multiple factors, including material handling equipment type, layout, running speed and even the materials - cartons vs. totes - being handled. Most governments limit exposure over an 8-hour work period to sound levels between 85-90 dB, which is equivalent to being exposed to the noise of city traffic. In some cases, sound levels can spike to 100 dB, which is equivalent to the roar of a motorcycle engine. 

Mitigate the impact

Anyone who’s worked or even stepped inside a warehouse can attest to the noise levels. Unless the facility has been built within the last 5-10 years, it will likely be generating noise at higher than desired levels. The market knows these facilities are loud because they have procedures in place, such as rotating staff to quieter areas of the facility to mitigate the impact. You can even find boxes of ear plugs strategically placed in the warehouse to ensure employees can access them! So, it’s not a secret, but it’s unfortunately not top of mind for many companies to look for better solutions.

At face value, noise issues in a facility seem simple to solve. You can use your own ears to identify what you think is loud and either upgrade equipment or place a sound barrier. Devices such as hand-held decibel meters and noise “cameras” can offer data to help you measure the levels and even perform a “before and after” analysis. Unfortunately, they do not go far enough in addressing excessive or dangerous levels of noise which could permanently affect an individual’s hearing. Noise is complex and requires a holistic assessment. Material handling equipment, building layout, materials handled and equipment speeds can all impact noise levels. The Dematic 3D Noise Mapping Audit is the first step to help companies understand noise within an entire operation. We build a “heat map” of a facility to help customers visualize noise levels. It’s a very powerful visual tool to identify hot spots that are likely amplifying the noise level throughout the facility. 

3-step approach

Dematic has developed its noise reduction portfolio to address the industry's need to reduce noise at the source. Our approach – a 3-step ‘assess, analyze, recommend’ approach – offers details and insights that are not matched by traditional handheld measurement tools.

Let’s start with the ‘Assess’ phase. It all starts with a 3D Noise Mapping Audit. Dematic audits the entire warehouse and builds a "heat map" of noise levels. Next is the analysis. Dematic compiles and examines the sound data and simulates the noise reduction from various solutions, balancing benefit and cost. Finally, Dematic makes some recommendations to solve the problems. We present the findings and recommendations to customers, and, together, we determine what is best before installation of a solution to reduce noise.

One piece of equipment that is a heavy source of noise pollution are conveyors. The steel rollers found within them are problematic because they are generally very loud. Dematic can upgrade steel rollers with quieter ones to reduce noise at the source. Another solution is our Dematic SL2 Sorter. We can install a sound dampening material within the sorter slats to reduce noise at the source. Conveyors and sorters are two examples, and they vary significantly. For example, they can be electrically, hydraulically, or pneumatically powered and be either belt or chain driven. Each combination requires a unique approach. The goal is to reduce noise at the source.

Making warehouses safer to work and providing a healthier environment are on the minds of everyone today as workforces grow scarce. Reducing noise pollution is just one step to make improvements. 

For more information, visit www.dematic.com

 
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