Enclosure of an already existing plant

Flexibility as a model for success

Combined measures for optimum sound insulation and maximum occupational safety protect the health of employees in the production environment. Partner companies such as LK Metallwaren have the necessary flexibility here to implement individually suitable solutions quickly and sustainably.

High noise emissions in the environment are not only detrimental to health, they also form an obstacle where fast, transparent communication is important – especially when it comes to passing on instructions and implementing them. After the commissioning of a new plant at a renowned construction company in the Bavarian Upper Palatinate, it became apparent that its operation was accompanied by high noise emissions – so high that it was perceived as a disturbing factor in the working environment. To remedy this situation, the customer decided to have the plant completely enclosed and commissioned LK Metallwaren with this extensive noise and occupational safety project in March 2023.

Enclosure of already existing plant

The design and construction of the enclosure presented a number of different challenges. The central requirement was that all environment parameters had to be considered as “set”. Since the plant had already been put into operation, the enclosure had to be adapted accordingly. The standard components – in particular wall and ceiling panels, door and window elements, the surrounding protective grids and the openings for the material flow and supply lines – were first fabricated on site. For this purpose, a stairway was created that covered the enclosure on one of the short wall sides and at the same time led to an accessible second level above the enclosure.

The result of the noise abatement measure was ultimately visually impressive: above all, however, this example shows the versatility of the requirements that noise abatement entails in the operational environment. Different planning feasibilities, different on-site requirements must in turn be combined with the different needs of the clients in terms of noise and occupational safety measures as well as different design ideas.

Soundproof booths: Flexible standard setting

Standard solutions result when the measures, for example in the form of noise control booths, are already integrated into completely ready-to-deliver plants. Here, too, in series production, LK Metallwaren shows itself to be a maximally flexible partner. Whether in sandwich or frame construction, with built-in lifting, sliding or hinged doors, or in combination with ventilation or filtering, venting and air-conditioning systems: The Schwabach-based company has the right solution for every requirement.

How flexible is also shown by the now more than forty years of cooperation with a globally operating manufacturer of wire drawing equipment in Germany. Minimized “noise output” is now one of the basic requirements placed on the plant manufacturer from Middle Franconia. The protection of our own operating personnel always enjoys the highest priority. “For the workforce in the company, improved sound insulation means a health relief, and for the recruitment of new skilled workers, low acoustic stress in the working environment is a real ‘pull argument’, says Sebastian Kontusch from Technical Sales, Sound Insulation at LK Metallwaren.

Operator protection in focus

Whether enclosures or soundproof booths, the protection they offer employees in the production environment from potential workplace accidents is at least as important as the acoustic relief. Following the motto “Operator protection is always the focus!”, metalworking plants are subject to even more stringent safety requirements. In this case, stirrups such as those used in wire drawing in stranding machines can reach circumferential speeds beyond 500 km/h. Parts that come loose can quickly become projectiles – endangering the life and limb of plant personnel. The cabins were designed by LK Metallwaren in a solid construction and equipped with safety glass on the door and window elements.

In this way, the dielectric strength test carried out by the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit) in accordance with the requirements of DIN EN 12417 was also accepted without any objections. A special highlight: In the course of the redesign, the engineers at LK Metallwaren developed an automatic door locking system that can be used to open and set in motion a 200-kilogram sliding door at the touch of a button.

Despite all the complexity of the design: The subsequent commissioning of the plants and the associated systems should always be as simple as possible. LK Metallwaren also does all the preparatory work for this. For example, the complete wiring of all components – fans, safety interlock, lamps, indicator lights, pneumatics, cylinders and control panels – means that the soundproof booths only have to be placed on the machine and the plugs connected in the separately located control cabinet. After that: Switch on – and ready!

High noise and occupational safety factors ensure a competitive advantage for the plant manufacturer’s customers from this direction as well. The acoustic result in particular causes astonishment here, because despite up to forty machines being operated in a factory hall: More than a hum can hardly be heard here.

Design of the measures more and more significant

In addition to the functional specifications that must be met in the area of noise and occupational safety, the design, in which enclosures such as protective booths are created according to customer specifications, is becoming increasingly important. The interior of factory buildings today is usually fundamentally different from those two or three decades earlier. Thoughtfully structured, tidy and, above all, clean: unscheduled plant tours are possible at any time in most production environments today. The integration of enclosures and booths into the existing design is correspondingly important: Shapes, color of the paint finish can be freely selected here, and special requests – such as the most visually effective possible integration of the company’s own brand logos, for example – can be realized at any time. In many cases, LK engineers are involved in project teams with external specialists or customer employees to ensure that the design specifications are implemented as precisely as possible.

Adapted on site and set up ready for operation within two weeks

Working at maximum speed, if possible, during ongoing operations: These are classic targets for assembly, especially when, as in the case of the Upper Palatinate construction company, enclosures have to be made in an already existing plant situation. Many years of experience and practical know-how are the essential building blocks to achieve these goals. Despite the sometimes complex structural requirements on site, the LK Metallwaren fitters made rapid progress with their work. After the planning for the enclosure was approved at the beginning of May 2023, the enclosure with all individually designed components – including door and window elements, penetrations and cabling – was completed ready for use within six weeks.

Careful craftsmanship for the tasks at hand despite a tight time window: This is only possible by relying on existing standard components in conjunction with specially manufactured special parts (e.g. for sealing the enclosure). It is true that the subsequent enclosure of permanently installed plant and machinery is more costly; on the other hand, possible planning errors can be excluded in this way. Either way, the versatility and flexibility of LK Metallwaren in close coordination with the customer ensured the success of the project!

Enclosure of an already existing plant

Complex requirements – mastered brilliantly!

For a major customer in the construction sector, LK Metallwaren enclosed an existing plant and was thus able to reduce the noise level and increase occupational safety in the vicinity of the plant at the same time.

At the end of March 2023, an internationally renowned construction company with more than 6,000 employees and its main location in the Bavarian Upper Palatinate had commissioned LK Metallwaren with an extensive noise and occupational safety project. The starting point for the customer’s order was the new acquisition of a production plant with an above-average noise intensity as a disturbance factor. In order to provide a permanent remedy, the customer decided to completely enclose the plant. An integral part of this planning was the associated establishment of a “safety zone”, which ensured that sufficient distances to the plant were maintained during operation.

Enclosure of an already existing plant

Enclosure made with already existing plant

The design and construction of the enclosure presented a number of different challenges. Thus, the central requirement was that all environment parameters had to be considered as “set”. Since the plant had already been fully erected and commissioned, the enclosure had to be adapted accordingly. The standard components, in particular wall and ceiling panels, door and window elements, the surrounding protective grids and the openings for the material flow and supply lines, were first adapted or cut to size on site. Added to this was the inclusion of a stairway that covered the enclosure on one of the short sides of the wall, while also leading to an accessible second level above the enclosure.

Adapted on site and set up ready for operation within two weeks

Despite the partly complex structural requirements for the installation of the protection zones and soundproofing chamber, the LK Metallwaren fitters made rapid progress with their work. After the planning for the enclosure had been completed and subsequently approved at the beginning of May, the enclosure with all door and window elements was erected on site within two weeks and completed ready for use with all penetrations and cabling for plant operation.

The fact that the tasks at hand could be carried out with the utmost craftsmanship despite the tight time window was due in particular to the close communication with our customer and the flexibility with which LK Metallwaren was able to supply and process standard components as well as custom-made special parts (e.g. for sealing the enclosure). This also demonstrated the advantages of adapting noise control and other components to an existing plant and its immediate surroundings. In this way, not only can possible planning errors be eliminated, but also a speedy, true-to-scale assembly on site can be ensured.

The result of the thoughtfully coordinated planning and execution work was ultimately also a real eye-catcher visually. At the end of the project, there was not only an enclosure that effectively fulfilled its purpose as a noise protection measure and also increased occupational safety for the plant operators: It also became a real “eye-catcher” within the entire production sector thanks to its appealing, functional design.

Enclosure of an already existing plant

Complex requirements mastered with flying colors

Sebastian Kontusch, Technical Sales Manager Soundproofing, summed it up as follows: “All in all, an extraordinary performance by our LK fitters and the entire team that supported them within the scope of their tasks. Together, we not only mastered the complex requirements on site with flying colors, but also delivered a result that, from a purely visual point of view, cannot be described as ‘Hausen’. The customer, at any rate, was highly satisfied.”

A sound insulation concept from LK Metall - reduction of the sound insulation level by around 50%

Effective noise protection in a confined space at a height of 3.5 m

Neue Materialien Bayreuth GmbH has commissioned a new 600 t hydraulic press equipped with various temperature control technologies for lightweight components in its pilot plant. The press is used for processing fiber composites, metallic and foamed materials.

The processing of the materials involves thermoplastic composites treated at a temperature of up to 450 °C. In order to achieve maximum freedom in the working area of the press, the hydraulic unit was placed directly under the roof of the hall. This positioning favors the unhindered propagation of sound emissions throughout the hall. This would result in a high noise exposure that would be hazardous to the health of employees at the hydraulic press and surrounding workplaces. In order to protect employees from the stresses, it was particularly important for Neue Materialien Bayreuth GmbH to comply with the legal requirements and to reduce the sound pressure level at the workplaces concerned to below 80 dB(A) during operation.

The feed pumps on a 600-ton hydraulic press are a potential source of noise.
The feed pumps on a 600-ton hydraulic press are a potential source of noise.

After rebuild measures: The machine enclosure from LK Metall reduces noise.
After rebuild measures: The machine enclosure from LK Metall reduces noise.

Reduce noise at the source

In order to use effective noise protection measures in such a plant, it was necessary to completely enclose the feed pumps. A site inspection revealed that the space required for an enclosure was extremely limited. It was also necessary to ensure that the electric motors of the feed pumps continued to receive the necessary fresh air for cooling. Therefore, a soundproof enclosure with a wall thickness of around 50 mm was installed to reduce noise emissions. An additional built-in fan in the cabin continues to provide fresh air to the engines.

Soundproofed ducts cover the required supply and exhaust air openings. Special supports underneath the hydraulic unit enabled space-saving installation of the enclosure. “We were able to reduce the sound level of the feed pumps from 88 dB(A) to 77 dB(A) in working mode and from 81 dB(A) to 64 dB(A) in stand-by mode,” said Carsten Schröder, technical sales at LK Metall. Compactly built Thanks to an individual sound insulation concept and a compact design of the enclosure, the customer’s requirements were met more than expected. LK Metall reduced the subjective noise pollution at the hydraulic press by more than 50%. A meaningful contribution to the protection against health-endangering noise pollution in the workplace.