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Equipment noise in a coffee factory

This is one of a series of planned posts that shares in more detail the varied noise assessment we undertake for a wide variety of clients and sectors.

Over to Doushiant, who talks about an interesting recent factory noise project…

One of the projects we’re currently working on involves the construction of a new coffee production centre in Basildon. The main warehouse will house various roasting machines, a coffee silo and packaging machines that could potentially generate a lot of noise.

If not suitably controlled, there is a concern that excessive noise levels could exceed Noise at Work Regulations when the machinery is in full operation. Not only would this be an uncomfortable place to work, but it may also pose a health risk to staff working in the warehouse.

We have worked with our client to provide support throughout the project to ensure that the machinery selected, designed and installed achieves an acceptable level of noise in the warehouse when it is fully operational.

Because each machine installation like this is bespoke, manufacturer’s data regarding the level of sound that will be emitted is unavailable. In order to gather meaningful data, we travelled to North Lincolnshire and Bremen to perform sound measurements of similar machinery currently installed in Lincoln and York (pictures below) and in Markus Kaffee coffee production factories.

To get an accurate reading, sound from the packaging machine needed to be isolated to ensure the other machines within the warehouse did not have any influence on measurements. This required the factory to operate at a low production level, giving us approximately twenty minutes to perform our measurements.

The packing machine had various noise emitting components: the Ishida Multihead Checkweigher (the elevated funnel that weighs then separates the coffee into the machine) and the Forming Shoulder (the section that packages the coffee). These elements were the most dominant with regard to sound and therefore were the main focus of the survey. Sound level meters were positioned in four locations surrounding both components in order to determine the level of sound they emitted.

Spot measurements were also made at locations where operators would be working, to assess their exposure to the sound emitted by the packing machine.

Measuring the noise levels emitted by the roaster proved more difficult as the roasting process involves the use of multiple elements of machinery, which cannot be isolated.

The roasting process takes approximately 12 minutes to complete a full cycle of production, consisting of three main phases: roasting, cooling and de-stoning; during which time different elements of machinery are active.

Spot measurements were made around the individual elements to assess how they influenced the overall noise level, supported by measurements surrounding the entirety of the machinery to determine the level of sound emitted throughout a full cycle.

The data gathered throughout these surveys enables us to predict how the packaging and roasting machines will sound when installed inside the factory when it’s completed. This work reassures our client that their employees will be working within safe auditory conditions when the factory operates at full production capacity.

You can read more about our sound testing services here, or get in touch if you have a project you’d like to discuss.

The packing machine with component parts highlighted:

Measuring noise close to factory workers:

The roaster and its component parts (image from manufacturer website):

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