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10 places humidification systems are used

We carry out installation and servicing of humidification systems across the UK and beyond, covering a diverse range of industries. Here are 10 interesting places you’ll find humidification systems.

Offices

Keeping an office environment comfortable for staff means that it’s usually air conditioned in the summer and heated during the winter months. This results in drying out the air, potentially leading to employees experiencing headaches, sore eyes and throats, skin complaints and lethargy. The best solution is to add water to the air by using a humidifier, which may be installed as a standalone unit or integrated into an existing HVAC system.

Data centres

Storing vast quantities of important information on rows of IT equipment, data centres must maintain a relative humidity (RH) of 40% to prevent the build-up of static electric charges. These charges can cause sparks which may damage computers and servers, with the risk of data being permanently erased. All data centres are designed to include a humidification system which ensures an RH of 45–60%, the level recommended by CIBSE (Chartered Institute of Building Service Engineers).

Museums

A major problem faced by museums and serious art collectors is that paintings and frames are susceptible to warping and cracking in the wrong conditions. This is especially true of older works which are often the most valuable. As paintings age, the materials become more fragile and more likely to become damaged by varying air moisture levels. RH must therefore be constantly controlled at around 45–55% depending on seasonal conditions, with fluctuations strictly limited to ±3%. This requires a responsive, well-maintained and reliable humidification system.

Cold stores

As air enters a cold store, its moisture content drops in line with temperature and the water then condenses onto the refrigeration system’s cooling coils. As cold air is circulated around a cold store, it warms slightly, meaning it must have a higher moisture content in order to achieve its natural equilibrium. To achieve this, the air draws moisture away from surfaces, including the products in the cool store which reduces their shelf life. To combat this, industrial humidifiers can be installed to monitor and manage humidity levels at all times and ensure products retain their freshness for as long as possible.

Printing

Paper is highly vulnerable to changes in RH, with an optimum level of 50–60% recommended. The consequences of the RH falling below this range in a large-scale printing environment include static build-up and changes to the physical state of the paper such as web breaks and paper curl. In an industry where accuracy is essential, even the smallest changes in the dimensions of the paper will cause misfeeds and printing errors, especially during the cold winter months when RH can drop to 15–20%. That’s why humidification systems are essential for ensuring consistency and quality in the printing industry.

Textiles

The efficient production of high-quality textiles can be jeopardised by dry air and a low RH, as yarns with a low moisture content are weaker, less elastic and more prone to shrinkage. A humidification system allows textile producers to have confidence in their materials and eradicates cutting and fitting problems during garment manufacture.

Hospitals

A comfortable RH is important in all areas of a hospital, including wards and day rooms, as dry air can lead to headaches, nasal congestion and sore eyes. This is of particular concern in maternity wards as babies are more susceptible to dry air. Humidification is especially vital in the operating theatre, where electrostatic shocks caused by sub-40% RH can have potentially fatal effects during surgery. There’s also the issue of moisture being drawn from exposed body tissue during operations, causing it to dry prematurely. A safe and sterile humidification system is an integral part of the modern hospital.

Cleanrooms

A cleanroom is a special manufacturing or research environment where it’s essential to have a low level of environmental pollutants such as dust, microbes and chemical vapours. Cleanrooms are common in the pharmaceutical industry, where humidity must be tightly controlled to ensure the standard and safety of medicines being produced. A quality humidification system will also lead to less wastage and will increase worker productivity.

Explosives manufacturing

The highly-combustible materials used during the manufacture of explosives may become unstable should RH drop below around 55%, due to the discharge of static electric. Precise monitoring and management of humidity levels are essential in this dangerous industry, which produces fireworks, flares and munitions.

Concert halls

Pipe organs in concert halls and churches are vulnerable to changes in humidity, with the standard of musical performance at risk when RH dips below 55%. This is because a low RH will see moisture sucked from the wooden organ chamber, leading to it becoming out of tune. Low humidity in the auditorium will also affect musicians’ wooden instruments, not to mention the singer’s voice as their nose and throat become dry.

Gibbons supply humidification systems for all manner of applications, including those listed above. To speak to an industry expert about your requirements, call Steve Rix on 07966423165 or email steve.rix@gibbonsgroup.co.uk

Humidification

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