Air curtains now being embraced by a range of sectors
Over the past few years, a number of technological advances have greatly improved the efficiency of air curtains. Air curtains are installed above a doorway, sending a continual stream of air in order to separate the external and internal environments. Not only does this regulate the temperature inside the building, but it also helps to keep out unwanted bugs and contaminants.
Once used solely for industrial shipping doors, air curtains are now being used across a variety of food and retail businesses. A recent article on ACHR News explains how improved technology has led to a rise in the number - and type - of businesses embracing this energy-saving device.
In the past, air curtains used electric heating coils which disrupted the air flow and volume, cutting efficiency by up to 40%. Also, electric heaters were often mounted at the inlet screen – where the air is drawn into the curtain. This meant that the air curtain enclosure became heated, causing up to a 5% heat loss through the unit.
Nowadays, Venturi-style heaters feature a hemispherical electric element, mounted at the blower inlets. This means that the heat is drawn naturally into the blower, so that the airstream achieves nearly 100% of its aerodynamic potential.
Certain processes and environments can create hazardous dust, gases and fumes – for example, petroleum refineries, chemical facilities and food processing factories.
Custom-built HL-rated air curtains were once used in these cases; but they were custom-manufactured, meaning that they were expensive for business owners to install. Thankfully, air curtain manufacturers can now offer them as a standard product, meaning that they cost far less and are more readily available.
Whereas air curtains for doorways wider than 12ft once had to be custom-made, or made from units bolted together, new manufacturing advancements mean that length has now also become standardised.
With industrial doorways often spanning 12-16ft in width, it is now possible to get a standard catalogue item of up to 16ft. This makes the curtains cheaper, easier to install and more efficient.