Generator Basics: Sound Attenuation
Understandably, kW output and fuel type are major considerations when choosing an industrial generator for your facility. However, generator noise quickly becomes the next major factor in deciding which industrial generator is best. A 50kW diesel generator set can typically produce around 85 dB(A) –as loud as city traffic. A 1500kW engine can be as loud as, if not louder than a jet engine 1000 feet above our heads (105 dB(A)). This can be an annoyance to neighbors but can pose actual health risks to those working in close proximity.
Most major industrial generator manufacturers have made great strides in reducing overall generator noise by making advancements in fuel injection technology, turbocharging and internal combustion control measures. Larger engines produce more power strokes per revolution (RPM), smoothing out overall power flow, and like V-8 configurations, internally balancing the unit to reduce vibrations that lead to noise.
Many industrial generator manufacturers also produce sound attenuating enclosures. These are usually built from 12 to 14-gauge steel or even aluminum. These specially designed generator housings effectively provide a Noise Control Barrier; reducing noise by up to 40 dB(A) as well as providing some weather resistance. Other effective tools for noise reduction include; exhaust silencers, acoustic insulating materials, and isolation mounts. Any combination of the listed sound reducing measures will benefit you, the end user, and your community.
The majority of noise ordinances are based upon decibel readings taken at the property line. Simply choosing a location as far as possible from neighbors can effectively solve noise ordinance problems. However, OSHA has set guidelines to protect workers from noise pollution. These require facility management teams to do everything possible to suppress dangerous decibel levels from heavy equipment.
For more guidance on how noise pollution can affect your generator purchasing decisions, and answers to many more of your generator questions, simply give us a call.