Stephen Benes 2015-07-27 13:05:05
One of the most important tips when specifying an air curtain can be best explained from the adage: “What you see, is not always what you get.” Air curtain performance can differ wildly from what a manufacturer claims in a catalog. That’s why the Air Movement & Control Association (AMCA) Arlington Heights, IL, a third-party association, took a lead in assuring air curtain specifications were true to claims. AMCA has developed standards for testing, publications for application, tested a wide variety of air curtain brands and models, and certifies performance data, such as air volume, power consumption (power rating), uniformity and air velocity projection, which in application should be a minimum of 1,000 feet per minute when the air reaches one foot above the floor. This is important because an engineer can specify an air curtain with claims of delivering the proper air volume and velocity across a doorway, but the air curtain never performs up to expectations because its performance data was inflated and the unit was therefore undersized for the application. The quality of data also needs to be ensured so that engineers can accurately compare products from different manufacturers. Specifications sometimes vary because many manufacturers don’t provide the necessary engineering or materials to produce units that suppress noise sufficiently. Instead they just recommend units that are quieter, but not strong enough to “hit the floor.” A properly designed air curtain can produce an effective air stream so efficiently that it can operate at a lower fan speed than comparable models. This results in lower noise levels during operation while still effectively protecting the opening. Additionally, some manufacturers don’t invest enough development time to design an air curtain capable of efficiently projecting an airstream the maximum or specified distance. Some create a uniform air discharge, but the airstream doesn’t project far enough to seal an opening. While still others pay no attention to design refinement at all, and just blast air out of a sheet metal box. Building owners and end-users can protect themselves by including the appropriate certification language in a specification and then accepting only AMCA-certified products.
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