How Do the Different Types of Industrial Air Handlers Work?

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An industrial air handling unit (AHU) is very much like the lungs of a facility. This device both regulates and circulates the indoor air as part of the building HVAC system. The AHU plays an important role in assisting heating, cooling, and ventilating systems in their role of providing clean, contaminate-free air that’s been brought to the perfect temperature, and guaranteed the ideal amount of humidity. An air handler can help increase the overall efficiency of the HVAC system by limiting the amount of work that it has to do, and by helping to improve indoor air quality. In the industrial setting, these devices can be key for creating and maintaining safe environments, keeping operating costs under control, protecting employees, inventory, and inventory management equipment, and more.

There are many different types of AHUs that industrial businesses can use to create the proper indoor conditions. These include:

  • Terminal units
  • Makeup air units
  • Packaged or rooftop units

Each of these and other options are generally comprised of a large box that contains filter racks, elements for heating and cooling, sound attenuators, dampers, and a blower. The AHU is connected directly to the HVAC ductwork through which conditioned air is circulated throughout the building and eventually returned to the AHU.

How To Choose The Right Air Handling Unit For Any Industrial Environment

Terminal units that have fans or blower coils are rarely used in large, industrial-type settings. These basic devices are among the simplest and smallest of all AHUs and generally contain little more than a heat transfer coil and a fan. To prevent rapid build-up of debris on internal components, they often have basic filters. Serving only single temperature zones, fans or blower coils have the lowest efficiency among all AHUs, and a very limited ability to provide reliable humidity and temperature control.

For smaller industrial operations and applications, packaged AHUs may be available as rooftop systems. These can include coils, dampers, filters, and fans, all in one casing or housing. This same housing frequently includes AC compressors and components for supplying heat such as heat pump coils, electric heating coils, or gas burners. Like basic fan or blower coil setups, packaged AHUs can only service a single temperature zone. There are, however, larger, variable air volume AHUs that can serve several terminal boxes as needed.

For many industrial settings, modular AHUs are the most efficient and cost-effective choice. With these, companies can choose the components housed in each module individually, as well as the housing type, all coils, filters, fans, and other options and accessories. These AHUs can be assembled right on site or can arrive factory-assembled. They provide impressive levels of both flexibility and adaptability, making them a great way to meet a very vast range of requirements for air processing. Larger industrial operations with more complex requirements can alternatively invest in custom AHUs, which are offered in nearly every possible configuration that companies might want. These come with the greatest level of efficiency, reliability, and workmanship, and thus, they also come at the highest cost.

In industrial settings, many companies are looking to go beyond the minimum requirements for air handling and regulation to provide truly superior levels of comfort and safety. Choosing the right HVAC and air handling equipment for protecting your workers, your assets, and your facilities is key to successfully running any industrial operation. To learn more about industrial air handlers or to find the perfect equipment for your business, call us now at 408-295-2182.

Hiring a mechanical engineer for building retrofits, rebuilds, additions, or enhancements is the quickest and surest way to obtain the ideal facilities for supporting your operations. Are you ready to make your workplace more modern, efficient, or compliant? If so, we can help.

Call us today at 408-295-2182.


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