Though the initial cost might seem prohibitive, the extensive benefits and long life of an air curtain system pays for the system many times over.
Air Curtain Overview
An air curtain is a device specifically designed to provide a resistance to air flow through an opening, without having an actual physical barrier. Put more simply, an Air Curtain is a fan designed with an air outlet that has a low turbulent air stream. This fan can be angled towards the incoming air stream so that the inflow of air can be prevented, thereby creating a seal.
Types of Air Curtains
Air curtains fall into two categories:
- Non re-circulating.
Re-circulating air curtains are usually used in supermarkets and store entrances. They emit air from a discharge grill on one side of the door opening and collect the air on the opposite side. It is then filtered, sometimes heated, and then returned to the discharge grille. They are usually associated with high initial costs and high operating costs. Because the air has to be filtered, the maintenance costs are also quite high. Their low velocity air streams, however, make them desirable in some commercial entrances.
Non re-circulating air curtains are much more widely used for some highly practical reasons, including much lower initial and operating costs. As they are not re-using the air, it doesn't normally have to be filtered, which means they are essentially maintenance free. Non re-circulating types are also more effective, as the air streams are narrower and of higher velocities.
Why Use an Air Curtain?
For the best possible efficiency, air curtains are installed inside between doorways leading to an air conditioned area and outdoors. Openings where air curtains would typically be used are exterior shipping and receiving doors to plants and warehouses as well as interior doors between plant areas of different temperatures.
Other air curtain functions include:
- Controlling oven temperatures
- Controlling humidity, dust, and fresh air
- Preventing the drifting of overspray from spray paint booths
- Blowing water off of hot steel after it has been dipped
- Blowing scrap paper from a paper cutter into a collecting intake.
Air Curtains are also used extensively in clean rooms, such as in the microelectronics and pharmaceutical industries.
Benefits of Air Curtains
Some advantages air curtain systems offer include:
- Energy savings through the control of air transfer
- Faster and safer traffic flow
- Increased production due to clear and open doorways
- Door maintenance cost savings due to decreased breakdowns
- Increased usable space near door areas
- Elimination of ice and fog in cold storage areas
- Increased safety in door areas due to better visibility.