How to Manage Industrial Odors

Adding a carbon filter to a negative air machine is one of the most effective ways to manage industrial odors while keeping everyone in the building healthy and safe. That’s because air scrubbers actively remove all types of toxins from the air, including odorous ones. Fumes, many of which stink, are a common by-product of chemical manufacturing practices. It wasn’t too long ago that odors were considered an unavoidable consequence to industrial businesses. Thankfully, there are now options available to help with the issue.

Many chemicals, even those that smell, may not be physically dangerous, but they are often psychologically harmful. Bad smells can lower worker productivity and even devalue an area because people don’t want to live (or work) somewhere that smells bad.

How Negative Air Machines Work to Remove Industrial Odors

A standard air scrubber (no ducting) or negative air machine (duct work included with sealed housing and variable speed blower motor) will not remove odors without the addition of a carbon filter. In its standard form, a negative air machine is equipped with 2 different filters, a pre-filter and a primary filter.

The pre-filter removes the largest particles that enter the air scrubber. While the primary filter removes the smallest particles—including those too small for the naked eye to see. By removing the largest particles first, you prolong the life of the air scrubber and reduce how often you’ll need to change the primary filter. With these two filters, odors will remain in the building… that’s where a carbon filter comes into play.

What is a Carbon Filter?

Most air scrubbers are outfitted with space to add a carbon filter. This type of filter is designed to remove odorous particles from the air. Capable of trapping vapor and gas molecules, a carbon filter physically attracts stinky particles to its surface—sort of like how a magnet works. As a result, stinky gases stick to the surface area, which is made of carbon. A variety of materials can be used to make carbon, such as coal or wood.

Instead of absorbing particles, it relies on a process of adsorption, which means particles stick to the surface. For that reason, a larger surface area ensures a better chance of catching more particles before the filter needs to be changed. That’s why it’s common to use activated carbon, as just one gram of activated carbon offers up to 2,000 square meters of surface area to capture odor-causing particles.

What is Activated Carbon?

Activated carbon is infused with hot air or steam, a process that adds little pores to the surface. All these tiny pores add additional spaces for molecules to congregate. As a result, this expands a filter’s ability to capture particles. Activated carbon may also be treated with a chemical that helps it filter certain pollutants with added efficiency.

Benefits of Managing Industrial Odors with a Negative Air Machine

Not only do air scrubbers remove odors, they also remove a number of toxic chemicals and fumes from the air. Other benefits include:

  • Meet safety standards
  • Improve wellbeing and happiness of employees
  • Reduce the risk of workplace illness
  • Provide a safe work environment
  • Keep your neighbors happy by reducing odors emitted from your building

Setting Up the Right Odor Management System

If you plan to use an air scrubber or negative air machine to control industrial odors, it’s important that you have the proper setup, which includes the appropriate number of air scrubbers placed at the right intervals. We are more than happy to help set you up for odor-free success with our wide variety of air scrubbers for rent and sale. Contact us today to learn more.