Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Return Air Grilles in Manufacturing

This Critical HVAC Product Is Essential for the Manufacturing Industry

In manufacturing, air quality is a significant factor in the performance of machinery, as well as for the health of workers. In fact, regulations related to air quality are in place for the many industries that utilize some form of manufacturing.

A variety of air distribution products are utilized in order for industries to abide by these regulations, including filtration, vents, grilles, and more. You may be most familiar with supply vents, which direct filtered air into a space. However, return vents are just as important.

Exploring the necessity of return air grilles is absolutely essential for a complete air distribution system, as these products do the work of extracting contaminated air.  Without this, a mixture of both filtered air and air that has been tainted by machines in production will remain in a manufacturing space, and that is certainly not the goal when looking to protect equipment and people. When human health as well as a business’ bottom line are at stake, no industry leader is going to be keen on anything less than meeting or exceeding regulations.

What is a Return Air Grille?

Before we fully define a grille, let’s focus on the return vents. Then, you’ll fully understand what a return air grille is, and how it functions. Return vents take the air that has been supplied to a space and return it to the main ductwork where it is filtered again. Filtered air can only remain filtered for so long before it is tainted by the dust and grime of production, human exhalation, and other environmental factors. Therefore, because that “contaminated” air is drawn through the return vents, which serve a vital purpose for indoor air quality.

We tend to give much of the credit to the air supply, but return vents provide a crucial service. A return air grille is a piece that is fitted over the return vent to take in air more effectively. Like the grille of a car that lets air from the engine in and out, a return air grille is typically a slatted piece of stainless steel.

What Kinds of Return Air Grilles Exist?

Custom manufacturers can make all kinds of modifications to return air grilles to ensure they are doing their job properly. Manufacturing isn’t a one-size-fits-all industry (manufacturing tables is obviously different from manufacturing pharmaceuticals, for example). So, a custom HVAC company can offer a wide array of grilles, so that contaminated air can be drawn out of rooms in a manner that is consistent with a manufacturer’s needs.

The most clear example of the variations on return grilles is the difference between large slats and finer, perforated return air grilles. The difference, of course, is more than word salad marketing to make one company’s grilles seem different than another. A finer return air grille will take in air less quickly. In addition, these provide the least amount of visibility to the inner ductwork, where a large-slatted grille would reveal some of the inner-workings of the HVAC system.

There are many reasons why you’d consider one grille over another, but imagine that you want to draw contaminated air out of a room where public observations of the manufacturing process take place. You wouldn’t want to show that ductwork to the public, so a finer grille might work best.

On the other hand, a manufacturer that has to deal with excess fumes from the manufacturing process will want that contaminated air out fast, so they’d likely opt for larger spaces between the slats of their return air grilles.

What are the Qualities of a Superior Return Air Grille?

If you are working with an HVAC provider, you’ll likely have a robust selection of return air grilles to choose from. However, you want to be sure that you’re getting the very best because manufacturers can’t afford to settle for low-quality HVAC systems.

Here, then, are a list of the characteristics that make a return air grille – and their manufacturer – superior to others:

  • The grille features stainless steel construction, both for aesthetics and its antimicrobial properties
  • The grilles can include an additional antimicrobial powder coat finish for more protection
  • The HVAC manufacturer can provide various options that fit your specific needs

In addition, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some manufacturers of HVAC products are unfortunately unable to meet demand because of supply-chain issues. However, the companies that have worked tirelessly during the pandemic to meet their customers’ needs, are now experiencing lead times similar to those they were able to boast in pre-pandemic times.

A superior custom HVAC company that builds return air grilles for your manufacturing site’s needs should be able to accommodate you right away. This means they are experienced in the industry and have your best interests in mind.

Why is this so important? Because the quality of your air protects your assets, and you want an assurance that the company who is building for you can keep you working safely and productively into the future.

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