The British Sugar site near Newark is a food production factory facility. This a large industrial site comprising numerous production buildings, logistics, warehousing and support / office buildings.
Working through contracted support and directly through the local maintenance and engineering team, we were initially contracted to survey, assess and report against the existing site audio system/s. Further investigative works led to new audio systems installation throughout much of the site. This sugar production site proposed particularly challenging – high ambient background noise levels and extremely harsh industrial processing. A number of production areas of the site were also identified as EX / ATEX areas, which required a carefully managed installation strategy and specification of similarly explosion rated system equipment / loud speakers.
- Public Address (PA) / Tannoy
- Mass Notification
Audio Specification & Technologies
- 100v line, high impedance
- Mostly EX / ATEX rated for explosion protection
The food production areas of this site presented a number of audio design and practical installation challenges:
- High ambient background noise.
- EX / ATEX areas.
- Limited access.
These challenges were not unique and were somewhat expected. Having previously installed sound systems into many similar factory and food production projects these challenges were discussed with the client and supporting project teams, with a number of provisioning and protective measures put in place to assist the installation whilst mitigating possible contamination of the food product.
Given the relative high audio ‘power’ requirements for this project, our design solution was somewhat dictated. 100v line, high impedance audio was specified and installed to provide robust and powerful quality audio transmission over long distance cable runs. Multiple audio zones were created. These provided targeted audio with separate volume control to the different production areas. Supporting multi-power amplifiers based on these zones were installed – providing resilience, should any one speaker zone fail, it wouldn’t affect another speaker zone.
Sugar processing can create sugar ‘dust’ which is defined combustible. Any such defined areas requiring audio system equipment and / or loud speakers therefore required specialist EX / ATEX rated equipment and speakers.
The high ambient background noise generated within the production activities was a significant challenge that presented competitively to any audio produced from the project audio system. This noise competition was outside of our control. In some instances, within extremely high ambient areas, it was simply not possible nor sensible to add further competitive audio. However, for the vast majority of the production areas we were able to strategically identify and install loud speakers close to staff work stations and workplace activity areas, increasing overall audibility and sound quality.