If you think that the quality of air inside any four walls is better than the air outside, then these statistics will surely change your mind:
- Out of 7 million premature deaths, indoor air pollution is responsible for 3.8 million of them.
- According to EPA, air pollutants indoors can be 2 to 5 times, and occasionally 100 times higher than outside levels.
This makes indoor air pollution one of the leading causes of death globally. Also, since most people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, the increasing air pollutants level indoors is a major social concern.
Additionally, particulate matter and other pollutants found in the air inside any building cause severe respiratory ailments such as asthma, cancer, and respiratory inflammation. Moreover, low air quality in an industrial premise reduces the efficiency of workers and their ability to follow guidelines or process vital information.
With air quality monitoring systems (AQMS), the quality of air in any room or enclosed area can be monitored and controlled. As industries are subjected more to air pollutants due to the use of various harmful gases and production of tiny particles in them, the installation of indoor air quality monitoring systems is a must in industries.
Why is Indoor AQMS Important in Industries?
According to EPA, poor indoor air quality affects one-third to half of the commercial buildings in the US. And the effects of the toxic working environment arenâ€™t getting unnoticed. More than 24% of workers in the US have reported air quality problems in their workplace and more than 20% of the workers believe that the poor air quality hampers their productivity.
Moreover, as per a census, more than 10 million workdays are lost every year due to illness caused due to poor air quality in industrial premises. Hence, controlling the quality of air is important in companies to ensure that the efficiency of workers doesnâ€™t drop, keeping the productivity at a maximum.
With the help of AQMS and other similar systems, the quality of air in any enclosed facility can be monitored and controlled in real-time. All air quality parameters like ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, etc. can be measured and effective steps can hence be taken to condition it as per requirement.
Using the Technology of IoT for Indoors AQMS:
Internet of Things with its wireless infrastructure and advanced telemetric features is one of the most influential technology in the current era. Its application in vivid applications has allowed industries to optimize their on-floor activities, enhance decision-making processes, support supply chain, and increase overall production. These advantages are ushering the fourth industrial revolution, allowing companies to become intelligent.
In the field of air quality monitoring as well, the technology is empowering the development of smart indoor AQMS systems. These systems allow monitoring of air quality in a facility from any remote location in real-time. By using wireless, battery-powered, and easy to deploy sensors, air quality parameters along with other variables such as wind speed & its direction, weather parameters, temperature, and humidity can also be monitored.
These IoT powered air monitoring solutions allow companies to garner different benefits. Letâ€™s look at some of them:
Improved Worker Safety and Performance:
As discussed above, good quality of air is rudimental for effective workers' performance. Especially in manufacturing units that use harmful gases for producing various goods, the use of AQMS systems is a must to ensure optimum workerâ€™s safety and performance.
In case these toxic gas leaks, their increased concentration in an enclosed facility can cause breathing difficulties, lung diseases, and even death due to asphyxiation. The IoT powered air quality monitoring system can detect the presence of such harmful gases and share the alert about their leaks to the company as soon as its concentration goes up the permissible limits. This helps in immediately rolling-out evacuation measures and inspection procedures to vacate the affected premises and identify leaks respectively.
This helps in saving lives in case of a catastrophe. But what about the comfort and performance of employees. Temperature and humidity are important elements of air quality that even though donâ€™t affect the health of the worker but surely impact their performance.
With temperature and humidity monitoring sensors, these variables inside a cabin or office can be effectively supervised allowing conditioning systems to regulate them automatically. This creates a suitable working environment for employees, which allows them to work more productively and efficiently.
Creating a Suitable Environment for Manufacturing:
Products made of metals (and sometimes non-metals too) witness a change in their properties under the influence of different factors. For instance, semiconductors at high temperatures (generally achieved by passing electricity through them) can be fabricated into diodes and transmitters under the presence of specific gases like ammonia and silane.
Hence, the appropriate concentration of such gases is required to be regulated in enclosed areas so that high-quality semiconductor wafers can be produced via gaseous diffusion.
Reducing Equipment Breakdown:
In oil and gas refineries and chemical manufacturing companies as well, highly flammable gases are produced that ignite quickly under the influence of high temperatures. Their leakage can hence be dangerous for nearby workers and can also damage nearby equipment and apparatus after they combust due to an igniting medium.
The AQMS system can detect the presence of such combustible gases in the air and warn the authorities about impending explosions.
The air quality monitoring system hence allows monitoring of several parameters that affect the air quality index. With the integration of IoT architecture in these systems, the concentration of these variables can be monitored from any place in real-time. This helps in creating an appropriate working environment for workers, reducing breakdowns & downtime, and facilitate proper surroundings for different manufacturing processes.