Industrial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVACs) keep residential, commercial, and workplace environments comfortable and healthy. However, in many industrial settings, the ability to control things like humidity, temperature, filtration, and pressure is also critical to equipment performance and product quality. This often calls for specialized HVAC solutions.

Here, we’ll look at the importance of creating and maintaining a precise relative humidity, the reasons most standard HVAC units are not well-suited to the job, and what a custom, specialized HVAC unit can offer.

The Importance of Precise Humidity Control in Various Industries

Humidity is the amount of water vapor present in the air. When it comes to controlling humidity in a particular environment, the focus is on relative humidity, which refers to the average amount of humidity in a given area expressed as a percentage.

Uncontrolled humidity can be detrimental for business and productivity. Industrial and manufacturing settings often have specifications for operating conditions and product quality, and these can be affected by relative humidity levels. Creating and holding relative humidity within tolerances is a large part of maintaining a proper environment.

Humidity can be too high or too low for optimal operating conditions. If humidity is too low, static buildup and discharge occurs, which can damage electronics. Very low humidity can also cause organic products and materials like wood, food, pharmaceuticals, or plastics to become dry and brittle or crack. Humidity that is too high can lead to damaging condensation, corrosion, material swelling, and delamination of materials. It may also permit the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew and can lead to product or ingredient spoilage.

Many industries require humidity control systems:

  • Aerospace: Maintaining optimal conditions of a rocket or its payload is critical. Many applications require specialized conditions including cleanroom-level control during transit or very low dew points during fueling (such as desiccant dehumidification to -22°C).
  • Electronics: Avoiding excessive dryness and maintaining appropriate relative humidity levels to protect sensitive electronic components from electrostatic discharge (i.e., static electricity), de-soldering, and brittleness.
  • Healthcare: When storing sterilized healthcare equipment, it is important to maintain temperatures and humidity levels that discourage the growth of pathogens and mold.
  • Pharmaceutical : USDA regulations state that pharmaceutical need to be carefully monitored to maintain an optimal environmental with relative humidity conditions below 60%.
  • Semiconductor: Humidity control is critical in semiconductor development and fabrication. Depending on the environment, manufactures might require wet/near saturation or dry/trace moisture environments to ensure the semiconductor materials don’t degrade.

Controlling Humidity With Specialized HVAC Systems

While a standard HVAC system will provide some degree of humidity control by cooling and drying the air, the results can be imprecise or inconsistent. Standard units are often designed to regulate temperature, and while that will aid in drying humid air, once the desired temperature is reached the unit stops running, even if the humidity level is still too high. It’s also not possible to control humidity well during heating cycles. Standard systems are not efficient at creating very high or very low humidity levels for specialized applications.

Specialized HVACs

For mission-critical applications and settings requiring precise relative humidity levels within tight tolerances, a specialized HVAC system is the better choice. There are different types of specialized HVAC systems for different environments and operations, and these can be customized to create the needed environment.

A specialized HVAC system can be designed to control factors like temperature and humidity independently to obtain the critical specifications for the application. Depending on the requirements, these systems may include a desiccant unit to create a very low-humidity environment or a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Additionally, specialized units can also be modified for extra filtration for cleanroom and other strictly controlled work areas, UV or saltwater-resistant components, small and portable designs, and more. Specialized HVAC units are also capable of holding tight tolerances for temperature and relative humidity.

Specialized HVAC Units and Humidity Control Systems From Air Innovations

At Air Innovations, we provide specialized HVAC systems (also called environmental control systems) designed to meet the unique requirements of varied industrial applications. Units can be customized for independent control over humidity, temperature, filtration, pressure, and ventilation in different settings to achieve critical specifications within tight tolerances. Our systems can be customized to control areas from trace moisture to 85% RH with tolerances as precise as ±0.5% RH.

Contact Our Specialists for Premium Humidity Control Solutions

Highly specialized industry applications and operations call for specialized HVAC systems. Air Innovations is a leader in designing and building custom systems to accomplish goals that standard and off-the-shelf solutions can’t.

Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities or to request a quote.