Machining and fabrication equipment in workplaces



Increasingly well-developed workplace acoustic standards have resulted in more consistent outcomes across projects and normalized occupant expectations of acoustic quality, enhancing productivity and satisfaction. Yet these standards are often not developed for or applied to R&D and manufacturing spaces that include traditional workplace room types and uses; design criteria is limited to OSHA-assessment for noise-at-work violations. Hybrid office buildings incorporating prototyping and maker spaces are common today and often contain high-noise equipment traditionally found in dedicated machine shops.

As these facilities are incorporated alongside traditional offices, noise and vibration levels generated by fabrication equipment should be accurately quantified to avoid compromised workplace acoustics. While sound data is available for most large construction equipment, available data for smaller fabrication machines typically found in machine shops is often non-standardized and difficult to obtain.

Field measurement of existing equipment installations can ground an acoustical analysis with real-world data and be highly valuable in evaluating potential noise and vibration impacts and applying cost-effective mitigation during design. This case study will present measurements obtained during a noise and vibration assessment of an existing machine shop located within an office building. The discussion will include limitations of the data and an assessment of potential for disruptions.