Durable sound reduction

Roads and Infrastructure talks to Hushpak about the benefits of its original noise attenuation cladding for industrial buildings and infrastructure.

At a time when constrained layer damping was becoming popular for attenuating noise in deck plates and hulls of ships, the original owner of Hushpak Engineering came up with an innovative idea to use a polymer laminate material for cladding of buildings.

This was the origin of HushClad, high-quality noise attenuation cladding used in steel frame buildings to enable workplaces to achieve the noise limits required for their operations.

One of the first applications of HushClad was for a woodchip mill in Victoria. Hushpak installed the cladding on one of the mill buildings and the customer was very happy with the result. Since then, HushClad has been used successfully across many industries.

“In certain situations, companies have heavy machinery and processes that are inherently noisy, such as pneumatic tools, grinding or impact noise, but they are unable to do much in terms of sound reduction at the source. In those cases, HushClad can be used to bring the outside noise levels down,” says Michael Neville, Managing Director of Hushpak Engineering.

It can also be used in bespoke applications for specific machine enclosures.

“In some cases, companies don’t want to clad an entire building. If there is just a single piece of equipment that needs sound attenuation then customers can use HushClad for a specific enclosure,” Mr. Neville says.

There are two common reasons for the use of HushClad. The first is to ensure noise compliance outside an industrial building or workshop. This is environmental noise that could affect neighbours. The second is work health and safety noise, where sound from machines or processes could affect workers inside the building.

“Often in the case of enclosures inside a building, it comes down to work health and safety regulations, the customers have to make sure they are not exposing people in the building to excessive noise,” Mr. Neville says.

One recent Hushpak client used HushClad to reduce sound escaping from a noisy process inside the workshop. The noise level could not exceed 85 decibels.

“The customer was getting around 103 decibels outside a work booth and they used HushClad to reduce the noise escaping from that process, which helped the company meet the regulations,” says Mr. Neville.

HushClad is made to fix easily onto steel frame structures, either buildings or enclosures. It screws onto the purlins or girts, as would any standard cladding.

“The beauty of HushClad is that it installs just as easily as any other product. Sometimes we get enquiries from customers that want to replace existing steel cladding with HushClad, as it has higher noise attenuation properties,” Mr. Neville says.

Installing a standard Colorbond sheet on a steel-framed building does not provide a high level of sound attenuation, he says.

Alongside the ease of installation, the weight and durability of HushClad are two features that make it stand out from other cladding products.

HushClad only weighs around eight kilograms per lineal metre. So it can usually be installed directly in place of existing cladding.

It lasts as long as the life of Colorbond steel. “Colorbond steel is a well trusted, durable material, which is popular in the industry. We know our customers can trust in it,” Mr Neville says.

HushClad is also not susceptible to vermin or wash down water and contaminants. “Other noise attenuation products have a mineral fibre or attenuation material that can be affected by these things.

As HushClad places the polymer material between two steel sheets it is not affected by wash down water or vermin and is also fire resistant,” Mr Neville says.

“If a company is considering a steel-frame building but have a potential noise problem with standard steel cladding then using HushClad may make this a viable option,“ says Mr Neville.

HushClad is available in two sound attenuation ratings. The first is HushClad Premium, which has a Sound Transmission Class of 25. The other is HushClad Ultimate, with a Sound Transmission Class of 28, which is a rating of how well it attenuates sound across a range of frequencies.

Recently, Hushpak finished replacing the original cladding on a washery building with HushClad. Mr. Neville said the customer had problems with neighbours that were complaining about noise from the washery building.

The customer is now in the process of getting an independent consultant to verify the noise levels achieved using HushClad. “In the meantime, we have been told how much quieter it is now outside the building when the plant is operating,” he says.

HushClad can also be used as a solution for rail infrastructure. “It is quite common for railway service buildings to be located in urban areas so HushClad may be a good alternative to consider for these buildings,” Mr. Neville says.

Often rail can be adjacent to residential areas so noise attenuation is critical and HushClad may be used in place of other materials like concrete or timber panels.

HushPanel is another product of Hushpak that uses HushClad to construct noise barriers next to roads or railways. HushPanel is a modular version of HushClad and is designed in easy to install panels.

Hushpak can manufacture and install HushClad for their customers and has the equipment to measure and analyse noise levels at any operation. This allows Hushpak, an Advitech Group company, to provide advice on whether the installation of HushClad will help a customer to achieve compliance.

“We can also contract someone to install HushClad, so we can supply and install it, as well as completing the testing to ensure it will achieve the right outcome,” Mr. Neville says.

“Not only can we ensure that the customer is getting the correct level of noise attenuation, but we know HushClad is a durable, corrosion-resistant and easy-to-install product. It is manufactured in Australia and has been tested in a NATA-approved acoustic testing laboratory.”

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