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Justification for Air Conditioning in Tool & Die Shop

Never worked in a A/C shop ............never worked anywhere the office wasnt air conditioned.
Based on your posting history, and this is a serious question: Have you ever worked at a business you would describe as ethically upright or well run? I feel like that’s a precursor to shop AC on Maslow’s hierarchy of shop needs.
 
My experience of A/C in buildings not designed for it is one person freezes while another pours sweat due to the slow air movement .........dead spaces with no movement ,and cold draughts beside outlets.........Personally ,I hate A/C because it gives me sinus problems ........dont have A/C in my car ,or home ......I hate it.
 
Temperature plays a critical role in being able to ACCURATELY measure and machine parts, particularly if they are longer parts. From the objective standpoint climate control becomes "a thing" if you move into tight tolerance work.

Employee comfort cannot be underestimated. I started in this industry as an unskilled CNC Operator, working in a large building with a bunch of CNC machines. No air conditioning. During the summertime that building would top 112 degrees, my recollection of the extreme was 115 degrees. To say that was miserable for 10 to 12 hours would be an understatement, with every bit of clothing SOAKED with sweat like I had stepped out of a shower fully clothed.
 
Hello All,

I have recently been promoted to plant manager of a tool and die shop. We make tooling for cold forming currently and working on venturing outside of this. I have been tasked to present ideas to our owners on things to help morale/employee engagement. For years everyone has begged for air conditioning/climate control. I have worked at other tool and die shops that were climate controlled. I have to justify exactly why air conditioning would help (outside of employee comfort). Anyone have data or information they can share on this?

Thanks!
I served my apprenticeship from 1980 - 1984. About 1982 they put in air conditioning. I asked the plant manager why he was air conditioning the shop and he said that he could not hire or retain tool and die makers if the shop was not air conditioned. Times have changed and in my operation, we try to keep the temperature at 74 and humidity to about 30%. It makes sense.
 
I A/C my shop in the 90's , Production went up 30-40% in the 95 degree weather and the some employees came in @1/2 hour early to get out of the heat . I brought in @ 2k of fresh air and A/C it and vented the hot air out the ceiling vents ( positive air pressure system).

I use a 10 ton air conditioner to cool 8k sq feet and 10 people and their machines @10-15 hp each. Hot air rises cool air sinks . Who cares if the ceiling is 110 degrees, while the working
area is 70 degrees. Cost @ 10 bucks a hour to get back 30% of shop rate - No Brain-er

Jim
 
For what it's worth, in my "mis-spent" youth I worked summers for a big automotive company that made diesel fuel injectors and hydraulic lifters. The plant was large but it was air conditioned because they could not hold the required machining tolerance without the temperature control. They did use their own diesel engines to run the compressors because they could also accumulate test hours on the engines. During the hot and humid summer days it was a treat to go to work! In truth, I suspect the plant management thought the happy employees was a side benefit and the main issue was machining parts to acceptable tolerances. BTW it was a UAW union shop.
 
They say first you get good, then you get fast, then gouchiness sets in! I can confirm after 40 years in this trade it's very true. No one can stand to be in the same shop with me without keeping the shop a reasonable temperature. I had heat stroke down south several years ago and ever since then I can't take the heat. That's why I'm back in Ohio from South Carolina. Loved the Carolina's but too hot for me. I put in a new A/C unit last year to keep the humidity and temp. down and our steel and tools do not rust here. I don't know how you keep your stuff from rusting without A/C to control the humidity. We don't open the big doors on nice days if the humidity is up. Our rule is we always check the humidity outside before opening the big doors. Of course we open them for deliveries but they get shut asap after loading or unloading. For sure anything you can do to make the work environment more comfortable will affect productivity in a good way.
 
I worked at a tool and die shop in Buffalo NY for a short time.
The shop bathroom had NEVER been cleaned.
There was poop on the toilet, on the walls, on the floor.
Everywhere poop. So everyone had a poop chair. It was
like a plastic chair with a hole in the seat, like for older people
who need to sit higher above the toilet because they can't
get up from such a low seat. Everyone had a poop chair
from Wal Mart. Machinists would bring their poop chair into
the bathroom when they needed to take a number two.
Freaking nasty. Also, this place, no one was allowed to talk.
No talking. Period. Unless you spoke to the owner or his
idiot son, no talking. You were strongly reprimanded if you
talked to anyone. Even, "Hey Bob, can I use your edge finder",
was cracked down upon immediately.
But the owner's daughter who kept books had her own spotless
bathroom.

-Doozer
Sounds like a paradise for an OSHA inspector. IF the crappers are that bad I'm betting they never heard of a belt guard or electrical maintenance. 1-Phone call would have closed then down for good.
 
Several reasons come to mind. As workers get older heat stress can cause medical issues. Air conditioning can reduce corrosion. If you use the shop as a sales tool, customers will not be in as much a hurry to leave. Last, if the company plans on staying in business it will have to hire younger people. Turnover will be high without A/C.
 
I had heat stroke down south several years ago and ever since then I can't take the heat.
I had a similar issue. I used to love the heat growing up, then got a job powder coating trailers. The booth was constantly sucking air from the oven, and the suit added an extra layer of heat. Trailers would bind up in the giant oven and I would have to walk in with my pokey stick and get things moving again. I left that job after three months.

Ever since that job I cannot tolerate heat. Anything above 65 is miserable. I want to work in 55 degrees and sleep in 45 degrees.
 
This is not enough message from the floor????
Outside of the machines and that all temp control stuff have you ever heard the saying..."Happy wife, happy life"?
Yes A/C is expensive. The same as heat for me in the wintertime. I sort of think a furnace in the shop is important when there is snow.
I have worked in a couple of Cleveland Area shops where not only there was no A/C but there was there was no heat in the winter. Had to put heaters in the coolant tanks..
 
Hello All,

I have recently been promoted to plant manager of a tool and die shop. We make tooling for cold forming currently and working on venturing outside of this. I have been tasked to present ideas to our owners on things to help morale/employee engagement. For years everyone has begged for air conditioning/climate control. I have worked at other tool and die shops that were climate controlled. I have to justify exactly why air conditioning would help (outside of employee comfort). Anyone have data or information they can share on this?

Thanks!
I would NOT run my shop without it you can not even think straight when you are sweating like a pig not only that if you are trying to hold close tolerances it can affect things. Lastly your CNC equipment is not happy running in 95 degree temps. If you ask me it is an absolute must. No way I am having my guys working in insane temps.
 
Hello All,

I have recently been promoted to plant manager of a tool and die shop. We make tooling for cold forming currently and working on venturing outside of this. I have been tasked to present ideas to our owners on things to help morale/employee engagement. For years everyone has begged for air conditioning/climate control. I have worked at other tool and die shops that were climate controlled. I have to justify exactly why air conditioning would help (outside of employee comfort). Anyone have data or information they can share on this?

Thanks!
GH,
I own an Automotive Machine Shop. When I moved into my present location in 2000 I decided to put AC in the shop. It is absolutely the best thing I have ever done. Besides the comfort level it keeps all of the parts that I am working on at a constant temperature. Automotive engine block bores can easily change size by .001" or more from say 55 degrees and 80 degrees. I am sure some of the parts you are making have to be held to closer tolerances.

And even though you said "outside of employee comfort" I bet the productivity ($$$$) would go up.

I dont know how large your facility is but mine is 1800 sq ft and if I had to guess I would say the AC adds about $150 to the monthly electric bill. I am in the Washington DC area.

I simply cannot imagine not having it.
 
Hello All,

I have recently been promoted to plant manager of a tool and die shop. We make tooling for cold forming currently and working on venturing outside of this. I have been tasked to present ideas to our owners on things to help morale/employee engagement. For years everyone has begged for air conditioning/climate control. I have worked at other tool and die shops that were climate controlled. I have to justify exactly why air conditioning would help (outside of employee comfort). Anyone have data or information they can share on this?

Thanks!
Our shop, (10,000 sq/ft) just went live with new HVAC 11/2023. July 2022 was one of the hottest that I can remember, and I've been doing this for well over 50 years. Cost was over 175K for 37 tons of capacity, and due to supply issues we missed summer of 2023 as a "go live" date. I'd do it over in a heart beat, even at 200K.
We run lights out with multi axis machining centers. Almost immediately we saw a substantial improvement in dimensional stability, even in the winter. Part quality greatly improved, both finish and dimensionally, leading to less scrap (not that it was that bad to begin with) tool, and live tool life, coolant and machine performance. I knew that part quality would get better, but never imagined this much. In a nut shell, morale, productivity, and attendance will improve, (see the graph further down the posts), and I already mentioned part quality. Added bonuses are your shop becomes more attractive to top notch people, and customers will be more inclined to pick climate controlled shops due to the better part quality. To me it's a no brainer. Management would invest capitol in a machine tool that reduces cycle time by a considerable amount in a heart beat. There's really no difference other than the positive message it sends to your employees.
 
Hello All,

I have recently been promoted to plant manager of a tool and die shop. We make tooling for cold forming currently and working on venturing outside of this. I have been tasked to present ideas to our owners on things to help morale/employee engagement. For years everyone has begged for air conditioning/climate control. I have worked at other tool and die shops that were climate controlled. I have to justify exactly why air conditioning would help (outside of employee comfort). Anyone have data or information they can share on this?

Thanks!

A shop I worked at in South Carolina had "temperature cap" that once the inside of the shop reached 80 degrees, we could run the AC. Which really was not that bad, the building has good exhaust fans to keep the air moving and typically the AC was turned on by 11am in the summer months. There's that idea, only run it when needed.
 








 
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