If any of your work takes place outdoors, your operation should include an equipment shelter to protect your hardware and provide a workspace for your employees that is protected from the elements. However, buying a new equipment shelter can quickly become overwhelming, and it’s important to have all of the information you need before making any purchases. Luckily, Tracom is here to provide you with all of the information you need to know about fiberglass shelters, so you can have a safe and productive work environment.
Why You Need An Equipment Shelter
First, it’s important to think about why you might need an equipment shelter and the ways it can help protect your operation. Whether you deal with chemicals, electronic instruments, or standard equipment, all-weather fiberglass shelters are the easiest and safest way to store your equipment, along with providing a workspace for your employees.
- Protects Your Equipment: Equipment is expensive, and leaving it outside can expose it to all kinds of hazards, from damage due to the weather to theft or accidents. Equipment shelters are an easy way to protect your equipment, so you never have to worry about unnecessary damage. Along with the protection offered by keeping your equipment inside, you can also customize your shelter to provide additional protection based on your needs.
- Safely Stores Chemicals and Sensitive Supplies: Along with standard equipment, many job sites may require you to deal with chemicals or sensitive materials that can’t be left out in the open. Equipment shelters are built to safely store these materials since they could be dangerous if not handled correctly. You can also add a ventilation system to your shelter in order to provide proper airflow and protect your employees from potentially harmful chemicals.
- Provides Workspace Shelter For Employees: One of the best reasons to buy an equipment shelter doesn’t involve equipment at all. Even more important than protecting equipment, machinery, chemicals, and supplies is protecting your employees. Your workers will need the right workspace to get the job done, and they also need protection from the elements.
When you store your machinery and equipment in a properly ventilated fiberglass shelter, you’re also giving your staff the same protection. They can work in the shelter and get out of the heat, cold, rain, wind, ice, or snow. You can improve the safety procedures of your organization.
Fiberglass Shelters vs Fiberglass Enclosures
What’s the difference between fiberglass shelters and fiberglass enclosures? While both are durable, versatile, and work to maintain the life of your equipment and tools, there are some key differences. Most importantly, fiberglass equipment enclosures are sized to fit a specific piece of equipment, while shelters are large enough for a person to stand and move around inside comfortably. Shelters are essentially buildings for equipment protection and are customizable to fit whatever type of equipment or tools you need to store, and are more multifunctional than a fiberglass enclosure. Whatever your specific needs are, Tracom shelters and enclosures are a great investment that can be used for various applications.
Benefits Of Fiberglass Shelters
While equipment shelters can be made from a variety of materials, fiberglass is the best option in nearly every situation. Unlike most materials, fiberglass shelters are resistant to damage, lightweight, and provide a quiet work environment.
- Resistant To Damage: When looking for an equipment shelter, it’s important to use a material that can withstand some damage to protect your equipment. Not only is fiberglass highly durable, it also doesn’t corrode or rust like other metal shelters. This means that you can safely place your shelter near water without damaging your equipment.
- Lightweight: In most cases, your equipment shelter will stay in the same spot for a long time. However, you may need to relocate your shelter from time to time. While most equipment shelters are heavy and hard to move, fiberglass shelters are lightweight and can easily be moved to different locations.
- Quiet: Construction sites are usually filled with noise from heavy machinery and workers, but sometimes you need a quiet workspace that is both comfortable and safe. Unlike other materials, fiberglass shelters are sound-absorbing, so the interior of the shelter can stay quiet and you can stay focused.
Types Of Fiberglass Shelters
You’ve decided that your company needs a fiberglass shelter, but what types of shelters are available? While most job sites will be fine with standard shelters, some might require more specific styles like modular shelters or pump houses.
- One Piece FRP Shelters: these are solid one-piece constructions that are easy to install, maintain, and provide lasting protection from the elements.
- Pump Houses: If you’re using a pumping station for your job site, then you should look into a fiberglass pump house. Since most pumps are located outside, they can easily be damaged by environmental factors, and be prone to freezing. A fiberglass pump house is the safest and easiest way to protect your pumping station.
Ventilation For Your Equipment Shelter
You’ve bought a fiberglass equipment shelter to protect your equipment, so now it’s time to explore your ventilation options. Normally ventilation isn’t the first thing you think about when protecting your equipment, but it’s an essential part of any good equipment shelter.
Why install ventilation?
There are several important reasons that you should install a ventilation system in your shelter. First, it makes it more comfortable for your employees, so they can safely access their equipment. This is especially true if your job site features hot or cold temperatures.
Another important reason is that some equipment or chemicals might release harmful gases into the air. To protect your employees, it’s important to have proper airflow in your shelter, so your employees aren’t subjected to harmful fumes.
Methods of Shelter Ventilation
At Tracom, we supply plenty of options for your ventilation needs including active, passive, and hybrid systems.
- Active: Active ventilation is the most common technique for venting shelters. This system typically works by mounting an exhaust fan near the ceiling and placing an intake shutter near the floor. The exhaust fan pushes out the hot air in the shelter, while the intake shutter brings in cool air. For the workers’ safety, a control system is usually located on the outside of the shelter.
- Passive: If you aren’t storing chemicals in your shelter or don’t have to worry about overheating issues, then passive ventilation may be the best option for you. Passive vents work by using manual shutters, so you can control the natural air flow. Along with an easy set-up, passive vents have a few major advantages compared to active vents. Passive vents are more cost effective and don’t require an outside power source to operate, so they can be used for any shelter.
- Hybrid: If you don’t think active or passive vents are the right choice for you, then hybrid vents offer the best of both options. Hybrid ventilation uses the wind as a power source, so you can have the benefits of an active system without needing an external power source. Hybrid vents also allow you to manually control how much air is exhausted from your shed, so you can have full control over your ventilation system.
Types of Shelter Ventilation
Now that you know about active, passive, and hybrid ventilation, it’s time to find the vent that will work best for your equipment shelter. Some of the most common vent types include fixed, door, solar, and adjustable vents.
- Fixed Vents: Fixed vents are the easiest and most common type of ventilation available. Typically, each equipment shelter contains two fixed vents placed on the upper walls with an array of slits that allow air to travel while keeping other debris out. Some fixed vents come with insect screens or rainproof guards to provide additional protection.
- Door Vents: If your shed doesn’t have much space or you need to hang equipment on the walls, then you might want to get a door vent. Like fixed vents, door vents have slits that allow air to flow through the shelter while also offering options for insect screens and rainproof guards. By placing these vents near the bottom of the door, it allows you to use all of the space inside of the shed without worrying about where to place a vent.
- Solar Vents: If you’re looking for a hybrid vent, then you might be interested in solar options. As long as your shelter receives six hours of sunlight per day, solar is a great option for you, since you won’t need to rely on exterior power sources. Keep in mind that snow or other obstacles could cover the solar panels, so you need to keep them clear of all debris.
- Adjustable Vents: If you’re looking for a ventilation system that you can control depending on the situation, then you may be interested in adjustable vents. These vents allow you to manually open or close your vents using a tab located on the inside or outside of the equipment shelter.
- Adjustable Shutters: Adjustable shutters are essentially larger versions of adjustable vents.
They feature larger openings to allow more airflow when they’re open. Adjustable shutters aren’t waterproof on their own though, so it’s important to look into hoods that can redirect the rain away from the open vents.
Equipment Shelter Door Types
Now that you have your equipment shelter and your ventilation system, the next step is finding the right door for your shelter. This may seem like an obvious decision, but there are actually several options that need to be considered depending on your needs. Choosing the right door option is a vital part of the functionality of your equipment shelter.
- Single Door: This is the standard option when it comes to equipment shelter doors. A single door can come in an array of sizes to fit the needs of your application and is typically mounted with a durable strap hinge to provide stability in all weather and work conditions.
- Double Doors: Most shelters come with standard single doors, but if you will need to move large equipment in and out of your equipment shed, then you may want to look into double doors. These provide a wider opening to work with for increased functionality no matter the application.
- Piano Hinges: Unlike the hinges on the usual home or office doors, a piano hinge runs the entire length of the door frame, equally distributing the weight of the door. This eliminates the need to install reinforcements on the door, further saving space inside the shelter.
- Strap Hinges: When choosing a door for your fiberglass shelter, it’s also important to choose the right door hinge. If you plan on sticking to a standard single door, then a strap hinge will probably be the best option for you. Strap hinges provide extra stability, which makes them ideal for smaller doors.
Upgrades For Your Shelter
The last step to finding the perfect fiberglass shelter for your site is customizing the shelter with a few potential accessories. While these upgrades may not be necessary for you, they could offer helpful features depending on your site. The most important accessories to consider are heating/air conditioning and lighting options.
- Heating/Air Conditioning: While a good ventilation system is necessary, you may also want to consider a heating or air conditioning system. Depending on the location and the time of year, you could be dealing with extreme cold, so having a heating system and good insulation in your equipment shelter could provide a much more comfortable workspace for your employees. On the other hand, if you’re working in a hot environment, your employees may want a workspace with air conditioning.
- Lighting: If you need to perform work at night, then you’ll likely need good lighting in and around your shelter, so you can perform your work effectively and safely. You may also want to consider exterior lighting in order to properly light your workspace. On top of that, your shelter can also be equipped with motion-activated exterior lights, which could scare away possible intruders.
Tracom is the Leading Fiberglass Shelter Supplier
Now that you’ve learned more about fiberglass shelters and the customization options available, the only thing left to do is buying your own equipment shelter. Tracom is the leading FRP product company, and we want to work with you to provide the perfect fiberglass shelter for your needs. We also provide a variety of other products, such as weir boxes and flumes. For more information, call us at 1-877-435-8637.