As plants are likely to attest, reliable mechanical draft fans underpin optimal operation uptime. That reliability keeps production, and revenue, rolling. But there’s something to be said about a good fan installation: it’s the key that is too often overlooked. With multiple moving parts, fan installations account for more than just the fan by itself—ductwork, installation procedures, operations, and maintenance all mix into a well-executed installation.
What It Takes: The Prep
For starters, proper fan installation doesn’t begin at the end point of installation or once it’s installed. There’s much more that goes in beforehand to ensure a fully finished product, especially if you want a well-fitted, healthy, and optimized fan.
A number of metrics, including volumetric flow rate, system resistance, and static pressure parameters, need to be assessed in order to accurately “right-size” a fan. In fact, correct sizing is no maybe—it’s a must. Under-sized fans can cap production at a certain rate, while over-sized ones risk inefficiency and future operational stalls. The importance of correct performance requirement calculations can’t be overstated.
What It Takes: The Parts
As said, installation carries multiple moving parts. One of those is blade choice. Different applications warrant different blade designs, and a number of considerations can factor into the right choice—including operation efficiency, temperature, reliability, dust loading capacity, gas makeup, and more. Depending on your operation efficiency goals, the right blade may cost more up front—but reap immense return on investment in less energy usage and operational costs later on.
On the whole, clean fans trend toward airfoil designs or backward curved designs nowadays. But fan design considerations change as dust loading picks up. When dust loading ranges from low to medium, fan design diversifies to backward curved, backward inclined, or radial tip designs. Dust loads in moderate to high quantities typically call for radial tip or radial blade designs, but that’s not always the case.
What It Takes: The Process
To ensure that a fan installation goes smoothly, the equipment should undergo a thorough inspection and analysis. Finite element analysis, courtesy of modern-day industry technology, fits the bill. This analysis method pinpoints possible equipment stresses and allows for design tweaks accordingly. It also excels at reliably forecasting a rotor’s operational lifespan. When coupled with computation fluid dynamics (CFD), key indicators for prime fan installation, i.e. performance and operation life, can be confirmed—and adverse system effects reduced.
After initial analysis and engineering, fabrication enters in. Fan casing, for all its seeming complexity, crops up to intricate ductwork in practicality. With the importance of centrifugal forces, rotating assembly is a much more involved piece in the fabrication framework. And solidly designed inlet and outlet duct arrangements also play into a proper fan installation overall. Tests should ensue to ensure equipment quality control standards; static and dynamic balancing of the rotating assembly normally bookends fabrication.
As installation happens, installers need to practice precise compliance with installation drawings and manuals. If off the mark, this could contribute to poor fan performance in the future.
Final fan construction doesn’t signal an end to fan installation. Ongoing up-to-code operation, diagnostics, and maintenance are essential in maintaining a long operational fan life. Document fan level changes (motor vibration, bearing temperatures, etc.) and lookout for the warnings of a fan in decline. If caught early enough, the fan may be saved, which could end up saving your plant all the more. There’s much to be said about routine maintenance—and it’s the final key to a good fan installation.
How ProcessBarron Goes Above and Beyond
Little doubt exists that a good fan installation extends past equipment. It’s a well-designed mixture of moving parts, from manufacturing to maintenance. ProcessBarron has made a name for itself as an industry leader in industrial fan production, installation, and upkeep. Put our expertise to excellent use for you—and keep your fan functioning longer. Request a quote, get in touch with a qualified professional, and track ongoing and upcoming industry trends with us.