Process Equipment Changes and Design Evaluation of Centrifugal Fans

centrifugal fans

In cement making, a lot depends on centrifugal fans. And these fans usually rest at the center of equipment changes, once the need arises. Several factors can be at play when a plant considers a process equipment change, but a pair of reasons tend to outmatch the rest of the pack: production demands and process variable changes. But implementing equipment changes carry its share of risks, including equipment wear and breakdown. This is especially true if an expert engineering analysis doesn’t coincide with equipment swaps. 

The Pressures Plants Place on Fans

Production demands don’t exist in a vacuum all on their own. When production is ramped up, this puts pressure on process fans as well. To keep pace, fans will likely need capacity updates—with increased flow and pressure as must-haves. 

Uplifting capacity parameters for centrifugal fans can take many forms, from upping the speed or diameter of an existing fan to a new fan installation altogether, sized as demanded. The more cost-effective option, and the most common one, is to increase a fan’s diameter with extensions. This being said, there’s no all-in-one fix, and different circumstances call for different solutions. 

A caveat to process equipment changes: when improperly analyzed and tuned for production or process variation, fans can face a host of consequences. Fan operation, and lifespan, hinge on correct evaluation and engineering. With something less than correct, fan wear, and even failure, may result. For instance, when system process shake-ups occur, such as switching out materials, fans may experience material build-up on the impeller, a rise in vibration, and all-out breakdown—if not sized and calibrated perfectly. 

Design Needs To Be In Mind

Any changes in centrifugal fan design should account for consequences. A switch in rotors, for example, needs to be preceded by an evaluation of the trade-offs and aftereffects. As an example, significant rotor stress, by the square of the speed change ratio, accompanies increases in operation speeds. To ensure fan health, an element stress analysis will need to bookend rotor implementation, the analysis an indicator of overall impeller durability. Fan designers will then use the analysis to inform fan recommendations, such as stiffening or using a sturdier strength material. 

Design oversight can also occur when it comes to weight, which can devastate later on. Key fan components—bearings, motors, and couplings—need reassessment with shifts in fan rotor weight or operation speeds. Utilizing sturdier, wear-resistant materials can put excess stress on the fan impeller, especially if bearing structural load isn’t a strong suit. With all the moving parts process equipment changes entail, it’s best to call in the professionals to ensure full fan health for the long term. 

Progress Through Process Equipment Changes

Meet production demands or process variable changes in full confidence with help from ProcessBarron. Our extensive expertise in centrifugal fans, from manufacturing to maintenance, has set us up as industry leaders. We come equipped with the design and evaluation know-how for your process equipment changes—whether that’s through existing retrofits or new fan installations. Request a quote, reach out to us, and see what else we can do to keep your plant and processes running.