Would Your Plant Benefit from Axial Fans?
Every factory or plant owner has a responsibility to ensure that they maintain a healthy and productive working environment. In such settings, indoor air quality can be a source of particular concern for plant managers, which means that they need to enact solutions to keep air quality up; particularly if they are working with hazardous gasses or fibres.
In such settings, ventilation systems that are not only efficient but cost-effective, need to be put in place to improve safety, improve air quality and to offer an overall level of protection for the facility and its personnel.
While there are a number of extraction solutions on the market that can deliver results, one of the most popular choices between them, for factory owners, come in the form of axial fans.
But what are they, how do they work, and how can they benefit your facility? We will explore these details and more in this article.
To do this we will begin with a fairly broad definition of what axial fans are, we will take a look at the most common examples of them, see how they are used in an industrial setting and will outline some of the top benefits to using them.
So, let’s get started:
What are Axial Fans?
Axial fans are often confused with centrifugal ones, but they have one or two key design differences that make them function in a completely different way.
Where centrifugal fans increase the air pressure as the fan wheel spins up (to create airflow), axial fans are able to create flow in much larger volumes of air, without any dramatic change in air pressure.
This key difference sets the two apart substantially, rendering each fit for different scenarios.
Axial fans create airflow using a relatively low input, which is how they keep a stable level of air pressure. When in operation, air passes through the blades at an axial angle to the fan wheel, from where it is forced out on the other side in the same direction.
The difference between the types of airflow created by centrifugal and axial fans can be classed as either axial or radial airflow. While axial airflow travels at the same angle of the fan wheel, radial air produced by centrifugal fans travels in an almost circular direction, which can account for the increase in air pressure.
For an example of the difference between the two, consider the design of the blades on a jet engine, which can be compared to any other axial design; while centrifugal fans are more reminiscent of a standard desk fan in your home.
Different Types of Axial Fans
Having said that, these fans come in a variety of types, each better suited to certain applications than others. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since the basic design of an axial fan can be modified in many different ways, to serve a variety of different needs.
Some are specifically adept at heat transfer, others are ideal for removing toxic air, while others are the best used to cool internal spaces.
Let’s have a look at a few different types here:
Axial Duct Fans
Axial duct fans stand-alone, generally requiring no wall mounts. They come in a variety of sizes depending on the needs of those who use them, ranging between 25cm and 80cm.
These are designed to move fairly large volumes of air, with the smallest of them achieving 840m3/hr, and larger ones going up to 30000m3 of air per hour.
Typically, they only come with a front grill, but they can also be obtained with the addition of a rear grill or swing stand.
This, in turn, gives them a certain degree of portability, especially thanks to their relatively low power requirements.
Axial duct fans are most commonly used for extracting impurities or harmful substances from internal spaces, however, they are also effective for heat transfer and cooling.
Steel Roof Axial Fans
Steel roof axial fans are commonly found in high-temperature situations, particularly restaurant kitchens.
But they also have their uses in factories, offices and even homes.
These types of fans are designed to extract heat out of indoor spaces, from where it can escape through the ceiling safely.
They also come in a range of sizes and power requirements depending on your needs. Since these fans are mounted to the roof, they need to have a degree of weatherproofing in place.
Because of this, the fan itself is encased in steel, while being applied with a weatherproof polymer coating or rain cowl.
As an added note to the adaptability of the axial design, an axial fan can be converted into a roof one.
Portable ventilators take a similar design to the axial duct fans mentioned above, albeit with a few added features to ensure that it is fully portable and can be used across facilities with relative ease.
Like duct fans, they also move large volumes of air with relative ease, but unlike duct fans, portable ventilators have far lower requirements with regards to input power, requiring just 220v.
To further improve on the portability, these fans also come fitted with a foot stand and handle, as well as both front and rear grills. These make them easy to move from place to place, where they can be set up for temporary operations.
Man-Cooler Axial Fans
Man-coolers also take a similar design to portable ventilators, but they do so with substantially less pressure at just between 195pa and 245pa.
They also offer more variable voltage at between 220V and 380V depending on design and usage.
Since these are designed for both comfort and portability (as their name suggests), and to do this, they don’t only come with wheel stands and front or rear grills, but also an adjustable angle to ensure maximum efficiency.
Common Uses for Axial Fans
With the description of axial fans and their various types out of the way, let’s take a look at why facilities would choose to invest in them.
They have a number of crucial uses, especially when applied to industrial settings where careful air quality and flow control need to be maintained consistently.
These different uses include extracting contaminated air from indoor spaces, allowing fresh air into those spaces, allowing for the transfer of heat outside of internal spaces, while also simply cooling them.
As you go through these, please bear in mind that axial fans are not necessarily designed to perform all of these functions at once, but is rather dependant on the needs of the environment they operate in.
Let’s take a closer look at each:
Industrial facilities, particularly those in the petrochemical fields, are characterised by the harmful substances that they work with and produce. While great lengths can be taken to ensure that minimal amounts of these contaminants go into the air, there is always a chance that this will happen.
This is bad news for anybody who spends a lot of time in the facility, as these substances can produce substantial health and safety risks if not properly dealt with.
This makes extracting impurities and contaminants out of indoor air an essential task for facility safety; making the use of axial fans in these settings essential.
Even where the air is not contaminated by harmful substances, fresh air is as important to an industrial workplace as it is for people in any other environment.
On top of the function that these fans have to extract contaminants from the air, they are also widely used to bring fresh air into otherwise closed off parts of a facility.
Axial fans are commonly used for the purpose of extracting high temperatures out of working or production areas inside of a range of facilities; be they workshops, smelters or restaurants.
In such settings, maintaining ideal temperatures is important for both the health of your workforce, as well as the quality and efficiency of your operations.
Because of that, axial fans are commonly used in any work environment where heat is generated and needs to be expelled.
There is a difference to be made between the way axial fans pump hot hair out of a facility, and how they cool indoor spaces down.
By simply creating low-pressure airflow within a facility, these types of fans can effectively cool equipment and personnel (or at least maintain optimal temperatures) during operations.
They differ from centrifugal fans in the way that they do this without raising air pressure in the path of airflow, which means that they can cool without causing any potential interruptions or displacements to the workflow.
The Benefits of Axial Fans for Factories & Plants
The above functions make axial fans a pivotal part of just about any facility. Getting the right type for your needs, and from the right supplier, can bring a number of benefits to various types of factories and plants.
These benefits include reduced power costs for extraction, cooling and heat transfer when compared to other solutions that may use up more power.
They are also relatively compact for the volume of air that they can process.
Axial fans generally also have adjustable outputs to provide volumes of airflow that are suited to specific functions and settings.
And finally, axial fans are also fairly easy and cost-effective when it comes to maintenance.
Let’s explore each of these benefits in a little more detail:
Low Power Costs
Axial fans are designed to be remarkably energy efficient, which means that they can be used with very little impact on your overall running expenses.
Even the most robust examples of axial fans generally require no more than 380V of power, which is little more than the power consumption of the average home computer.
This translates to lowered expenses for your facility, especially if you have been using electronic solutions to perform similar functions in the past.
The compact design of axial fans when compared to other solutions makes them well suited to just about any type of facility, especially where available surface space is an issue.
They can be installed and integrated into a facility fairly seamlessly if handled correctly.
Many axial fans come with an adjustable output feature to manipulate the amount of airflow created when they are in use.
This is particularly helpful for those facilities that need to enact fairly strict control over indoor airflow, or for those that need to adapt due to changes in the environment, at a moment’s notice.
Axial fans are also fairly robust due to their clever design and the materials used to make them. This means that they will be able to serve your facility for an incredibly long time if they are used and looked after properly.
This also means that they require fairly small amounts of maintenance when compared to other solutions, and when maintenance is required, it can be done with relative ease, at not much of a cost, and with the benefit of an abundance of reliable spare parts that are easy to obtain.
Contact AF Fans for Details on Our Offers
If you would like to know more about how your factory or plant can benefit from having high-quality axial fans installed in your facility, be sure to get into contact with a representative from AF Fans today or visit our website for additional information on our offers.