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Ventilation Fans & Blowers

ICAN™ Project Photos:

Industrial ventilation blower.

Industrial ventilation blower.

Fan removing vehicle exhaust.

Fan removes vehicle exhaust.

Exhaust blower for welding smoke.

Exhaust blower removes welding smoke & fumes.

Ventilation blower connected to arm.

Ventilation blower connected to an arm.

Exhaust fan for oven heat and smoke.

Exhaust blower removes oven heat and smoke.

Application photos are used by permission of members of the Industrial Clean Air Network and are copyrighted by their respective owners. All rights reserved.

Every member of the Industrial Clean Air Network provides fans and blowers needed for industrial ventilation systems, whether for venting air outside, for capturing a dirty air stream to collect and filter the contaminants, or for moving and circulating the air. Your regional supplier also offers replacement fans for most brands of industrial dust collectors and air cleaners.

In addition, each regional air specialist is a full-service distributor with technicians experienced in providing field service for most types of industrial ventilation systems and can help you select a fan / blower that is well-matched to the job, durable, and cost-effective. If you have any questions about the optimal fan choice for your industrial ventilation requirements, please feel free to ask your ICAN air specialist.

The two major categories of industrial ventilation fans are centrifugal fans and axial fans. (See Industrial Ventilation Fan Chart for comparison of fan features and applications.)

Centrifugal Fans For Industrial Ventilation

The large category of centrifugal fans may be divided into three sub-categories: radial blade fans (also known as paddlewheel fans), forward curved fans (also known as squirrel cage fans), and three groups of backward type fans (backward inclined, backward curved, and backward airfoil).

Radial Blade Fans. The "paddlewheel" distinctive is that these are "dirty side" fans, or fans that can handle dust, debris, or chips in the airstream. Most are used for handling wood dust or chips as cyclone inlet fans, in some cases flinging the heavier wood particles into open disposal containers. Radial blade fans run at a relatively high speed, with a low efficiency. What does low efficiency of a fan mean? There is a theoretical efficiency associated with an airstream in terms of how much horsepower is required to move the air, so lower efficiency means that a greater amount of horsepower is needed to operate the fan. Radial blade fans are very noisy fans, but they are rugged -- they are not very susceptible to becoming imbalanced and they resist abrasion. Thus, they provide durable performance for material handling.

Forward Curved Fans. These are the most commonly used fans, very often used in HVAC systems. Moving high volumes of air at a low pressure, forward curved fans are also used in ambient air filtration units, often with air cleaners that have disposable filters. These fans are somewhat noisy. Examples of uses: ambient air cleaners, mist collectors, any airborne collectors. Forward curved fans are the most susceptible to becoming imbalanced, so they are not good for dirty air streams; they should always be situated on the clean (discharge) side of the collector.

Backward Type Fans. The most versatile fans, widely used over the biggest range of sizes and pressures, are backward type fans. These are the most efficient and quietest fans, and also the most widely used for industrial applications. In the middle of the range of susceptibility to becoming imbalanced, backward type fans are not as good as radial blade fans for handling dirty air streams. Backward type fans feature a wide range of flows and pressures.

The three subcategories of backward type fans are:

  • Backward Inclined (BI): Most abrasion-resistant, least expensive, excellent for use in dust collectors.
  • Backward Airfoil (BA): Quietest, most efficient, most expensive, but the lowest cost to operate.
  • Backward Curved (BC): Also abrasion-resistant, in the middle of the backward type fan range in efficiency and initial cost.
  • Axial Fans For Industrial Ventilation

    The distinguishing feature of the axial fan is that the flow is parallel to the rotating shaft. Axial fans are sometimes called propeller fans. They are used for drying applications, cooling applications, and fresh air supply (by exhausting air out, thus drawing in fresh air). Axial fans are often called "man fans" or "man-cooling fans" because they are used as area fans to cool individual workers, but they can interfere with the air patterns for whole room ventilation. Ceiling fans are also axial fans.

    Fan Selection for Industrial Ventilation

    The first thing to determine is how much flow is required and how much pressure. The biggest mistake made in selecting a fan is misjudging the needed pressure or flow, or both. Many times the required flow is known, but the pressure is not. The standard Industrial Ventilation Manual (ACGIH by ASHRAE/American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists)* may be consulted to determine the flow rate needed for ventilation of most industrial processes. The required pressure depends on plant layout, the number of collection points, and the length and diameter of the ductwork system. Many industrial dust collection duct systems require 5 to 10 inches (WC) of pressure to produce the needed collection efficiency. Please ask your ICAN air specialist if you need help in determining the pressure needed for your facility ventilation system.

    In addition to determining flow and pressure requirements, factors to consider in choosing the optimal industrial ventilation fan include:

    • Type of contaminant
    • Amount / rate of contaminant generated
    • Initial fan cost and ongoing cost of operation
    • Duct velocity

    *The newest version of the ACGIH is available through the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. An older version [1998] is available online here.

    Replacement Fans

    Your ICAN supplier can help you with servicing of most brands of industrial dust collectors and air cleaners, including replacement fans, if needed. In a few cases, wheels are custom-made for the equipment and must be ordered directly from the manufacturer. But in most cases, industrial dust collectors and air cleaners are equipped with standard fans, and your supplier can provide a fan with the same performance and specifications.

    The Industrial Clean Air Network exists to help industries and commercial interests throughout North America find local access to quality air services. ICAN™ Distributors sell, install, and service dust collectors, air cleaners, mist units, fume extractors, vehicle exhaust systems, and other industrial ventilation products. Each ICAN™ member is an independent distributor who represents various manufacturers, offers personal service, and individually guarantees air quality satisfaction to every customer. ICAN™ Distributors provide industrial air filtration equipment throughout the contiguous United States, Canada, and Mexico.