Industrial fans are pretty basic pieces of machinery, as are the industrial fan blades attached to it. In fact, the biggest difference between industrial and residential fans, besides the application, is the quality of the materials and components that are used to manufacture the fan.
Not surprisingly, industrial fans are manufactured with more robust and generally higher quality materials than their lower cost residential cousins. The service environment that industrial fans are called to operate in necessitate this difference in quality. Not every industrial environment is corrosive or abrasive, just like not every residential application is spotlessly clean. However, the industrial fan will generally be called upon to work harder and longer than a lightweight residential fan.
Price is an Important Factor
Residential fan buyers are generally unwilling to pay for the extra quality that goes into an industrial grade fan. Plastic parts are good enough, and if the product breaks down, full replacement is affordable. The motor of the industrial grade fan is another difference. In both cases, the motor may burn out if it is allowed to be overused or get dirty (dirty blades contribute to overloading and motor burnout). It is easier and cheaper to replace the entire unit with a residential fan, yet should the motor of an industrial grade fan burn out, it is often repairable by replacing components such as bearings, bushings, windings or brushes.
Industrial fan blades, like the types that Custom Fans supplies, are a common replacement part. Blades are vulnerable damage in an industrial environment, so a replacement makes good economic sense when the rest of the unit is in good shape. Many industrial fans are custom made for their application, therefore manufacturers embrace modular construction. This means that if a fan is in otherwise good shape, but the purpose for which it was purchased has changed, the motor and mounting hardware can often be salvaged and used with new blades, saving money for the business owner in the long run.
Industrial Fan Blade Considerations
Industrial fan blades are usually made of steel, although there are cast or fabricated aluminium and stainless steel blades available. Plastic blades are generally only available for residential and commercial grade fans, although fibreglass blades may be called upon for use in a corrosive industrial environment.
It is usually possible to unbolt the individual blades from the common hub of an industrial fan for replacement. It is generally not considered to be best practice to replace blades individually. Especially in the case of high speed fans, replacing the entire blade set helps to ensure that the balance of the fan is maintained. Although weight differences between old and new blades may be imperceptible, minor differences may contribute to shaft wobble. This can shorten the life of the fan motor.
The impellers for centrifugal fans, or “blower wheels”, are generally replaceable as well. Their high operational speed and the fact that they are often designed to fit specific housings often mean that the original manufacturer is usually the only option for blower wheel replacement. Forward curved multi-vane type blower wheels are an exception. Also known as “Squirrel cage” fans, common enough in HVAC use that it may be possible to find a replacement from sources other than OEM. IF you are looking for industrial fans blades or fans in general, Custom Fans of Australia would be happy to help you.