axial fans int "elevating the standards of the fan industry while maintaining the highest levels of corporate social responsability."

Research & development

Finite Element (FE) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) packages are engineering tools that only initiate the design process for new product development. The real challenge begins when unique testing programs are required to validate what the tools had predicted.
The two main testing categories for fan development are:

• Structural Destructive Testing which includes both individual blade component fatigue tests and complete blade fatigue tests

• Aerodynamic Testing to generate the actual fan performance curves to determine the true operating loads that act on the individual fan components in both normal and extreme conditions.

The specialized equipment required to perform these tests is not commercially available and, therefore must be custom designed for the specific application. The knowledge and experience of the Axial Fans team is essential in not only developing these next generation fan designs but also the custom test equipment is required to validate them to heightened industry standards.
The Axial Fans Int. research and development team has designed and built the following equipment:

Wind tunnel

Wind tunnel

The aerodynamic performance of the fan is determined on a custom designed 10 foot diameter wind tunnel. A 75 hp (55 kW), Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) controlled electrical motor powers the fan and allows infinite air speed control.
The air pressure resistance can be precisely regulated with a high degree of repeatability. The following instrumentation is used to measure the relevant fan performance parameters:

• air flow – 20 vane anemometers;

• static pressure – 8 wall pressure sensors;

• total pressure – 20 pitot tubes;

• fan rpm – proximity sensor probe;

• torque – torque meter;

plus a weather station for ambient pressure, temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction. In addition, strain gages for stress and strain measurements at various locations on the fan are required.

All sensors are connected to a continuous data acquisition system that records the easurements and transmits them via wire or wireless technology to a database where they are interrogated, stored, and analyzed. Graphs or tables can be directly generated with an internally developed software.

Fatigue test machine

Fatigue test machine

The fatigue testing machine determines the fatigue behavior of either a full size complete blade or an individual blade component. Static, alternating, or a combination of both loads can be applied and investigated. The amplitudes of these loads can be independently and precisely set. A VFD controlled, 60 HP (45 kW) electrical motor drives the fatigue testing machine, allowing precise regulation of the frequency of the applied loads between a range of 0 to 86 Hz. Centrifugal loads can also be applied to complete the simulation of fan blades under realistic operating conditions.
A special clamping system has been designed to allow concurrent testing of up to three large chord 6m long blades. A state of the art data acquisition system allows for quick setup and reporting of test parameters.

14 foot diameter fan test rig

14 foot diameter fan test rig

Actual fan operating characteristics are verified and documented in a test rig simulating a forced draft heat exchanger equipped with a 14 foot diameter fan. The duty point of the fan can be adjusted over a wide range of pressures and airflows.

Precise regulation of the system’s air pressure losses yields accurate and repeatable results.
A 75 HP (55kw) variable speed controlled electrical motor allows speed control from zero to the maximum RPM. Test equipment including torque meter, wall pressure probes, vane anemometers, strain gages and proximity probes measure all relevant parameters. All measurements are collected by the data acquisition system specifically developed to record,
store, analyze, and report all fan testing data.

Vibration test table

Vibration test table

The natural frequencies of a blade and/or blade components are determined on the vibration table. Special fixtures are used to restrain the developed components and facilitate rapid change overs. A variable speed electric motor drives the table and allows the investigation of excitation frequencies from 0 to 50 Hz. Strain gages measure and provide feedback of the stress levels within the tested sample. Continuous monitoring system allows the remote control of the test.

This research facility and it’s equipment are continually evaluated and updated to maintain the state of the art performance that this industry is now requiring. Several advancements developed within this test facility are already in the process of being patented.

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