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It’s a new take on an old saw but today, energy efficiency is driving R&D in many companies involved in high energy products. Centrifugal fans, along with pumps, almost all driven by electric motors, are responsible for around 50% of the world’s energy consumption and consequently have become the focus of efficiency regulations imposed by the EU. 

Electric motors have already gone down this route and it is now the turn of centrifugal fans with the imposition of regulation EU327/2011 which has started to take effect from January 2015, with further efficiency improvements required from 2018. Although nominally EU regulations apply only across the EU, they rapidly become a de facto world standard so adherence to them becomes critical not only in Europe but paradoxically, a sales benefit for companies trading worldwide.

 

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Halifax Fan, who has had a leading consultancy role in the formulation of EU327, has gained much benefit from a strong focus on the efficiency of its fans. Sales in the SE Asian sector are up 20% this year, on top of equal growth last year and fan efficiency, this despite the world oil and petroleum sector troubles, which is an important global customer for fan companies. Improved efficiency, which implies reduced running costs, is a strong selling proposition. With energy costs rising globally, life cost is frequently a determining factor in the sales process. Of course the system into which the fan is integrated, and the means of flow control are also factors in overall efficiency and in this respect, Halifax offer a strong pre-sales consultancy to ensure that not only is the right fan chosen for the application, but that the whole system is matched for lowest life cost. 

 

Halifax has always had a strong emphasis on the efficiency of its products but work remains to be done, as the EU has applied a single standard across such a wide range. A single standard covering 125W to 500kW is somewhat impractical and has a bias to H&V and mass produced domestic products so some sub-division will be necessary. A high-volume, low-pressure fan will have a different operating characteristic to a similar sized low-volume high pressure fan. While recent IE3 to IE4 electric motor regulations imposed an efficiency improvement of a mere 1%, EU327 mandates a 10% improvement in an established technology with little scope for improvement. Compliance with EU regulations is critical before the CE mark can be appended to products and the CE mark is recognised as a badge of quality design and construction, even outside of Europe.

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To meet these challenges, Halifax Fan has strengthened its design team and now has three of the UK’s foremost fan design engineers working on fan designs in both its Brighouse and Shenzhen design facilities. Drs Ian Parker and Gareth Colley have recently been joined by Dr John Irons who has joined Halifax after many years with one of the world’s largest fan makers in Scotland. Dr Colley has been resident in Hong for over 12 months, leading the design team there and working closely with the sales teams and their customers, matching fans and systems together for best overall performance.

 

A formal 3-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership has also been 

established with The University of Huddersfield, with Prof. Rakesh Mishra taking the lead for the Uni. This partnership will focus on improvements in fan design rules with particular attention to efficiency standards, looking ahead to 2018. This collaborative approach will give Halifax Fan access to greater computational assets such as engineering simulation software and computational flow dynamics programmes leading to overall improvements in aerodynamics within fans and their associated systems.

 

For many years, Halifax Fan has had to respond to the reality that every fan it builds is different in some way. The wide scope of application, sometimes requiring special materials to withstand the corrosive nature of the medium being handled; sometimes handling heavy and abrasive particulate content; high-volume, low-pressure, low-volume high-pressure outputs. 

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All these variants impose on the impeller design and final efficiency. For that reason every fan coming out of the Halifax factories in Brighouse and Shenzhen has been custom designed to meet the customer’s exact specification for his application. The strength of the design team and Halifax’s intelligent use of the latest design technology in computer-aided design, finite element analysis and cloud computing to links its factories together, ensures that every customer gets the most efficient, reliable fan possible for his application.

 


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