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Axial Fans

Commercial and industrial facilities need to control their air to provide clean, safe, and compliant working conditions. Axial fans are popular tools for ventilating spaces and moving large quantities of air. This page will provide information on how axial fans work, applications for axial fans, and when axial fans are the right choice for your facility.

What are Axial Fans?

what are axial fans

Axial fans move air parallel to its revolving motor shaft to create a precise, consistent airflow. The spinning blades control the air movement, while the intake and discharge of air happen in the same direction. Axial fans facilitate the low-pressure movement of air for improved ventilation. These fans can be noisier than other fan types, but they tend to be smaller and lighter and can be equipped with silencers. The number of blades the axial fan has can also impact its overall noise output.

The industrial axial fan blades are tapered, or “wind-tipped,” to reduce turbulence. Various blades — and the materials they are made from — move air differently, depending on the need. Most axial fan blades are cast aluminum, steel, stainless steel, state-of-the-art glass-reinforced polypropylene (PPG) or glass-reinforced polyamide (PAG). PPG and PAG blades are excellent for different environments, especially in wet and corrosive environments.

Choosing a blade material boils down to the application, especially the working environment. For temperatures above 175 degrees, axial fans are equipped with industrial-grade materials like aluminum and sheet metal. Cast aluminum is durable but lightweight, making it a common material used for axial fan blades.

In addition to its blades, an axial fan is made up of several parts including its housing, motor and impellers. Axial blowers come in three main categories — propeller, tubeaxial and vaneaxial. Propeller axial fans have two or more blades that rotate within a frame, while a tubeaxial fan mounts within a tube to create a spiral discharge. Vaneaxial fans are similar to tubeaxial fans, but this style has stationary vanes that reduce the swirl in the air’s release.

No matter the category of axial fan, they are all engineered to handle large quantities of air at low static pressures.

Common Applications of Axial Fans

Axial fans are ideal for ventilation and exhaust applications in commercial and industrial facilities. They can move large volumes of air in and out of a space. Regular applications for this type of fan may include:

  • Warehouse exhaust and ventilation systems
  • Paint booth ventilation
  • Furnace airflow systems
  • Ventilation in wastewater pump stations
  • Fume exhaust from welding booths
  • Commercial kitchens
  • Auto shops and garages
  • Spot cooling for heat-generating machinery
  • Paper and steel mills
  • Textile factories
  • Transportation manufacturing facilities
  • Air cooling for blacksmithing forges and kilns
  • Floor cooling in engine and equipment rooms
  • Maximizing airflow through ductwork

Choosing the Correct Industrial Axial Fans for the Job

Though there are plenty of applications for axial blowers, several factors play into choosing the right axial exhaust fan type depending on the job at hand. When choosing an axial fan, here are a few questions to ask:

  • Purpose: What’s the necessary airflow? What is the static pressure of the room or equipment system?
  • Power: How much power will the fan require?
  • Placement: Where will the fan be placed? Will the fan be mounted to the wall or a piece of equipment? Does it need to be ring-mountable?
  • Air type and environment: Is the air hot or cold? Is it moist or dry? Is there contamination like chemicals or dust in the air? Is anything flammable?

How Do Axial Fans Work?

Axial fans have a streamlined design, with a central impeller and fan blades that move air through the fan parallel to the motor. The blades either pull in or push out air, depending on the orientation of the fan blades, to pump in fresh air or remove air full of odors or contaminants. While the blade shape and speed can slightly alter the pathway of the air, the motion of the air is controlled by stator vanes and there is little-to-no centrifugal force. While there is some change in air pressure generated by the movement, the pressure stays relatively consistent.

Axial flow fans can be designed to maximize efficiency with blade pitches and materials that minimize static pressure to optimize airflow. The blades are typically constructed from mild steel or aluminum. Because these metals are lightweight, the weight of the fan itself can be controlled and the load on the motor system is minimal.

Axial vs. Centrifugal Fans

Unlike axial fans, which move area along a single dimension, centrifugal fans expel air at a 90° angle.  Whereas axial fans move air along its axis, centrifugal fans move air radially. The centrifugal intake mechanism—the high-speed blades—pressurizes the air and expels it more forcefully. Centrifugal fans tend to be reserved for highly contaminated air or extreme environments, whereas axial fans are preferred for handling high volumes of air movement in general commercial and industrial environments.

There are two main types of centrifugal fans:

  1. Forward-curved blade systems, which handle less air and produce less noise
  2. Backward-curved blade systems, which can handle more air but produce more noise

Axial Fan Applications

The key difference between applications for axial and centrifugal fan systems is the severity of the need for airflow. Centrifugal fans are used in high-pressure applications, such as industrial drying and filtration. Axial fans are a better fit for air conditioning, cooling, ventilation, or exhaust applications.

Because axial fans are excellent for heavy-duty air circulation, they make exceptional cooling systems for large facilities or individual pieces of machinery. Most computer hard drives employ small axial fans to prevent laptop or desktop computers from overheating. Axial fans can cool air conditioning systems, refrigerators and vending machines.

These fans are also superb for cooling and ventilating larger areas, especially warehouse floors. They suck warm air away from the room or machine while replacing it with cool air. Axial fans act like air filtration and ventilation systems — they can blow in fresh air while exhausting contaminated air, ensuring clean, cool air for warehouse staff.

Building Specifications

The exhaust system of your building may also play a role in determining which fan is the best fit. If the building’s exhaust is released directly into the atmosphere, axial fans can handle the job. They produce little static pressure and can easily let exhaust out of the building. Narrow ductwork requires more static pressure to force exhaust through the pathway and out of circulation.

Choose Axial Fans and More From Indventech

At Indventech, we are an experienced, friendly team of professionals specializing in high-quality exhausters, fans, and ventilation systems for commercial and industrial spaces. Each of our systems is designed for long-lasting use and precise air control. We supply companies across industries with the axial fans, blowers, and accessories they need to keep facilities safe, compliant, and comfortable.

Choosing insufficient equipment for you application can cause unnecessary time and money setbacks. We will guide you through the otherwise confusing process of selecting the right equipment. We offer one-on-one consultations where we walk through your existing ventilation system performance as well as how we could potentially help you improve it. We are trained in ACGIH Industrial Ventilation standards, ensuring sound, professional recommendations for your specific ventilation needs.

Our process is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and we provide customized and cost-effective recommendations right for you and your facility. We take care to assess your needs as though they’re our own. Once we’ve decided on a plan, our trained staff will install the ventilation system for you.

Moving air is what we do. Contact us today to see how we can help you find the right parts and equipment, or browse our catalog to find exactly what you need.