Which Fans Are Applied in the Glass Industry?
In all production industries, fans play a significant role. At the heart of glass, food, tobacco, and even ship industries, you can find multiple industrial fans that each serves a specific purpose. Depending on the type of work that needs to be done, as well as the power and air pressure required, the industry will need a specific type and model of fan.
In the ship industry, for instance, a typical cruise ship requires a count of more than 50 fans to maintain proper ventilation and air conditioning in all areas that require it. The tobacco industry, on the other hand, uses industrial fans for different purposes such as to help with their moisture induction, drying, and cooling. Additionally, the glass-making industry requires fans at almost every step of their heating and tempering process to achieve the desired results. Depending on the end product, the fan type and model needed could also change.
As there is no “one-size-fits-all” fan, we have to look at each step of the particular industry’s production process to determine the functions, appropriate specifications, and quantity of fans that are essential to perform the work. This way, we will be able to ensure smooth operations in the factory, quality output, as well as a safe environment for workers.
What does the glass industry use fans for?
There are multiple glass end products, some of which have specific raw materials, and therefore, their own unique production process. However, the industry generally uses fans for combustion, cooling, ambient air cleaning, and fume extractions. In choosing the right equipment for your factory, you have to first look at what step in the manufacturing process you need a fan for. Afterwards, we must evaluate factors such as required flow rate and pressure, ambient and system air temperatures, and system size requirements to choose the proper fan for the job. Finally, depending on the quantity of products you will need to churn out, you will be able to determine just how many fans your factory needs.
To better understand the fans required for each production step, let us take a quick look at the general process itself:
- Glass Melting
The raw materials (or “batches”) are fed into a melting furnace, which serves to transform it into molten liquid glass so that it may be shaped into the desired shape. This melting takes place at a very high temperature for the materials to fuse seamlessly. These furnaces are usually fueled by electric, gas or oil, and operate at temperatures up to 1,700 °C.
- Molten Glass Conditioning
An excess amount of heat is usually produced in manufacturing either due to process heating or friction, which calls for cooling the material. The molten glass is then removed from the furnace and sets aside to cool at a regulated, uniform temperature. Tempered glass, for example, is produced through a high-pressure cooling process called ‘quenching’, which usually only lasts for a few seconds. The temperature is strictly controlled and the glass goes through extreme heat and quick cooling.
- Glass Casting or Molding
Once the temperature is controlled, the glass molded and/or cut into whatever shape and size is needed – whether it’s a bottle, a jar or a vase.
- Glass Cooling
The end product is left to slowly cool down – a process that is called ‘annealing’, which is important to relieve the material from stresses they underwent during manufacturing. It is critical for the temperature to also be controlled at this step of the process because the durability and reliability of the product is very dependent on annealing. Glass that is not annealed properly is susceptible to cracking or shattering when exposed to even the smallest shock or temperature change. Annealing is sometimes incidental to the manufacturing process for small objects, but more complex ones may demand a special process and a specific temperature.
What fans are needed for the abovementioned process?
As we can already infer, glass production is quite particular, especially since each step requires the material to be at a certain temperature in order to achieve the desired outcome. It relies on quick but proper cooling. This is why evaluating the power and specifications needed to perform the adequate work in your industry is a must before you are going to purchase an industrial fan.
The glass-making industry primarily makes use of centrifugal combustion air, cooling, and ventilation fans in its factories. Since the work involves dealing with intense heat, manufacturers need fans that can withstand high temperatures. These fans must also be heavy duty and abrasion-resistant because the friction produced by the process may quickly wear down your machines. Protect both your fan and furnace from mechanical wear and let them keep their original structure and look by using a quality abrasion-resistant fan.
Below are the fans that are applied and are essential to the process:
- Combustion Air Fans
As mentioned earlier, the raw materials (“batches”) need to be placed into the furnace for melting. To get proper combustion, the furnace requires enough fuel and oxygen, as well as an ignition source. The combustion air fan’s purpose is to provide the furnace with a stable and consistent air flow. Air is drawn through the combustion passageway by the fan for sufficient air flow, which also allows for thorough heat transfer. The correct temperature must also be maintained, which is what the fan allows for, in order for proper and adequate melting.
Careful selection of the right fan for this step in the process will not only ensure efficient work and excellent output but will also extend the life of your furnace.
- Cooling Fans (for tempering/ conditioning and molding)
To condition or temper the glass and to achieve consistent molding, the molten material is cooled to a controlled temperature. Industrial fans supply air that circulate over the molds to level the temperature. This step of the process requires significantly high airflow pressures in order to quickly and effectively remove heat from the material. The required pressure depends on the thickness of your desired output – another specification that needs to be noted when purchasing the right fan for the process.
Remember that cooling the end product is critical to its quality, so the right temperature must be followed. Your industrial fan should be able to provide a specific cold air flow so that the manufactured glass stays uniform in both shape and durability. Any discrepancies might cause the glass material to crack or shatter even at the slightest disturbance.
Common centrifugal fans used for cooling are airfoil, backward inclined, or high radial fans.
- Ventilation and Dedusting Fans
While these are no longer a part of the production process, these fans are just as vital to glass-making factories. Manufacturing almost any type of product will always produce unwanted dust and fumes, which may be a safety hazard to employees.
Fresh air is imperative for worker comfort, but will also guarantee an improvement in productivity. Ventilation and dedusting fans serve the purpose of assisting you in controlling the dust produced in your workplace, keeping your factory clean, and taking care of your factory workers for optimal output.
Examples of fans used for this objective are backward inclined centrifugal fans, radial tip fans, and pressure blowers.
Choosing the right fans for your factory
Now that you know how fans are applied to each step of the production process in the glass industry, you can better evaluate the exact types, models, and sizes required for your workplace. As mentioned, fan applications vary depending on the end product, the procedure required to get that desired product, and its raw materials. Even something as simple as a different cooling process for one product can point you in the direction of a particular industrial fan. Windows, for instance, require high volume centrifugal fans with medium pressure for cooling, while other glass products, such as bottles or jars may require fans with different specifications.
Take time to understand what goes into each step of the process before you choose the fans that are suitable for your work. Remember to look into factors such as the air pressure required for proper combustion, the particular temperature needed to cool your glass, as well as the size of your factory. These are just a few of the things you must look into to guarantee a safe and efficient manufacturing process
If you ever find yourself unsure about what model is proper for your factory’s output, you can always consult with your industrial fan manufacturer. Making an informed choice on the right fans to get for your glass-making production will not only result in great output today, but will also prove to be long-lasting.
If you’re also looking into fans for textile-making, paper-making, and even electronics, this advice also applies to them. Industrial fans truly play a vital role in any production process in all industries that they are applied in. Choosing the right type, model, and quantity of fans are imperative to making sure your systems and procedures are optimally executed.