FRP Fan Blades are Here to Stay
Like any industry, industrial cooling towers have experienced quite a bit of innovation over the last few decades. As construction techniques and materials advanced, cooling towers became more efficient, lasted longer, and were more durable against natural corrosion. One of the biggest breakthroughs in the cooling tower industry revolves around the use of FRP in the design and construction of cooling tower components. FRP has allowed cooling towers to become more durable while at the same time reducing the amount of time it takes to construct a cooling tower and decreasing the costs associated with upkeep. One component, in particular, that saw a marked increase in efficiency and durability is the fan blade contained in the majority of cooling towers. In today’s post, we are going to go over some of the reasons that FRP fan blades are superior to their aluminum cousins and why they are quickly becoming the industry standard.
FRP Fan Blades do Everything Better
If you’re anything like the average person, you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about fan blades. A fan blade is one of those objects that we don’t really consider until it has a problem. In the world of industrial cooling towers, however, we spend a lot of time thinking about fan blades. Fans are such an important component of industrial cooling towers that without them, the cooling tower ceases to operate. Because cooling tower fans are so important, millions of dollars have been spent over the decades in trying to come up with a fan design that is both efficient, durable, and light. The culmination of this research has resulted in the FRP fan blade, successor to the industry standard aluminum blades that dominated for decades. Below, we have listed a few of the reasons that FRP fan blades have become the preferred fan blade for the majority of cooling tower applications.
- Lightweight: One of the biggest advantages that FRP fan blades offer is the fact that they are extremely lightweight. In the realm of industrial machinery, weight is always an important factor. This factor becomes doubly important when the machine in question must rotate thousands of times per day. The lightweight design of FRP fan blades helps to reduce the amount of stress placed upon the gearbox and driveshaft that control the fan assembly. Additionally, the lightweight design means that less energy is required to rotate the blades, increasing efficiency and reducing the amount of money that needs to be spent in relation to energy consumption.
- Moldable: While aluminum fan blades were used for decades in the design of cooling towers, they had some issues. Aluminum blades are made up of multiple pieces that must then be bolted or riveted to a mounting rod and attached to a rotation plate. Multiple connection points increase the amount of weak points within the assembly and greatly increases that rate at which failure occurs. FRP fan blades, however, greatly reduce the amount of inherent weak points because they can be molded and manufactured as a single piece. Reducing the blade to a single piece of molded plastic provides uniform stress loading characteristics which tends to result in a much longer service life with reduced instances of failure.
- Durable: Aluminum was used originally in the design of industrial cooling tower fan blades because it was both lightweight and durable. These two factors are key in the design of fan blades and for decades aluminum was the best option. Unfortunately, at the speeds fan blades rotate, even aluminum can become damaged. Aluminum fan blades were prone to dents and warping from collisions with debris in the tower. Even a small variation in the shape of the blade is enough to affect the balance of the entire fan system and potentially cause damage. FRP fan blades come with the same lightweight design of aluminum blades but are also much tougher. The durable plastic resists dents and warping better than aluminum, increasing the longevity of the blades and reducing the amount of money spent replacing them.
If you would like to learn more about FRP fan blades or you would like to see our selection of FRP fan blades, please visit our website today. At Industrial Cooling Solutions Inc., we are dedicated to providing the best services and parts as they relate to the industrial cooling tower industry and we would love to help you with your next project.