New Composite Custom Fan Beats Standard Tip Speed, Improves Efficiency

The Horton Thermoset Engineered Composite (HTEC) 1800 fan, a “perfect scale” diminution of the predecessor 2500, is engineered to be customizable for specific mining trucks, remote radiator packages, generator sets and fracking units, the company reported at its November media summit. Available in diameters of 48 to 72 inches (in.), and weighing a minimum of 30 pounds (lb), it has a maximum tip speed of 22,000 feet per minute (fpm), as well as other advantages over steel, aluminum or plastic equivalents.

Manish Virmani, vice president, global market development, said the fans are configurable and were designed to “obsolete” metal predecessor fans used in the industry. “You can form it into just the optimal shape so you can get much higher efficiencies” than you would with comparable metal or plastic fans, he said. “Also, you have the best-in-class durability and corrosion resistance.”

The fan’s tip speed reportedly is 20%-25% faster than the current industry standard of roughly 18,000 fpm, said Neal Shawaluk, lead sales engineer, off-highway. “High strength-to-weight ratio is what allows us to run these fans so fast,” he said.

According to Shawaluk, the compression-molded blades contain glass fibers that orient themselves and provide part of the structural strength of the material. Compared to a plastic blade, with an average structural integrity of 78 megapascals (MPa), HTEC blades are rated at 186 MPa, he added.

HTEC 1800 Fan

“That is more than twice the tensile strength,” he said. “That translates into a more durable and robust product.”

Blade shape was engineered to maximize airflow per unit of power. “We went through probably 50 iterations of this blade, running computational fluid dynamics to optimize it,” Shawaluk said. “It is very difficult to get that kind of geometry in a metal blade.”

Blade shape can be modified to be application-specific and to meet the requirements of the customer, Virmani said.

Additionally, blade count and fan size can be customized. “You have the same blade, but you can adjust the center disc size to get a different size fan with very good performance,” he said.

With the advent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Tier 4 (emissions) requirements, “everyone is trying to package more in with the same or less space. Heat rejection is higher; everything is hotter. You’ve got to get more airflow. You’ve got to have quieter equipment, and you want to be more fuel efficient,” Shawaluk said. “Higher efficiency means more airflow per unit of power. We typically see 10 percentage points higher efficiency versus a metal fan. If you can get 40% efficiency with a metal fan, we can get to 50% static efficiency.” The fan runs quieter than a steel equivalent, he added.

The HTEC 1800 is designed to last, the company reported. “From a fatigue standpoint, from a structural standpoint, they are designed for infinite life,” Shawaluk said. The blade is “anti-spark” and “has 15% less deflection” at standard temperatures than a plastic equivalent, he said.

Being a molded composite, a thermoset glass-reinforced resin, it is corrosion-resistant, which adds to its longevity. In many mines, “a harsh chemical environment exists where metal fans may see significant corrosion,” Shawaluk said. Free of lamination and rivets, the HTEC fan “eliminates that potential failure in a corrosive environment,” he added. “The material is inert to salt, phosphorus and sulfur, so it will have a superior life.”

Being lightweight, the HTEC 1800 reduces wear on supporting equipment parts, such as drive line components, belts, pullies and bearings.

Abuse testing has revealed the fan has a higher “stress safety factor” than its metal equivalent, Shawaluk said. “We do what is called in-vehicle stress testing,” he said. “For a given application, the HTEC would almost always have a higher stress reserve value.”

Outside the North American market, third-party licensees, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and radiator manufacturers receive tools and training from Horton, and then market, build, service and represent the product.

Belt Cleaner Replacement Program Keeps a Fresh Edge on Conveyor Surface

Martin Engineering has announced a new factory-direct replacement program for belt cleaners, delivering fresh polyurethane blades, specified and custom-fitted on-site and installed free of charge. The new program, said the company, assures customers of accurately sized and professionally installed replacement blades that are matched to their specific application. The “Mr. Blade” program eliminates shipping and labor costs by having new blades delivered and installed direct from the factory, with no wasted shelf time.

“Although many conveyor users probably don’t realize it, product freshness is a significant issue for urethane belt cleaners,” explained Chris Schmelzer, director of the Wear Components Business Group. “Because urethane is a hygroscopic material, it tends to absorb moisture from the ambient air over time, which causes a degradation of physical properties. The process gradually decreases the cleaning performance and shortens wear life.

“Most manufacturers produce their cleaners in large lots, based on projected sales volumes,” Schmelzer continued. “They often sit in inventory for a lengthy period of time. Many suppliers also sell their products through distribution, which can extend the shelf time even more. The result is a component with a degraded life expectancy, one that often delivers reduced performance, particularly if the customer is also stocking the replacement blades. In our experience, the usable period is about two years, and after that point, the blade’s physical properties are likely to be affected.”

Martin Engineering said it is able to guarantee product freshness as a result of its custom-designed urethane molding cells, which enable just-in-time manufacturing of its belt cleaners to deliver blades within the shortest possible lead time, without the need to carry aging inventory in its warehouses. The technology is currently in use at Martin business units on three continents, and plans are already set to place the modular work cells in additional manufacturing facilities. The company said it believes it is the only belt cleaner supplier that has designed its own process and equipment to produce molded blades, drastically reducing the lag time between manufacturing and use.

Vans carry a fresh supply of 8-ft blade lengths and are equipped with all tools required to achieve a custom fit. Martin Engineering says the vans are already servicing routes in the U.S., and it plans to expand the service to other global business units.

Also included are regularly scheduled inspections, adjustment and blade replacement as required on all Martin belt cleaning systems, as well as the company’s 18-point Walk-the-Belt audits emphasizing worldwide best practices from the new Foundations for Conveyor Safety book. All services are covered in the blade pricing, with no contract required.

As part of the new program, the company will maintain an electronic record of operating conditions on all conveyors using its equipment. This data will be updated regularly, providing management with an operational assessment of vital components, including recommendations for avoiding costly failures and system downtime. Further, U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA)-certified Martin service technicians will adjust, repair or replace the main frame and tensioner of any belt cleaner at no charge, for as long as the customer maintains a “Mr. Blade” service relationship.

Horton to Launch Fan Analytic Software

Third-party licensees, OEMs and radiator manufacturers will soon be able to use Horton software to determine fan configuration and specifications based on site- and application-specific requirements.

As early as the first quarter of 2017, Horton will release software to allow customers to generate performance estimates based on fan design, site constraints and application specifics. “It allows our customers, as they are designing their cooling system, to select a fan based on the performance characteristics they need,” said Manish Virmani, vice president, global market development. “The fans are very configurable. You can configure something that has never been built before and we will be able to calculate the performance.”