Building maintenance services and carpet cleaning companies use special floor drying fans after carpet cleaning or after a spill. Aerospace research and development companies use very large fans to create airflow in wind tunnels. Computers use very small fans to provide air flow that removes heat generated by their components.
The diversity of industrial uses for fans ranges from the most high-tech sectors to the simplest personal air-cooling applications. But the greatest demand for industrial fans comes from the building heating, cooling and ventilation industry. The air in workspaces of every size and variety must be circulated constantly in order to comply with laws pertaining to workplace safety and to create comfortable working conditions, which contribute to productivity.
In order to create air circulation, buildings must be equipped with ductwork, heating and cooling equipment and fans to direct and move the flow of air through the building. Different fans for different phases of air circulation are required; they range from exposed ceiling fans to furnace fans at the beginning of ductwork systems.
All industrial fans, whatever their application, are designed in two configurations: radial (or centrifugal) and axial. Axial fans feature blades that rotate around an axis; the movement of axial fan blades closely resembles that of a clock. Axial fans work by creating an imbalance in air pressure in front of and behind their blades. This imbalance causes airflow, and the continued spinning of the blades causes continued airflow.
Radial fans also create airflow by creating air pressure imbalance, but they are different in that their blades’ motion more resembles the spinning of a waterwheel than the rotation of hands on a clock. Also, in order to control air flow directionality, radial fans feature spinning blades within an enclosure; the outlet for the air is positioned depending on the fan’s application. A radial floor dryer, for example, is fitted with an outlet at the bottom of its enclosure to direct the airflow as close to the floor as possible.
When air is forced through a radial fan’s enclosure, the combination of spinning blades and centrifugal motion caused by the air’s passage through the circular enclosure pressurizes the air. This feature allows radial fans to produce more air pressure than axial fans when operating at the same RPM.