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Spark Resistant Fan and Blowers

Date Added: November 06, 2012 08:37:37 PM
Author: Oleg Tchetchel
Category: Business & Economy: Real Estate & Property

AMCA Type A Spark Resistant Construction requires all parts of the fan in contact with the air or gas being handled shall be made of nonferrous material. Steps must also be taken to assure that the impeller, bearings, and shaft are adequately attached and/or restrained to prevent a lateral or axial shift in these components. It should be noted that: 1) No bearings, drive components, or electrical devices shall be placed in the air or gas stream unless they are constructed or enclosed in such a manner that failure of that component cannot ignite the surrounding gas stream. 2) The user shall electrically ground all fan parts. 3) For this Standard, nonferrous material shall be any material with less than 5% iron or any other material with demonstrated ability to be spark resistant. 4) The use of aluminum or aluminum alloys in the presence of steel which has been allowed to rust requires special consideration. Research by the U.S. Bureau of Mines and others has shown that aluminum impellers rubbing on rusty steel may cause high-intensity sparking. The use of the above Standard in no way implies a guarantee of safety for any level of spark resistance. “Spark-resistant construction also does not protect against ignition of explosive gases caused by catastrophic failure or from any airstream material that may be present in a system.” The AMCA standard provides the system designer with a uniform way to specify the system requirements and provides fan manufacturers with general guidelines. The fan manufacturer must still develop unique designs to deal with the physical and practical limitations of fan equipment when developing construction methods to comply with AMCA. A major limitation is the practical availability of truly “nonferrous” alloys that really can be used in fan construction. There are certain alloys or noble metals than are truly nonferrous, alloys that contain no iron, but for the most part they are extremely expensive and/or difficult to obtain in forms and strengths necessary for fan construction. For most purposes, the fan manufacturer uses more readily available alloys that are considered nominally nonferrous and which have strength and work properties suited to fan construction. Aluminum is the most frequently used alloy due to its low cost. However, as pointed out in the AMCA Standard, when aluminum is in close proximity to steel, careful maintenance programs are necessary to prevent rust, because aluminum rubbing against rusty steel can cause high-intensity sparking. In applications where such maintenance is not possible, an SRC method that places steel in the airstream is not recommended. Regardless of which classification is chosen, airborne foreign or “tramp” particles could either strike each other, or strike one of the components of the fan, causing a spark. Protection against SRC does not eliminate the potential for spark generation. Fans with any type of SRC are only intended to minimize the potential that any two or more fan components might generate sparks within the airstream by rubbing or striking during operation. No type of SRC can be guaranteed to eliminate the possibility of generating a spark, nor would any SRC type preclude sparks resulting from any foreign influence such as airborne materials striking each other. The AMCA Standard requires construction that will not permit a wheel and/or shaft to shift due to some malfunction during operation. If two components are allowed to shift and rub against each other for any length of time, either sparks or frictional heat could become a hazard in an explosive or flammable gas stream. Normally, standard procedures of fastening the wheel to the shaft and locking the shaft in the bearings are sufficient. However, the degree of hazard in these situations dictates that extraordinary precautions to more securely prevent such shifting are in order, so further methods of attachment or restraint are required. A fan furnished with AIRSTREAM TYPE SRC should provide the greatest degree of spark resistance. In the event that two or more fan components in the airstream rub or strike together, a properly maintained fan should be able to continue in operation for some reasonable period of time, without producing a spark. However, the severity of a hazard that calls for AIRSTREAM TYPE SRC dictates that the fan should be closely monitored and shut down immediately upon such an occurrence. If allowed to operate, the rubbing or striking of these fan components will generate frictional heat, quickly deteriorate, and eventually catastrophically fail. Good safety practice cannot be ignored ! material, usually mild steel. For additional information please refer to http://buffalofan.com Oleg Tchetchel Fan and Blower Design Engineer Buffalo Fan Co. buffalofan@buffalofan.com http://www.buffalofan.com/fan.html http://www.buffalofan.com/ventilator.html
 
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