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16 November, 2018

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`Smart` DC fans can be networked

01 June, 2000

`Smart` DC fans can be networked

Fan users can save up to 90% of the energy drawn by a conventional AC-powered by changing to an "intelligent" fan, powered by a brushless DC permanent magnet motor, claims its Belgian developer. The ECM fan, which has recently reached the UK, has a built-in controller that can maintain a constant airflow without needing external inverters or sensors. More sophisticated versions can be networked and linked to PCs.

The fans operate from a single-phase mains supply and convert this internally to the 300V DC supply for the GE-produced PM motors. The motors operate at efficiencies of 60-85%, depending on their speed over the range 300-1,800 rpm. The built-in software monitors the fan`s speed and the current and from this data controls the fan to produce a constant airflow, independent of any changes in pressure.

Lemmens claims that the drive eliminates the vibration and resonance problems of traditional speed control technologies.

There are three versions of the fans, spanning airflows from 90-5,700m3/h. In addition to the basic model, there is one that accepts a 1-10V or 4-20mA control signal to link the airflow to variables such as CO2 or humidity levels. The most sophisticated version allows the fans to be networked and linked to PCs for monitoring and control purposes. More than 25,000 of the fans are already in service in continental Europe but they have only recently become available in the UK from Stockport-based Lancaster International. Managing director David Lancaster says that initial interest has come for specialist applications such as clean rooms, but there have also been enquiries for general ventilation applications. The DC-driven fans are more expensive than conventional AC types, but Lancaster says that they will usually pay for themselves within nine months though the energy savings. The DC fans are twice as efficient as AC versions and at low loads this the savings can be 90%. Lancaster says that installation costs can be up to 30% less than inverter-driven AC systems because of the reduced wiring and the absence of sensors. He adds that the DC-driven fans can do many things that inverter-driven fans cannot.




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