Innovative Blower Design Extends Fan Lifespan for Glass Company


Blower with a High-Pressure Radial Blade Wheel for a leading glass company.


A glass manufacturing company approached IB International with an issue: their previous radial blade wheel was failing due to glass powder being pulled through the fan and wearing away the steel, reducing its runtime and rendering it inefficient. We were asked to investigate new materials that were more wear-resistant and create a blower with a high-pressure radial wheel. The blower was to run at speeds of 1800rpm with a max operating temperature of 200-250°F and combat the ingress of abrasive particulates that would wear the fan down. Additionally, the blower needed to meet application-specific criteria and surpass the performance benchmarks set by the old wheel, including tip speed, stress limits and the wear factor.


We conducted a Finite Element Analysis to compare an assortment of different part thicknesses and materials. The analysis revealed that a wheel body crafted from more robust steel provided the necessary structural integrity. We explored using thinner blades and backplates, enhanced with weld-on liners made from a durable metal such as AR400. However, the brittle nature of AR400 presented a high risk of cracking, making it unsuitable for use throughout the entire wheel. Instead, strategically welding thin AR400 plates onto specific at-risk areas of the robust wheel body proved to be the best solution, providing structural integrity and enhancing wear resistance.


The stronger body means the upgraded wheel has a longer working life and is more efficient than the previous system. With its new composition, rare environmental upsets no longer require total shutdowns. Instead, it will be able to operate as intended, meeting the most demanding requests and conditions. We take pride in our ability to overcome challenges and provide effective solutions for our clients, no matter the industry.