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How predictive maintenance prevents downtime in industrial fans and blowers

Airflow is essential to industrial processes. AiSight's predictive maintenance solution keeps fans spinning and production running. Find out how predictive maintenance prevents breakdowns and reduces fan and ventilator downtime.

Industrial fans are critical equipment in almost all manufacturing and processing processes. They control machine temperatures. They remove dust. They're a vital part of HVAC systems, keeping workplace temperatures, humidity levels, and air quality safe and comfortable. They move hot air within ovens and kilns. They move lightweight materials along lines. When a fan or blower breaks down, it's simply bad for business.

That's why AiSight's predictive maintenance solution keeps fans spinning. This article looks at how fans work, and how predictive maintenance works to keep fans working.

How fans and blowers work—how they break down

Fans and blowers work something like pumps—a motor turns a shaft, connected to a part that moves a fluid. In the case of fans, the fluid is a gas, rather than a liquid.

Fans and blowers differ in how they move air. Fans use propellers to move air in an axial motion. Propellers are functionally small wings, creating contrasting areas of high and low pressure to pull air from all around and push it in one direction.

The impellers in blowers do the opposite, pulling air from the center and pushing it outward. This generates an area of low pressure at the center of the impeller, which creates suction—useful in air extractors such as vacuums. The air travelling outward, meanwhile, is channeled through a housing to create focused, higher-pressure airflow.

What causes fans and blowers to fail?

As rotating equipment run by motors, fans and blowers are subject to many of the same problems that cause motor failure, including bearing defects, rubbing, looseness, misalignments, and imbalances. This equipment often includes belt drives, which are subject to their own issues.

A common cause of fan and blower failure is dirt accumulation on propeller or impeller blades. As blades move through the air, they collect solid particles from airborne dust, lint, smoke, and fat. Over time, these small particles build up and can cause bearing damage and complete machine failure.

What happens when a fan fails?

A single damaged fan can end production in an entire facility.

Fans are critical machines in HVAC systems. These systems keep production facilities comfortable and safe—both for staff and machines. A broken ventilation system is a serious safety issue that can force building evacuations. Broken climate controls can leave facilities too hot or cold (or humid, or dry) for optimal production. These conditions can affect machines, staff, or materials.

Fans and blowers also provide vital protection for other machine parts. A broken cooling fan or air-seal blower can lead to badly damaged assets and cascading failures.

The case is clear: we shouldn't let fans and blowers fail.

And even before failure, blade damage and dirt accumulations reduce fan and blower efficiency. According to Global Efficiency Intelligence, fans use more electricity than any other machine. Maintaining fan and blower health is, therefore, a great place to start improving energy efficiency.

Reduced fan efficiency can also have a serious impact on productivity. Fans operating below capacity can increase processing time or cause quality issues, in cases such as wood drying kilns and industrial ovens. Protecting fan health protects overall machine performance and production quality.

How to prevent fan and blowerfailures with predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a powerful tool for preventing fan and blower failure and keeping them operating optimally. AiSight's predictive maintenance solution provides 24/7 machine monitoring and advanced vibration analysis, detecting fan and blower faults months before these machines fail. This allows maintenance planners time to order parts and plan maintenance around production and staffing demands.

How AiSight prevents unplanned downtime due to fan faults

AiSight's Aion sensor node provides non-stop monitoring for fans and blowers. Each Aion includes three sensors: a triaxial vibration sensor, a triaxial magnetic field sensor, and a temperature sensor. These sensors transmit a three-dimensional image of machine health to our algorithms, which detect and analyze faults, passing vital machine health information on to maintenance professionals in the form of easy-to-read visuals and early alerts.

The advanced vibration analysis at work in our algorithms detect imbalances, looseness, bearing defects, rubbing, misalignments, and belt-drive issues in fans and blowers. Small changes in vibration patterns are often the first warning of a developing fan fault. As dirt accumulates on blades, for example, it produces an imbalance in the fan's motion. This produces characteristic vibration patterns that our solution detects and identifies long before further damage can occur. This kind of early warning provides weeks or months to prepare and plan for fan maintenance.

Meanwhile, our temperature sensor detects rapidly deteriorating situations as well as non-optimal operating temperature. Our magnetic field sensor provides an accurate picture of variable-speed motors running fans and blowers. AiSight's predictive maintenance solution monitors all rotating equipment, including the motors and bearings that fans need to function.

Read more about how AiSight monitors motors here.


AiSight's predictive maintenance solution is a powerful tool for preventing fan and blower failures. You can use this information to plan maintenance, optimize spare parts inventory, eliminate maintenance emergencies, and improve machine availability.

Our solution also provides the monitoring and insights you need to protect your assets and maximize their performance. Find out what else AiSight can do for your plant.