An EC FanGrid is a multiple fan array designed to improve reliability, flexibility and efficiency in new or existing AHU ventilation systems.
Lead the way to more energy efficient buildings by providing the best fan integration retrofit solutions that the industry can offer. We combine knowledge of the market with customer needs and technical know how, our EC FanGrid Retrofit Solution is a simple, easy to assemble multiple fan array designed with energy efficiency at its core.
We offer a full turnkey solution including the below:
Suitable for new projects and as a replacement for large single fans in retrofit air handling units, modular backward curved centrifugal fans or EC plug fans are arranged in a grid construction and offer numerous advantages over conventional technology.
If you would like us to specify an EC FanGrid for your application, need more information about installation or general assistance please contact us on 01782 349 430 or complete our Retrofit solutions enquiry form with the necessary details and send it to [email protected].
Most of the buildings that we will be using in 2050 will exist today. In line with greater government ambition on building energy efficiency, the UK continues to improve the efficiency of existing buildings to reduce overall energy demand. The UK Green Business Council has expressed concerns about the failure in the strategy to address several areas that it believes are crucial to a successful decarbonisation plan. This includes a large-scale retrofitting schedule across properties across the country and reforms to energy standards focused on energy use. A drive to immediately begin to reduce embodied carbon emission from the construction and whole-life operation of building should have been considered in future plans. Meanwhile the Sustainable Energy Association members have highlighted challenges of eliminating operational carbon that all buildings emit and the well-known fact that the government has committed to halve energy use in all buildings by 2030. More adoption of technology such as updated and retrofitted ventilation systems must be accelerated to meet this deadline.
Under performing and unreliable fans are simply unacceptable if we’re to follow the path to decarbonisation and reduce overall system efficiency and energy use. Retrofitting old belt driven ventilation systems with EC FanGrids improves reliability and uses efficient lower energy consumption industrial fans as part of its make up. From an initial site validation survey right through to post install commissioning, our ECFanGrid installation team will complete your project from start to finish quickly and efficiently.
Due to its smaller component size which are all delivered on pallets, the ECFanGrid can be walked through standard pedestrian doors by no more than two operatives; a significant factor in maintaining tight replacement schedules and reduces costs when compared to alternative solutions. Talk to us about how our inhouse installation team can assess your site, design a solution and install an ECFanGrid on short time scales to reduce system downtime.
All fan array components are delivered in an easy to install package. Download the inventory list to the left for example contents for a 4×4 ECFanGrid configuration.
We’ll use our fan selection software “RoVent“, along with any provided operating duties and system requirements to determine the right fan size and configuration for your air movement project. If you’re not sure on the operating duties then we can undergo a site visit to fully determine your requirements.
With a wide range of EC plug fans to choose from, we’ll select the best fan components to suit your overall requirements and objectives; whether this is energy efficiency, lead times to reduce system downtime or increased duty.
ECFanGrid multiple fan arrays can earn contributory credits to 5 out of 10 BREEAM categories as indicated below:
What is an EC FanGrid and what are the key benefits? How simple is assembly? Learn more in the below video featuring two fangrid assemblies
If you would like us to specify an ECFanGrid for your application, please complete our retrofit enquiry form and send it to [email protected].
To ensure that any problems can be identified and incorporated into your project specification as early as possible we can carry out a site validation survey.
We’ll assess physical condition, compliance and capacity. Site and AHU validation surveys are POA and invoiced in advance of any project quotations.
If you’d like to record and compare the efficiency and CO2 reduction of your old and new system we’ll take measurements to allow you to present the figures to
those who need them most. This can be done at the same time or on a different day than the site and AHU validation survey. POA.
We’ll use our fan selection software RoVent, along with the assessed operating duties and system requirements to determine the right size and configuration for
your air movement project.
We’ll discuss any additional works you’d like carrying out at the same time. We’ll organise removals, cranes, cleaning and much more if required. All to make the
project simple and easy for you.
Once we establish your requirements, one of our technical product engineers will prepare a formal quotation for you to review based on the specification and all
other key information discussed.
Whether you choose to install the ECFanGrid yourself or have our install team complete the project, we’ll deliver the full ECFanGrid kit that contains all mechanical
parts, to your specified location and delivery date. We offer competitive lead times and if needed we can supply a wide range of ancillary items to further increase
the efficiency of your installation.
Our team can be scheduled to do post install commissioning and yearly servicing to ensure your ECFanGrid stays running at optimal performance. POA. Our team
of technical engineers are also available to answer any technical questions. Contact [email protected] or 01782 349430.
Typically 40% of a commercial buildings energy use comes from heating, ventilating and cooling with 50% of the HVAC energy consumption coming from fans. The move from AC to EC fans in newer projects, has been significant due to their numerous advantages over their AC comparisons. EC fans can operate outside of their preferred operating range and still maintain a high efficiency, have reduced noise operation when speed controlled and the integrated motor and electronic makes for a compact design. Rosenberg EC fans also have built in controls and monitoring capabilities, enabling users to interrogate alarm outputs for fan faults, allowing individual problems to be addressed before total failure of the AHU. Savings as a result of moving from AC to EC occur from both improved motor efficiency and optimising system design.
The number of plug fans in each ECFanGrid system can vary according to the airflow requirements. For example, in a wall of 9 fans in a 3×3 configuration where only 7 fans may be required for normal operations to deliver the designed duty, the 8th and 9th space can be blanked off with a plate. If the demands on the AHU increase through building expansion for example, the blanking plates can be removed and 1 or 2 fans added to the grid to meet the new requirements.
The EC FanGrid provides superior reliability as a result of their inherent redundancy. If one fan fails, only that portion of the airflow is lost, unlike single fan systems where the entire air handler goes offline. Moreover, the loss of airflow from one plug fan can be offset by increasing the speed of the remaining fans; this can be achieved automatically in conjunction with the building’s BMS system. It allows for the facilities management team to plan for the downtime to suit the need of the building, for example, when the demands on the AHU are lowest. Read more about air flow in the case of a fan failure on the technical info tab.
Case studies show that sound is not an issue when using an EC FanGrid, on the contrary there will be more possibilities to significantly lower noise. When using an ECFanGrid there are two major advantages to attenuate noise. First, the noise spectrum of smaller impellers contains higher frequencies, thus the wave lengths are shorter, allowing for the use of shorter attenuators. Second, the required length of the fan section in a typical air handling unit, using a single large radial fan can be reduced dramatically – in some cases up to 50%. Read more about efficiency and noise within fan systems in our technical article.
The EC FanGrid is ideally suited for retrofit AHU projects, particularly where a single large radial fan is being replaced. It is often the case that buildings have expanded around an AHU over its years of operation. This can make the extraction of the old fan problematic but the install of the new fan impossible without minor works to the fabric of the building. The ECFanGrid, due to its smaller component size, can be walked through standard pedestrian doorways by no more than two operatives: a significant factor in maintaining a tight replacement schedule and reducing costs when compared to alternatives. The use of plug fans, where time and space is an issue, risks the least downtime and offers the best opportunity for a rapid return to normal system operation.
Unlike a traditional belt drive unit which covers a large floor space, the ECFanGrid is completely free of the floor. This means that maintaining the hygiene of the AHU is quicker, simpler and more effective. No dust is released into the supply air as there are no belt drives to degenerate over time. Furthermore, component failure is quickly dealt with due to the modular nature of the ECFanGrid. For example, a single fan module could be replaced and the AHU back online within an hour of being shut down.
Continuous and consistent airflow is essential to virtually every facility, making under-performing or unreliable fans simply unacceptable. In addition to reliability concerns, inefficient fans can be a building’s biggest energy consumer. Given the increasing cause for environmental concern, designers should look to select EC Plug Fans which will not only provide the necessary reliability, but also provide optimum efficiency and environmental benefits.
In most fan systems a single fan is selected for the required system and various methods of control are also installed to meet other operating points defined by the system duty such as dampers or variable pitch blades. In some instances, it is advantageous to use more than one fan in a system, for example when it is necessary for the required operating range of the system to include multiple plug fans running closer to their peak efficiencies, instead of one large fan controlled over a wide operating range. Multiple fans for capacity control may be more economical if the cost of operation is critical. By running fans in parallel, when one motor fails, only a portion of the airflow is lost, unlike single fan air handlers.
Working with supply partner Rosenberg, we have developed an energy efficient solution to refurbishing old and outdated ventilation systems such as air handling units with an ECFanGrid.
One of the more common questions regarding the design of the ECFanGrid relates to the recommended space between the fans to maintain optimum performance. To answer this, measurements were carried out in the Rosenberg certified testing labs on the impeller diameter and the duct dimensions to see how performance is affected by plug fan spacing. As a result, the following ratio was established:
A/D > 1.55
The calculation of the ratio consists of two basic steps:
1. To establish the A value, both the x and y dimensions of the duct are divided by the number of fans in each direction.
2. The result must be divided through the impeller diameter D of the fan
In the ECFanGrid selection process, if this ratio or a larger value is achieved, there will be no negative effect on performance.
A good rule of thumb is:
Surround each fan with a quarter of its impeller diameter
Air flow with an ECFanGrid is measured by pressure taps in the inlet cone. Every inlet cone used with a Rosenberg EC Fan has a circular measurement tube with four measurement taps. The taps are arranged in order to obtain a correct mean value. This feature is critical if the air flow at the inlet is not even.
The pressure measurement is converted to actual air flow through the inlet cone. With the use of Bernoulli’s Incompressible Flow Equation and the Law ofContinuity, the air flow is calculated by measuring differential pressure and applying a calibration factor.
The actual measurement is the differential pressure between the inlet cone (measurement tube) and the inlet area of the application.
Shown in the graph below is an operating constant air flow control with a 3×3 ECFanGrid. As the curve indicates, the speed is changing and therefore the desired air flow is always maintained – 22.500 m3 /h (13,243 cfm). At the time t0, the damper was slightly closed and so the air flow in the system decreased. Hence, the ECFanGrid increases the speed to enlarge the air flow. The air flow reaches the desired 22.500 m3 /h (13,243 cfm) and the speed remains.
The ECFanGrid can be set up as a constant air flow system with a pressure controller used in 0-10 V open loop speed control as illustrated in the second image below. The desired set point is adjustable in the pressure controllers display menu.
Redundancy is a major aspect as to why fans are connected in parallel.
Every fan used in a ECFanGrid has a potential free alarm contact. The contacts are COM, NO (normally open) and NC (normally closed). “Normally” means the fan is powered and no alarms occurred.
One approach is to connect and evaluate the alarm relay. It is possible to get one terminal for no failure and another terminal for failure. If two LEDs are connected to the respective terminals, the green one will light when all fans are running and the red one will light if one fan fails.
If a PLC is used to control the ECFanGrid, the fans can be connected. Again if one fan fails, the Digital 1 will appear at the input of the PLC.
In most cases, it is enough to know that there is a failure on the site. However, it is also useful to know exactly which fan has failed from a remote location. Therefore, using ModBus RTU to evaluate the alarms is recommended.
There are three possible solutions. The first is to leave the cone open until the fan can be repaired. In this option, there are large losses and a high probability that the remaining fans will not succeed due to their performance limitations. If, despite of the losses, it is decided to leave the cone open, it may be an option to set the remaining fans to maximum speed to maintain an emergency mode.
However, if it is decided to close the open cone of the defective fan, there are two options:
Backdraft dampers would only be of value in rare cases of a fan failure. The main benefit of using backdraft dampers is that the cone is closed automatically, however they will cause some losses. In units under lab test, a simple, sealed metal sheet was used to close open cones. In addition, the metal sheet should be reinforced due to possible static pressures of 1.000 Pa (4 inches) or higher while an average sized metal sheet of 0,25 m2 (2.69 f t2 ) – the actual force acting on the sheet is 250 Newton or about 25 kg (55 lb).
With pressure or speed control, closing the inlet cone is all that is required. With the use of speed control, the superordinate system must increase the speed. Whereas in case of a pressure control, the failure will be recovered automatically, within the fan’s performance limitations.
The solution is to change the master fan by using the measurement tubes from a different fan. This can be achieved by changing the wiring of the measurement tube. Therefore it is recommended to make all circular measurement tubes accessible from the outside. The air tube must be plugged from the master fan’s measurement tube to another fan’s tube.
Following a fan failure the ECFanGrid can be back in operation within approximately 15 minutes.
For example, take a 2×2 ECFanGrid with constant air flow control 25.000 m3 /h (14,715 cfm) with a selection of covering one fan failure. The key for the selection is to check if three fans are able to maintain the operating point. When a failure occurs, it is detected by evaluating the alarm relay of the EC Fans, as discussed previously. At this point, the Building Management System is displaying an alarm and the duty officer goes on site to check which of the four fans has a malfunction. They proceed to close the cone by screwing on the reinforced, sealed metal sheet. If it is a master fan failure, they would additionally change the measurement tubes. The duty officer must also increase the set point to maintain the designed operating point. The black vertical line in the diagram below is the required air flow per fan. The demanded total operating point is 25.000 m3 /h (14,715 cfm), which in turn is 6.250 m3 /h (3,679 cfm) per fan. The intersection between this line and the blue curve is the regular set point, which should be adjusted in case of no failure. In this example, one fan failure would mean the number of fans is reduced to three. Now, the set point of the intersection between the black vertical line and the red curve (representing 3 fans) should be set. Finally, the duty officer changes the set point from 600 Pa (2.4 Inches) to 1.050 Pa (4.2 Inches).
The ECFanGrid can be used in numerous applications due to its adaptability. Below are several examples of retrofitted ECFanGrids that replaced large single fans
in air handling units (AHUs). The different sizes and configurations highlight the flexibility of the ECFanGrid.
achieving upgraded system efficiencies, a successful ECFanGrid retrofit was implemented
in a 5-star hotel. Four old ventilation systems were equipped with the latest EC technology
during the renovation of a large conference room. ECFanGrids were used in various
arrangements, always optimally adapted to the cross-section of the existing AHU. The
technical rooms which housed the old HVAC system were very cramped with the old and
large belt driven system. Due to the compact design of an ECFanGrid Retrofit, the upgrade
was easily implemented and left a large amount of space for the future servicing and
Axair supply the complete ECFanGrid kit which includes all mechanical parts: fans, wiring cabinet, grid construction and screws. We hold stock of all components
to ensure short lead times and, on request. We will also supply the control cable, pressure hose, connectors and other ancillaries.
If you would like us to specify an ECFanGrid for your application, please complete our retrofit enquiry form with the necessary details and send it to
[email protected]. One of our team of product sales engineers will be in contact.
and inefficient with a motor that was regularly defective due to imbalance in the fan shaft
system. The solution was a highly efficient 6×3 ECFanGrid featuring nine fans. The future
expansion plans of the factory could then also be taken into account to pick up on the
additional duty as the existing airflow could be doubled by adding an additional nine fans.
A preventative retrofit of old fans not only protects against failure. Modern energy efficient
fans save energy, CO2 and reduce overall maintenance and operating costs.
ECFanGrid is a multiple fan array designed to improve reliability, flexibility and efficiency in new or existing ventilation systems
Designed to increase energy efficiency by up to 6% and reduce noise by 3 decibels
Significantly increases energy efficiency and reduces operating noise levels
Pressure orientated and sound optimised modular to increase energy efficiency
Geoff has a background in engineering and many year’s experience in air movement. The next generation in the family business, he is passionate about delivering the best solution to our customers. His main focus is to drive down customer energy costs, improve system efficiencies and provide products that are easy to install and maintain.
What is a Multiple Fan Array? A multiple fan array is exactly as it sounds, instead of running a large single belt drive as the work horse of the ventilation system, multiple fans are used in parallel to one another. This can be any configuration that is needed to achieve the overall system duty. You […]
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Darnells Limited, a mechanical and electrical specialist based in Oxford were awarded the contract for a multi-site AHU retrofit project. Three sites located in Bicester, Kidlington and Spiceball required multiple air handling units upgrading to futureproof their ventilation systems and to reduce energy consumption across the sites. Initially the sites HVAC systems featured 7 old, […]
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Continuous and consistent airflow is essential in most facilities, making under-performing or unreliable fans simply unacceptable. In addition to reliability concerns, inefficient fans can be a buildings biggest energy consumer. Learn more about our EC FanGrid solution below. What is an ECFanGrid? An ECFanGrid is a simple, complete kit of parts for new or […]
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