Engineers from industrial fan manufacturer MechCal were recognised for achievements in fan development by the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa (MVSSA) during its seventy-second annual general meeting (AGM) on April 20.
MechCal principal engineers Michael Minges and Michael Schildhauer received the society’s Best Paper of the Year award for their paper titled ‘Development of an Efficient Axial Flow Fan’, which was published in the MVSSA’s journal for the 2015 fourth quarter, volume 68.
Their paper examines the development of an efficient axial-flow fan and describes the selection of the fan performance criteria in terms of static pressure versus flow rate. A brief overview was given of the aerodynamic procedure and some computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results were presented.
Mechanical design issues were also described in the paper, including stress analysis on the rotor and designs to improve the vibration levels of the rotor. In addition, experimental test results were compared to CFD predictions and the targeted duty curve. Minges and Schildhauer’s research found that fan efficiency peaked at 80%.
The MVSSA provides a forum for mine ventilation professionals to share and improve knowledge and research into issues of mine ventilation. The society also publishes textbooks and training material, is involved in national and international conferences in the field, and publishes a regular journal.
According to the MVSSA, its members, both past and present, are considered to be global experts in the field of mine ventilation.
Minges attended MVSSA’s AGM to receive the award, where he discussed the importance of authored papers, such as his and Schildhauer’s to the mining ventilation industry. “We are proud and honoured to have received this acknowledgement by the MVSSA. The MVSSA has many important role-players as members who influence the way mines in the region are designed and ventilated,” said Minges, adding that it is important for MechCal, as a fan manufacturer, to show the industry that as a supplier, MechCal tries to keep developing and designing better products in the mine ventilation market space.
MVSSA president Neil Roman said the value of Minges and Schildhauer’s paper to the local mining industry was crucial. “While large main fans have improved in efficiency and design over the years, and energy efficiency of large fans is often subjected to intense scrutiny during selection, smaller axial flow fans used in underground mines are typically of ‘off-the-shelf’ design and of reduced energy efficiency.”
He added that a large mine may have a fleet of smaller fans that substantially exceeds the total power consumption of their main fans.