Air blower image courtesy of Tuthill Vacuum and Blower Systems.
If you were to drive through an industrial park in any given city, it’s likely that eventually you’d see a collection of one or two inverted silos suspended above a loading bay. Those silos would be connected to a few metal tubes, which would run away from the inverted silo and either into a building or into other silos. Nearby the tangle of tubing and the silos would be some rectangular equipment and maybe a control panel. What you’re looking at is a pneumatic conveyor system, a conveyance system that uses pressurized air to move powdered objects, granulated materials and a variety of other solid or semi-solid small particles in bulk quantities. Air blowers are often the means by which these products are moved throughout pneumatic conveyor systems.
It may be surprising to some people that air blowers can be used in contexts that don’t involve just blowing air at or near something. While they are widely used as ventilation fans, exhaust fans and in a variety of other air quality control applications, they are also used in somewhat more obscure applications as well. Pneumatic conveying doesn’t necessarily seem like the most intuitive use for an air blower, but air blowers are actually perfect for the job. Centrifugal blowers and regenerative blowers, which are characterized by their reliability and their ability to run for long periods of time, are particularly well suited for providing continuous streams of high-pressure air within pneumatic conveyance systems. Without air blowers, pneumatic conveyance would likely not be possible, which would leave industry without one of the most important non-belt conveyance technologies.
Because there are so many contexts in which air blowers are used, there is a wide variety of air blower configurations to accommodate the need. Just a few examples include radial blowers, axial blowers and direct drive blowers.