9-Step Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Equipment in Industrial Fans and Blowers
Wear and tear in your industrial fans and blowers is completely normal. In fact, it’s impossible to avoid given all of the moving pieces of parts and the often abrasive or corrosive elements moving through them. But that does not need to lead to catastrophic downtime. We put together this 9-step preventative maintenance checklist for equipment to help you avoid fan failure and save you days, weeks, or more of downtime.
Make this Checklist Your Own
Everything on this preventative maintenance checklist for equipment is important. Even though it’s numbered, the order is really not what matters. What’s critical is that you make a plan for timing and accountability specific to your application, follow through, and track your maintenance schedule so that you know your equipment and system are safe for the long haul.
1. Bearing Lubrication
You’re going to get tired of hearing this, but apparently, we can’t say it enough, because lack of bearing lubrication is the number one cause of fan failure. You must keep your bearings lubricated. Maybe they get overlooked because they’re usually covered by guards. That can have catastrophic consequences.
Make sure you set up a schedule based on a combination of your Installation and Operation Manual (IOM) and your own assessment (some can need grease even more often than recommended depending on your application) and be vigilant about following that schedule.
2. Motor Bearings & Environment
Bearings: Motors also have bearings and it’s just as important to make sure you get in and lubricate these on a schedule just like you do your fan bearings.
Environment: It is important to keep the motor clean, dry, and lubricated when in operation. If you’re not going to be operating the fan for a while, make sure you store it in a clean, dry environment so that the motor doesn’t fill up with water.
3. Drive Arrangement Tension, Wear, and Cleanliness
Belt Drive: Periodically check the alignment of the v-belt drive for tension, wear, and cleanliness.
- Make sure that the belt tension is still tight enough but not too tight.
- Check to see if there’s any dirt build-up in the belts and clean as necessary.
- Look for wear on the belts and replace them before they snap.
Direct Drive: If you have a coupled direct drive, make sure you check/adjust the coupling alignment and also grease it periodically.
4. Fan Wheel and Shaft Wear, Corrosion, and Material Build-Up
Inspect the fan wheel and the shaft for wear, corrosion, or material build-up. Use the access door to get into the fan housing and check the wheel. Clean or replace the wheel and shaft as necessary.
5. Other Metallic Component Corrosion or Cracking
Check for corrosion and cracks in all other metallic components, including the pedestal, housing, inlet box, etc. If you do see cracks, the best next step is to contact your fan manufacturer to determine if it can be repaired or if you need to replace it. Getting ahead of this kind of issue will save you supply chain headaches and delays in the long run.
6. Fastener Tightness
Check all of your fasteners for tightness. This is especially important, especially if you have vibrating sources around the fan. On fans that we complete, we mark all of our fasteners to show that they’ve been properly torqued down.
7. Shaft Seal Wear
Check the shaft seals and replace them if worn. Remember it’s a great idea to have backup shaft seals on hand so you don’t have to wait if you notice wear. If you do have them on hand, it’s a simple process to remove the nuts and plates to make the replacement, replace, and tighten the nuts again.
8. Vibration Monitoring and Control
Check the vibration isolators and flex connectors for freedom of movement. If the fan is on vibration isolators, apply pressure to make sure it’s moving freely. If it has flex connectors on the inlet or outlet, make sure there’s a little bit of wiggle and not pulled too tightly.
It’s also a great idea to install vibration sensors and check them regularly to stay ahead of any potential issues.
9. Temperature Monitoring and Control
Fans can run hot, and even when planned, it can create issues if you’re not careful. Temperature sensors can be very helpful in your effort to monitor and maintain temperature controls.
Starting Up: Always want to make sure you start the fan when it’s cold and heat it up after it’s already running. Don’t start the fan up if there’s hot gas inside the fan.
Shutting Down: If you’re running a fan that has elevated temperatures, make sure you never turn it off while it’s at an elevated temperature. Slow it down while the temperature is decreasing, and don’t turn it off until you’re at room temperature.
The Bottom Line on Your Preventative Maintenance Checklist for Equipment
Are nine steps too many to avoid costly fan failure and operational downtime? We think not! It’s way less trouble to follow a preventative maintenance checklist for equipment than to troubleshoot and replace parts after a failure. If you follow all of those maintenance checklist items, your fan should live its longest and best life.
Hear it from an Application Engineer
Chet White, Senior Application Engineer / Sales Manager runs through a demo of the preventative maintenance checklist for equipment in your fan or blower in this 3 ½ minute video. To ask questions or get more details, reach out and connect with one of our application engineers to discuss the details of your application.
Here are many related posts that might be of interest as you think about your application.
- How Long Do Industrial Fans Last? Quality, Installation, and Industrial Fan & Blower Maintenance
- Fan Maintenance
- On the Safe Side
- Fan Bearing Maintenance and L10 Life
- Fan Bearing Grease Management