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Solving the failure of High speed (3000 rpm) SEAL AIR FAN


In BBGS, we have six High speed (3000 rpm) Fan, in Unit 1 & 2, in which 3rd Fan in
both the unit was installed later. All these Fans have lot of problem like failure of
Bearing, Shaft, it generally run with High Brg temperature, leakage of oil etc.
These Fans were supplied by M/s Andrew Yule P Ltd.

Problems identified -

There are three main reasons for failure of these Fans –

1. Failure of bearing (mainly NDE). Running with high temperature of both

the Brg. Life of bearing is not more than 10 to 12 months. Leakage of oil
at the Brg plumer block.
2. Reverse rotation of Fan due to passing of NRV.
3. Vortex/swirl at Inlet of the Fan.

Defect analyses -

 High speed (3000 rpm) Seal Air (SA) Fan fails number of times in the past
due to various reasons. Most of the defect cannot be attended due to
improper isolation.
 Fans could not be isolated properly. Since no outlet valve was present.
Only the outlet vane made shut during isolation. So we have to isolate
each Fan by inserting GI sheet just below the NRV. NRV always passes &
cannot be fully shut. This was a challenging job. One isolating gate is
designed & fabricated indigenously. This was started at 2011. Presently
18 no. gates are fitted at different Fans. After fitting these gates all the
breakdown job now being carried out smoothly.

 Brg clearances are checked in every 6 months & renewed, if the
clearance exceeds out of range. Last year Brg consumption was 12 no.
 Leakage of oil through gauge glass & ingress of ash or coal dust is a
regular feature of this Brg. Close monitoring is required. Oiler from SKF
was fitted in the past but problem cannot be eliminated.
 Failure of Brg is a regular feature of the SA Fan. We tried split Type
grease lubricated cooper make Brg in one of the Fan. This Brg was
required to grease in every fortnightly in one Brg & half yearly at the
other. It also fails within a year – cause of Failure is not clear.

 So we asked SKF to analyse the problem. They reveal some interesting

facts. Bearing we use for this Fan is 22214 C3, it is a SPHERICAL ROLLER
Brg. Radial load on inboard (DE) Brg they calculate is 3 KN & outboard
(NDE) Brg is 0.7 KN. Assuming Outboard Brg is taking pure Radial load &
inboard Brg taking mixed Radial & Axial load.
 Failure of NDE Brg is more frequent than the DE Brg. Temperature of
NDE side Brg is more than the DE side & the oil become blackish
frequently. The minimum load requirement to avoid slippage of roller in
SKF 22214 E is 2.28 kN. Load criteria are not being fulfilled at the NDE
side. SKF suggested a Self Aligning Ball Bearing 2316 C3 with grease

 In case of Self Aligning Ball Bearing 2316 C3, there has no minimum load
phenomenon like the Roller Bearing 22214 E. Ball Bearings are always
free of minimum load criteria. This is primarily because of the fact that

ball bearings have a point contact between the balls and the respective
raceways, whereas roller bearings have line contact between rollers and
raceways. whenever there is a line contact there is a possibility of sliding
friction along with rolling friction as in 22214 E. But whenever there is a
point contact as in 2316 C3, there exists rolling friction only.

 Passing of air through NRV is one of the problems of this Fan. Reverse
rotation of Fan is a regular feature at stopped condition. In various cases
we observe that shearing of shaft is due to reverse rotation of Fan. Causing
failure of shaft. NRV which was supplied by the Fan manufacturer passes all
the time. We modified this various way. But satisfactory result not
observed. Still we try to improve the internal design of NRV.

 The Vortex / swirl at the suction duct may be one of the problems. We
observed that failure rate of the third seal air Fan erected by Support group
is lower than the other two. This is due to the straightness of suction duct.
So we modify/replace this bend with radius bend & the Inlet vane is
removed to stream line the suction air path. After removal of suction vane,
discharge header pressure increased from 1380 mm WC to 1490 mm WC
without doing any modification at Fan inside.

 Another problem which is identified is at the Fan suction cone &

the Impeller neck. This was distorted due to breakage of Fan shaft
in the past. Due to absence of detail drawing, repairing of Fan along

with the internals was very difficult. This was repaired at different
workshop by different way. We tried to restore the Fan same as the
original one. We build the suction cone & Impeller neck by trial
basis. It takes more than a month to build the optimum possible
gap between Impeller & the suction cone. Thanks for the CAD
software loaded in our departmental computer.

 After checking meticulously of the each parts of the Fan, we find

the gap persisted between the Fan bore & OD of the shaft which is
nearly 3 to 5 mm. This is observed in three Fans. It left tightened by
the lock nut in the past. Defect rectified & balanced.

Cost for renewal of Brg, Rs 75,000/-

Cost of Brgs & Plummer block Rs 55,000/-

Cost of suction duct rectification Rs. 65,000/-

Cost of NRV rectification Rs 35,000/-

Cost of fabrication of suction Rs. 10,000/-

Cost of Fan machining & Rs 25,000/-
Total Rs. 2,65,000/-

Conclusion –

Since this Fan run at 3000 rpm, we have to check all the nitty-gritty
of the Fan to find the inherent problem, otherwise this Fan cannot
run flawlessly for long time at a stretch. The above mentioned
rectification job partially done at unit 1B Seal Air Fan. Rest job yet to
be carried out. If find viable all the rest 5 no. Fan to be rectified

Subhasis Sen