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Belt Driven vs. Direct Drive Fans

Industrial The Workplace

In any industrial environment, you need to have fans to maintain a safe and comfortable atmosphere. There’s exhaust fans, supply fans, duct fans and blowers, but there’s more than one type of each. For instance, when outfitting your work setting with fans, you’ll likely have to make a decision between the belt line variety or the direct drive type.
So what will be best for your work environment? Belt or direct drive? Here’s a look at each type:

Belt Drive

Defined: In a belt driven configuration, the motor exists independently of the fan blades and at least one belt – sometimes more – connects the motor to the fan’s moving parts.

Pro: Belt driven fans offer greater flexibility in terms of RPM speed. Generally, such fans are cheaper than direct drive fans of comparable size. They’re also typically more silent than the alternative.

Cons: More friction between moving parts, which can lead to more maintenance and higher energy costs.

Direct Drive

Defined: In a direct drive configuration, the fan motor that controls the movement of the fan blades is connected either to a shaft or fan axle. Thus, the fan blades will rotate at the same speed as the motor rotates.

Pro: Greater efficiency is the biggest pro of direct drive fan configurations. Unlike belt driven fans, there’s less energy loss because there’s a reduced amount of friction as the fan operates. There’s also no belt residue and these fans cost less to maintain, generally speaking, because belts don’t wear down and break. Additionally, they’re easier to clean.

Con: Lesser flexibility compared to belt driven fans. Also may be more expensive when similar direct drive and belt driven fans are compared side-by-side. Direct drive units are also louder than their belt drive counterparts.

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