Look around you and it is almost guaranteed that you will see, unknowingly perhaps, items that have cruised the seas and oceans of the world before coming to rest around you. Your home, workplace, your leisure time, even the very sustenance of life will, most likely, have globe trotted on its way to help maintaining and enhancing your life.
The shipping of goods around the globe is relentless, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are more than 53,000 cargo ships plying the seas and oceans, and they carry 90% of the world’s exported goods. Transporting anything, from food stuffs, household items, machinery and dangerous goods, the maritime sector has the transport solution.
Maritime shipping is economic and efficient, but it does have its own unique challenges, not least due to the vast bulk being carried ant any one time. The challenges are compounded by the potentially dangerous environment within which it operates. Seafaring needs to be warily respectful of the powerful and destructive medium in which it operates.
For the successful maritime transport of goods 3 very different areas of essentiality need to be placated, safety of the crew, safeguarding of the cargo and the preservation of the vessel. Although very different, all 3 are reliant on one essential piece of machinery, industrial fans, both axial and centrifugal.
Crew and Cargo Safety
Often operating for long periods of time away from land, crew safety, comfort and wellbeing is essential. Living and working areas need to have controlled air space. Many areas onboard a ship are potentially hazardous to the crew, the engine room for example. Faults or damage can result in the expelling of noxious pollutants into the air. Any such contamination requires efficient fan systems in order to purify and maintain air space quality.
Cargo vessels operate within temperature extremes, from tropical heat to the polar freeze, and everything in between. Maintaining conducive operating temperatures throughout the vessel is vital to ensure, not only the comfort of the crew, but also their efficiency. Fans are indispensable in controlling and maintaining temperate air quality throughout the vessel, efficiently and economically.
Cargo can be anything, much of it innocuous, container stored and low risk. However, a large amount of cargo is hazardous bulk or perishable food stuffs. In transporting such cargos, safety goes beyond that of the crew. Incorrect storage during transportation can have devastating effects for the end user.
Food stuffs require particular atmospheric conditions, which vary greatly depending on its makeup. Varying temperatures are required for differing edible commodities. Precise chilling within strict parameters must be adhered to, this often includes cargo which is deep frozen. Maintaining the required, consistent ambient temperature in the cargo spaces ensures the compliance with food safety standards. The extremes and precision of chilling cannot be achieved without the industrial fan.
Other cargos present more volatile hazards. Liquid, gaseous and chemical products are moved around the world in vast quantities and carry with them potential dangers of almost apocalyptic proportions. Gaseous cargo must remain inert by controlling temperature and pressure, chemicals and petroleum products emit toxic and volatile gasses which must be extracted and purified.
Due to these dangers, worldwide agencies have agreed regulations governing volatile and unstable substances in transport. They include: The International Maritime Organization’s International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code), which is part of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. And the European Union’s ATEX (Equipment intended for use in Explosive Atmospheres) Directive 2014/34/EU.
To adhere to these regulations equipment specifically designed for the purpose is employed. With cargos of this type, industrial fans are the key to safety. However, these fans, both axial and centrifugal, without specific design, could themselves be the trigger to a disaster. Fans require an electric current to fuel its motor, electric motors run the risk of sparking. Sparks around inflammable materials can be catastrophic.
Maintaining the safety of the crew and vessels transporting hazardous materials is a challenge. Modern industrial fan manufacturing has met this challenge with anti-sparking units. Spark resistance is achieved through electric motor enclosures, disconnection switches and the use of non-ferrous metals. These design specifics, along with the robust construction of these fans, gives them an explosion proof quality in line with internationally agreed parameters.
Navigating the seas and oceans of the globe has been mastered, ships of all sizes transport people and cargo safely and efficiently. But these bodies of water have not been entirely conquered. The vessels that keep cargo and people ensconced remain at the mercy of all the adverse elements that nature can conjure up at will.
Ships plying their trade are constantly enveloped by salt water and spray, which is corrosive. But there is more, the air contains phytoplankton, bacteria and numerous viruses. These living things are part of what makes up that help make up the chemistry of sea water. The sea air is far from being a friend to any ship. Add to this the extremes of weather to be found at sea and we begin to understand the importance of vessel preservation.
Ensuring the safety and cargo quality is wasted if the vessel in which they travel is not up to the job. Water will constantly batter a vessel, some of which will go inboard, areas need to be kept dry to limit the corrosive effects on the structure of the ship. The air is full of plankton and bacteria, all of which also has the potential to undermine the vessel’s structural integrity.
Only through the efficient use of industrial fans can nature’s destructive qualities be kept at bay. Ships are expensive items to build, maintain and run, keeping them shipshape reduces the costs of maintenance and repair, prolongs the vessels life and keeps international maritime shipping efficient and economical, all of which is dependent on industrial fans.