Chicago Blower is one company that knows hot air – and cool air – as a matter of fact, any sort of air. Based in Michigan, its number one expertise is enabling critical systems to work by moving air via a variety of fans and blowers. Lorie Greenspan reports on the company, its history and its promising future.
If you like golden potato chips, you’ll appreciate the expertise behind the technology at Chicago Blower Corporation (CBC), whose fans keep the air moving in industrial ovens, eliminating hot spots, and making every single chip the golden color it should be.
But that is just a small fragment of the company’s business, which extends into myriad industries, from aerospace and automotive to electronics and cement production and everything in between, with fans as big as 26 feet tall and weighing 112,105 pounds – or 56 tons – used in large cement plants as dryers to take out moisture, to ones as small as 8 ¾ inches and weighing 10 pounds, used to move air in electronics equipment.
And if anyone knows fans, it’s Chicago Blower. The company has designed and manufactured pre-engineered and heavy duty fans and blowers for over 65 years. It was founded in February 1947 and began with only four employees in a small Chicago factory and now employs 125 in a 250,000-square-foot plant in Glendale Heights, Ill. This is the center of CBC’s operations, where engineering, fabrication, testing, inside sales, accounting, purchasing, and marketing come together to make it all happen.
“We’re focused on providing solutions whether through application or design. What we do best is design a product for a specific application,” said Scott Kossman, vice president of sales and marketing.
Indeed, the company has a vast reservoir of experience from which to draw and can boast some major advances in the industry. A major one occurred in 1952, when CBC became the first fan company to design and sell a centrifugal fan with an airfoil blade, making for better performance and efficiencies. CBC has been setting the industry standard ever since.
Today, the company’s air handling products are recognized in the market for their premium industrial quality and ability to serve a variety of industries and applications, including commercial, institutional and industrial installations, and original equipment manufacturers.
Products include a wide range of airfoil fans, plug fans, custom airfoil backward curved, backward inclined, industrial exhausters, pressure blowers, radial tip fans, propeller fans, tube axial and vane axial fans.
“Our equipment is designed to add extra reliability for companies using industrial boilers and burners, where critical systems could go down and air moving is needed,” Kossman says, adding, “Traditionally our field has been pollution control and dust collection for which we’ve built large human comfort air handler units.”
The Design 70
The company’s newest product is its Design 70 plug fan, featuring a wheel developed for open wheel installations. The fan utilizes a solid, single surface airfoil blade to provide Chicago’s plug fan with one of the industry’s highest efficiencies.
With reduced horsepower requirements, energy savings are significant, up to 84 percent efficient. Although the Design 70 Plug Fan has ambient air applications, it is typically utilized for temperatures up to 1000 degrees F, typically ovens, kilns, and dryers – anywhere airstreams need to be recirculated.
Fans Across The World
Employing the resources, the facilities, the technology, and, most importantly, a team dedicated to continual product improvement and the consistent capability of resolving issues with new innovative solutions, CBC has expanded from its humble beginnings into a global entity: Its products can be found all over the world with the help of more than 100 manufacturers’ representatives selling throughout the United States and Canada as well as international licensees in 23 other countries who manufacture and sell CBC’s products.
From wind tunnels in Spain to grain drying systems in India, CBC is continuously providing custom solutions to design and build the best air moving product for a specific application. CBC follows a customer’s fan throughout each stage of existence, from designing and fabricating to performance testing and field supervision. In addition, Chicago Blower fans are sold and serviced by air movement professionals. As the company’s motto says: “We want you to enjoy doing business with us.”
“Because we’re moving air we’re at the heart of most processes,” Kossman stresses. “If you’re not moving air that process isn’t happening.”
And so, if your company has a critical need to move air, it’s Chicago Blower’s expertise you want – otherwise, your operation is in the doldrums.