Heavy-duty centrifugal fans require high reliability and first-class performance. Besides, extreme conditions and harsh environments are often encountered, such as in the papermaking process, in steel or cement plants or the chemical and petrochemical industry. Therefore, the design of high performance heavy-duty industrial fans requires robust yet efficient solutions. Previous work indicates a high aerodynamic and aeroacoustic sensitivity concerning the specific position of the volute cut-off (tongue). This effect will be further investigated, not by directly changing the orientation of the cutoff, but by varying the position of the impeller relative to a fixed volute casing. The initial evaluation is done through a numerical study of three influencing parameters, which allows the aerodynamic dependencies to be modelled using low-layer artificial networks. Subsequently, extensive experimental studies were carried out to validate the aerodynamic dependencies and also to incorporate information on the aeroacoustic performance. The obtained results show that the operating point represents the key factor in determining the optimal positioning, with qualitatively comparable dependencies found for both tested fans. From an aeroacoustic point of view, the determined optimal configuration does not necessarily coincide with the observed aerodynamic desires, so careful analysis and a reasonable compromise are required, motivating for a multi-objective optimisation process.

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