Canadian Poultry Magazine

Poultry barn ventilation systems update

By Treena Hein   

Features Poultry Equipment

The latest inlets, exhaust fans and more.

Many of the ventilation systems Hog Slat offers improve control during cold weather by using minimum-speed fans. Photo: Hogslat

If anyone has a finger on the pulse of ventilation in poultry barns, it’s Steve Ford. He’s the senior research engineer and manager at the Bioenvironmental and Structural System (BESS) Laboratory at the University of Illinois. It’s where experts conduct research and product testing of agricultural equipment to aid producers in purchase decisions and equipment manufacturers in developing better products.

While poultry barn ventilation systems encompass more than fans, fans are obviously integral. Ford notes that, in the past, virtually all large summer ventilation fans were single-speed, belt-driven fans. “However, several manufacturers have begun to sell direct-driven, variable-speed fans in this market segment,” he says.

This is due to many factors, such as costs coming down and the fact that, because these fans can operate at the required shaft speed without belts, pulleys and pillow block bearings, they have fewer mechanical parts to maintain. “These fans typically provide higher cubic feet per minute per watt at full speed than similar single-speed, belt-driven fans,” Ford adds. “Since they are variable-speed, they can smoothly transition from the mild weather ventilation rates up to maximum summer ventilation rates.”


Ford believes that, due to the higher cubic feet per minute per watt they provide, multiple variable-speed ventilation fans will become more common. During times of reduced ventilation, producers can operate sets of these fans at partial speed, he says, using less power to move the same amount of air than a lesser number of similar single-speed fans would.

Nicholas Wilson, poultry products manager at Canarm AgSystems, agrees that as more high-tech automated-environment poultry barns are constructed, producers are prioritizing energy efficient ventilation systems.

For its part, Chore-Time believes that, in addition to variable speed control and energy efficiency, the biggest advancement in ventilation fans over the last few years has been the move to corrosion-resistant materials, similar to those seen in circulation fans.

It can be difficult for producers to sort through what’s available on the ventilation system market. For that reason, Canadian Poultry spoke to leading manufacturers about the latest features and what sets their systems apart.

What’s new
Many of the ventilation systems Hog Slat offers improve control during cold weather by using minimum-speed fans, sales manager Scott Bauck explains. “Instead of using typical voltage regulation with an AC motor, our brushless DC motor uses internal electronics to read a signal from the house controller and constantly adjust motor RPM,” he says. “The result is precise minimum fan speed to reduce energy usage, even with changing environmental conditions such as headwinds and static pressure.”

The DACS ventilation system, with its Corona inlet and HE740 exhaust system. Photo: DACS

The DACS ventilation system features the Corona inlet, which provides precise mixing of all incoming air, explains the company’s owner and head of sales Niels Dybdahl. Therefore, only preheated air enters the barn. “The Corona is an active fan-assisted air distribution unit and it is the fan that actively sucks the air trapped under the roof and distributes it in the barn,” he notes.

“When the baffle in the Corona chimney starts to open, small portions of outside air pass to the fan where it is mixed with larger portions of warm room air. The more the baffle opens, the more outside air passes to the fan, but the mixing percentage ensures that the air leaving the Corona inlet will always be preheated.”

Dybdahl points to tests that show that by incorporating warm air in the roof space into the DACS ventilation system, 10 kW of heat is typically obtained for each 1 kW of electricity used. This cuts overall heat consumption by as much as 70 per cent.

The Omniflux air inlet from Chore-Time features four louvers that can be positioned to direct airflow independently of each other. Photo Choretime

The Omniflux air inlet from Chore-Time features four louvers that can be positioned to direct airflow independently of each other. The sliding polyurethane plate adjusts the size of opening to control air speed regardless of louver direction, and the guide system prevents the sliding plate from jamming and makes cleaning easier. Seals are resistant to wear, stretching and shrinkage, even at low temperatures.


A ceiling inlet from Munters’ ventilation system. Photo: ruby360

The BI Series bi-flow ceiling inlet from Munters has an all-new aerodynamic design created using software modeling. “Airflow is maximized over the entire static pressure range and flow direction is precisely controlled,” explains product manager Scott Mulka. “Performance of your ventilation system is improved with a fresh supply of preheated air.”

Inlets in the BI Series include those with mechanical control and air actuated-control using adjustable constant-force springs, allowing full control of static pressure and making it easy to compensate for ceiling pitch. The doors seal tightly, preventing humid air from entering the attic space.

“An added feature of the air-actuated model is an optional mechanical override,” Mulka says. “All inlets close together using a simple hand winch or an actuator when transitioning to full tunnel ventilation.”

Cumberland Poultry’s Komfort Kooler with Unitized RollSeal Sidewall System. Photo: Cumberland Poultry,

Cumberland Poultry’s ventilation system includes modular insulated ceiling air inlets. They pull more temperate air from the barn attic, as opposed to sidewall inlets, “which pull cold winter or hot, humid summer air,” Canadian national sales manager Doug Martin explains.

The Munters ZEW2900 sidewall inlet is designed for very cold external temperatures below -10°C. Thus, it significantly reduces the formation of ice and reduces energy costs by forgoing forced ventilation and creating a uniform temperature through gearing the minimum air rate to the birds’ requirements.

Exacon offers the direct-drive variable-speed Magnum 58 and 54 V-Plus Cone exhaust fans in its ventilation system, with magnet motors that eliminate the need for greasing bearings and changing belts. They operate from minimum ventilation to maximum power, eliminating the need for smaller additional fans.

In addition, Exacon president Mark Relouw says the TPI wall and ceiling inlets they offer have been improved to make incoming air flow more even and easy to manage at all times of year. What’s more, their unique polyurethane formula offers “very high insulation value.”

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