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Hands-On

Silent fans
Range of fans for use in PC cooling
NMB Minebea’s Development Center is working constantly on improvements in fans.

The new NMB Minebea range of fans is especially quiet, and is available in three different sizes.

It’s a familiar story.

Fans that grind and squeak and yet are supposed to provide cooling for computers!
Gerhard Langner

source of the noise do you hear the inevitable sounds generated by the aerodynamics.

Trend towards bigger fans
Once the fans are installed, it’s impossible to hear them. However, in tests, measurements are often taken or sound emissions are registered immediately next to the source of the noise. Technically speaking, these are not comparable measurements but perceptions, which can differ considerably, depending on the individual concerned and their hearing capacity. Equally, the frequency or pitch of the sound plays a decisive role as to whether the sound is perceived as pleasant or unpleasant.
Technical data
Dimensions: 80 x 80 x 10, 92 x 92 x 10, 120 x 120 x 10 mm. Voltage range: 7…13 VDC Connection: three-pin plug with tacho pulse Air flow rate: 7…20 liters per second Power supply: 0.4 – 0.7 Watt Acoustic pressure free delivery below 12 dB

To put an end to this scourge of the workplace, the Minebea-Matsushita joint venture has developed a new range of fans whose noise emission is limited to a tolerable 20 dBA. A comparison would be with a tranquil bedroom during the night, and at 20 dBA, that’s even quieter. In fact, this level of sound is inaudible: it can only be measured. Only when you put your ear against the

Dipl.-Ing. Gerhard Langner, graduate engineer at NMBMinebea GmbH, Langen www.nmb-minebea.de

Therefore, it makes sense to evaluate fans only when installed in the appliance. Obstructions in the air stream, structure-borne noise and a well sound-proofed housing all have both a positive and negative impact on noise emissions. Whereas fans of 60 mm x 60 mm and smaller were used in older computers, there’s now a distinct trend to go for the bigger fans of 80, 92 and 120 mm. Larger fans necessitate significantly smaller speeds for the same airflow capacity and this results directly in noise reduction. However, the effect of the low speeds is to bring the commutation noises of the motor and the clicking noises of the electronics to the fore with standard fans. NMB Minebea’s new range of fans has this covered. The wiring has been specially developed to offset this effect, and it also proved possible to improve the efficiency of established two-phase motors. Where rubber packing is also fitted as sound-proofing at the installation stage, the noise can be further reduced by up to three decibels.

About us NMB Minebea has its headquarters in Tokyo. Annual sales exceed € 2 billion. It employs 44,000 staff worldwide. NMB Minebea incorporates more than 80 subsidiary companies and branch operations, with production sites in China, Thailand, Singapore, Germany, UK, USA and Mexico. The company produces 180 m ball bearings and more than 10 m fans for the global market per month. As well as these products, NMB leads in the production of rod end and spherical bearings, stepping motors and computer keyboards. In Europe, a comprehensive program of support and service is provided by subsidiary, PMDM GmbH, where customized products are developed up to production stage. Other procedures, such as aerodynamic simulation, ventilation measurement, noise measurement and endurance testing, are also carried out here as a customer service provision as well as for in-house development.

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PRAXIS PROFILINE – Intelligent cooling – September 2007