Continuously monitoring the operation of each individual fan can significantly improve the measurement quality of aerial pollutant emissions from animal buildings that have a large number of fans. To monitor the fan operation by detecting the fan vibration is a relatively new technique. A low-cost electronic vibration sensor was developed and commercialized. However, its large scale application has not yet been evaluated. This paper presents long-term performance results of this vibration sensor at two large commercial layer houses. Vibration sensors were installed on 164 fans of 130 cm diameter to continuously monitor the fan on/off status for two years. The performance of the vibration sensors was compared with fan rotational speed (FRS) sensors. The vibration sensors exhibited quick response and high sensitivity to fan operations and therefore satisfied the general requirements of air quality research. The study proved that detecting fan vibration was an effective method to monitor the on/off status of a large number of single-speed fans. The vibration sensor itself was $2 more expensive than a magnetic proximity FRS sensor but the overall cost including installation and data acquisition hardware was $77 less expensive than the FRS sensor. A total of nine vibration sensors failed during the study and the failure rate was related to the batches of product. A few sensors also exhibited unsteady sensitivity. As a new product, the quality of the sensor should be improved to make it more reliable and acceptable.
air quality; animal agriculture; emission; measurement; MEMS; ventilation rate
Date of this Version
Chen, Y.; Ni, J.-Q.; Diehl, C.A.; Heber, A.J.; Bogan, B.W.; Chai, L.-L. Large Scale Application of Vibration Sensors for Fan Monitoring at Commercial Layer Hen Houses. Sensors 2010, 10, 11590-11604.