Award-Winning Marine Fan Blade Design
“Caframo is in the business of manufacturing innovative fans and heaters for different retail markets and when we needed help to design and develop our latest marine product - the Taku Hatch Fan - we selected Design 1st. Their designers and engineers demonstrated the right creativity and technical understanding. With their CAD and modelling tools they were able to address the numerous design challenges encountered with this type of product. The end result of our collaboration was an easy-to-install, powerful marine hatch fan - unlike any on the market - that quickly and efficiently exhausts stale, hot cabin air to improve boaters’ comfort. Although working 750 km apart, we only needed to meet face to face twice. Design 1st managed the product design process very well which freed up our business team to prepare for market sales. Using the Design 1st online whiteboard tools we met weekly, reviewed the evolving design and this ensured timely decisions were made. The result is an award winning product, the market has really embraced.”
Mike Tettenborn, Director of Engineering
For many boaters, comfort means any way to stay cool on hot days. Whether it’s the galley, salon, state room, V-berth or fly bridge - stale, hot air gets trapped in these areas and on windless days this can mean an uncomfortable and hot environment.
When onshore the temperature in a closed boat can get stifling. The key to immediate relief of the uncomfortable effects of excessive cabin heat is air circulation. Under way and on windy days, hatches provide the best way to circulate air. On windless days or after a day at the beach in a tropical clime – below deck cabins need a huge blast of air to circulate and remove the hot air. It can take more than an hour to clear if left alone. F-A-N-S spell comfort and many boaters use them creatively - temporarily putting them on cabin tables, stairs and walkways to deal with the cabin air flow challenge.
Already a successful manufacturer of marine heaters and fans, Caframo approached Design 1st in early 2012 with a concept for a new high power hatch fan that had several user requirements as well as spatial and environmental constraints. Less than six months later they were heading into production.
An early engineering design was absolutely necessary to understand the boundaries of the solution before starting the concept design. This technically challenging product would need to address the need for powerful air flow in extreme conditions such as in the summer when boaters arrive to find cabins superheated to upwards of 50°C. In addition, the product would also have to address other scenarios.
The first task for Design 1st was to test how effective existing fans were at blowing stale, hot air out of a hatch on a large boat. Collecting various types of fans with viable speeds and power for a boat’s electrical system – the team built a rig that could be tested on a boat. The first step was to try out the different fan designs and fan speeds. From this, the team figured out the best type of fan to use that would make it possible to quickly exchange hot air for cool air in less than one minute by opening the hatch, blowing air with the fan at target CFMs and having the cabin door at the back open.
Several elements would influence the end design of the Taku. Firstly, designing a fan is ALL about the blade design for optimal air push, efficiency, and noise reduction. Creating a mock yacht in the design studio out of foam core, the team ran thermocouples to test various alternatives to understand the challenge of how long it would take for the yacht to be cooled. Using computer fluid dynamics modeling the team ran simulations and tested the fan blade shape for the CFM required given the maximum diameter of blades.
One important piece of the puzzle was determining the CFM - Cubic Feet per Minute - of air needed to be moved to generate the fastest change in hot to cool air. You need to move a lot of air, at least 500 cubic feet of air per minute to feel any rapid relief. The target was set at 500-750CFM. The physics would decide just what was possible with the available power and the maximum blade size. The product had to fit on as wide a range of hatches as possible and this restricted the size of the fan considerably.
The size, material and physical attributes of the hatch would influence the design and engineering of the fan enclosure and mounting requirements. Design 1st and the Caframo marketing team investigated the spectrum of different types of hatches on boats and collected a depth of information including how much space was available so the team could design a product that could be used on the greatest number of hatches.
With the baseline design requirements finalized, the concept design of the fan took on features that enhanced the value to the user. The resulting Taku Marine Fan offers a high quality and powerful hatch fan that is packed with innovative and added-value features for boaters. The Taku easily and securely mounts with lock down suction cups on the underside of most standard size hatches. It also stores out of the way until the hatch is opened and then rotates down into position to work. Unique in its design to other hatch fans on the market, this versatile fan includes push button controls with 4 settings, a LED light for additional lighting and it can be swiveled 360° to exhaust air out of the cabin or to bring fresh air in.
The Taku easily and securely mounts with lock down suction cups on the underside of most standard size hatches. It also stores out of the way until the hatch is opened and then rotates down into position to work. Unique in its design to other hatch fans on the market, this versatile fan includes push button controls with 4 settings, a LED light for additional lighting and it can be swiveled 360° to exhaust air out of the cabin or to bring fresh air in.
Caframo was founded in 1955 to manufacture innovative fans and heaters for a variety of retail markets. Located on the shores of Georgian Bay in Wiarton, Ontario, Canada, Caframo is a privately owned company focused on innovation and consumer comfort. Other Caframo products include Eco-fans for wood stoves, various home and office fans, the True North AC Heater, and industry recognized 12 and 24V marine fans.
The Caframo products include Eco-fans for wood stoves, various home and office fans, the True North AC Heater, and industry recognized 12 and 24V marine fans.