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A Customized Application for Greenheck Fan


OriginLab's Application department, in cooperation with Greenheck Fan Corporation, has developed a custom fan curve application and interface to replace an existing and cumbersome interface and set of Fortran routines. Greenheck Fan Corporation is the leading manufacturer of air movement and control equipment, and offers the industry's most comprehensive selection of commercial and industrial ventilation equipment.

The Problem

Greenheck engineers develop a broad range of high quality products that can be found in commercial, institutional and industrial buildings around the world. All Greenheck products are supported by fan performance data that are derived from air, sound, water penetration, leakage, pressure drop, and vibration testing, depending on the type of product, in accordance to independent third party criteria. This data and fan performance curves generated from it need to be readily accessible to Greenheck's applications engineers for troubleshooting, customer inquiry, and catalog development.

In the past, multiple Fortran programs were used to create the performance curves. These routines then wrote the curves to output fan curves using a process that ended with a physical printout, which was then scanned to create a file that could be used for catalog development. This cumbersome process offered no chance to customize the curves (i.e. change line weights, colors, etc.) or make any changes without starting from scratch.

One customization that became essential was the ability to add dual metric and English units to the axes. The inflexible nature of the Fortran programs, coupled with this new requirement, convinced Greenheck to look for an alternative.

In order for this new solution to work it had to be more efficient than the Fortran programs. It also had to include the ability to export the results to specific file formats, thereby eliminating the additional step of scanning the fan curve printout to obtain a soft copy. Finally, it had to be customizable to allow Greenheck to include their fan logic within the program.

After looking at several options, Greenheck chose Origin. The company's decision was based on Origin's programmability (including its development environment), flexibility in template creation, ability to create multiple linked axes in a graph window, multiple graphical output formats (PDF and EPS in particular), and database connectivity.

How Origin Was Used

Using Dialog Builder and Origin C, OriginLab's Applications department, in cooperation with Greenheck Fan, created a dialog that presents a series of options that allow the engineer to chart the performance of a particular fan. Once a chart has been created, the applications engineer has the opportunity to visualize the output before finalizing it. Once finalized, the engineer can create output in the form of vector files that can be used in desktop publishing and adjusted after the fact for aesthetics. Each completed chart can be referenced later to determine which size fan is needed to move the required amount of air for a particular project.


Fan Performan Curve Result

Figure 1 - Fan performance curve for a forward curved utility blower. This graph represents a comparison of how much air the utility blower moves (cfm, cubic feet per minute) at varying resistance (static pressure). Each red line depicts the fan spinning at a different RPM.

About Greenheck Fan

Greenheck Fan Corporation is a manufacturer of commercial and industrial ventilation equipment. Their product lines are: Fans and Ventilators, Make-Up Air units, Dampers, Louvers, Energy Recovery Units, Centrifugal and Vane Axial fans, and Kitchen Ventilation Systems.


Tim Schotz works in the Marketing Communications department. The department's small group works closely with the applications engineers in each business unit to develop their product-related material in print and electronic forms.

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