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Fans are a vital component of the thermal management process in many electronic devices. In most cases, electronic devices are designed around standard component parts, available from multiple suppliers in a price-competitive environment. Let’s discuss why customising your fans makes sense for both procurement and your business.

What can be done

As standard, fans come with two wires – power in and power out. Adding additional wires is a quick process that delivers real benefits.

  • A third wire provides measurement data. This tachometer wire gives you fan speed information that will allow you to control the fan speed, ensuring it operates at the correct speed.
  • A fourth enables Pulse Width Modulation; the ability to monitor the speed more effectively.

Here’s an example, a Sunon 40mm x 20mm 12V DC fan[1] runs at 7200RPM at nominal voltage, with an operating voltage range from 6.0 – 13.8V.  Changing the voltage to manage the speed, gives you an element of control, but only within that range. You may also face power cycling issues, particularly if you use voltage control to turn the component off and on.  PWM removes the power cycling issue, allowing you to reduce the fan speed as low as 20% of nominal RPM without having to adjust voltage supply.

  • Attach wires that are the precise length makes product assembly easier.
  • Removal of single use plastics decreases assembly times and helps the planet.
  • Packing trays that fit precisely onto your production lines reduce assembly time, particularly in automated production assembly lines.

Be aware that post-delivery modifications come with complications:

  1. The warranty may be invalidated because you make changes
  2. The integrated circuit (IC) needs to know about the modifications, or they won’t work

Overall production costs

Customising fans does add to the unit cost, but when you factor in the customisations above, the time saved quickly outweighs the additional unit costs.

Product lifetime

Running fans at constant speeds 100% of the time gives a fan certain lifetime. Reducing the speed, or even turning it off, when possible, extends the life of the fan. Extending component lifecycles can extend the life of the product for the end user.

When fans run slower, the internal temperature reduces, and the life is extended – basically because the bearing oil takes longer to evaporate. Figures show that a 10 degree temperature reduction increases life expectancy by up to 50%[2], dependent on the overall temperature of the device and components surrounding the fan.

Noise levels

Fans running more slowly make less noise. The noise can be particularly noticeable if the  device is power cycling – off and on again.

Product value proposition and Customer satisfaction

Electronic devices that last longer than expected will be viewed positively by customers. Increased customer satisfaction levels deliver multiple benefits for your business:

  • Positive reviews and recommendations
  • Repeat purchases
  • Increased brand awareness and perception

Premium pricing and profitability

Electronic devices with extended lifetimes and great performance give you the opportunity to charge premium prices, simply because the value proposition supports the price. The customisation of the fans has increased costs, but only slightly. The premium pricing opportunity increases profitability much more.


Whilst the customisations will mean design changes, we believe that the additional benefits from customising fans deliver a better total solution for your business and for your customers – a real win-win!

To talk more about how we can help you customise the fans you need, call us on 020 88550991 or click here and we will call you.

[1] Refers to Sunon EF40201B1-1000U-A99 DC fan
[2] Sunon data: Aug 2023

Originally published in Electronic Sourcing magazine earlier this year