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Fan retrofit promises energy savings

GERMANY: Practising what it preaches, fan manufacturer EBM‑Papst is retrofitting the ventilation systems at its 10 German facilities with its latest energy saving EC fans. 

The company estimates that by upgrading 161 systems in all it will achieve energy savings totalling around 10%.

At the end of 2022, EBM‑Papst took a close look at its own ventilation systems as part of its sustainability strategy and decided to upgrade them. 

The Breuell & Hilgenfeldt retrofit service centre handled the planning and design, while Pfänder GmbH was responsible for replacing the systems at the company’s Mulfingen headquarters.

The inventory identified 136 air handling units and 25 refrigeration plants that were suitable for retrofitting. One unusual aspect was that many of the installed fans were already working with EC motors. This was partly because the systems at the relatively new Hollenbach site only went into operation in 2007, and partly because some of the older systems had already been upgraded to the latest EC technology a few years ago. 

However, according to EBM‑Papst, replacing EC with EC also makes perfect sense from an energy point of view. Depending on the installation situation, it says energy savings of up to 12% can be achieved. 

Other advantages include easy replacement, as the installation sizes are generally identical, and the fact that no adjustments need to be made to the control cabinet because EC technology is already in use.

Using the latest generation of fans offers even more advantages, including integration into the building management system, installation of sensors to enable demand-driven use, and even data-driven added value such as predictive maintenance. In the case of the Mulfingen retrofit, gateways from EBM‑Papst neo were installed in many systems. These gateways can read the data from the fan and can monitor running times or measure current consumption, for example. 

The gateways can communicate directly to the EBM‑Papst neo cloud via LTE, enabling them to identify and exploit additional potential for savings.

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