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Cooling the equipment that keeps us well

  
  
  
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by Todd Cardillo, Market Mager -Industrial

ebm-papst Inc. has provided air-moving solutions  for medical equipment and  devices for decades. Beyond the UL, CSA, CE, EMC and other quality standards that our industrial customers must meet, medical equipment and device manufacturers must comply with FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) requirements. 

When new products are brought to market or existing ones are modified, FDA approvals play a critical role in our customers’ qualification processes.  The FDA tests and regulates medical devices and equipment – ensuring they are safe and effective for human use. This type of testing can be expensive and lengthy. Medical equipment components need to be tested for robustness and extended life expectancy. 

Since most medical devices incorporate electronics that generate high levels of heat, these frequently require internal fans or blowers. This is where we’ve applied our expertise. 

As one example, several of our axial fans are used within a computed tomography (CT) scan machine. Some of the fans are located in the gantry portion of the scanner, which rotates at a high velocity. For this application, our fans need to reliably operate at up to 75 G forces to cool the gantry during motion.  To address the air flow needed for controlling equipment ambient temperatures, as well as acoustic noise and environmental requirements, it’s crucial that the optimum air moving device is chosen at the beginning stages of any medical equipment project. 

For more details on the ebm-papst products available to cool medical equipment and devices, visit the medical equipment applications area in our Market Solutions Tool.

About Todd Cardillo
At ebm-papst Inc. for more than 18 years, Todd enthusiastically embraces his current role as Market Manager for the Industrial market. He continuously builds new relationships and strives to deepen interactions with existing customers. Todd’s commitment to the company drives him to thoroughly educate customers on ebm-papst’s product offerings, while at the same time learning all he can about each customer’s business applications. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. When not at work, Todd treasures his time with his 3 adventurous children – engaging in triathlons, mountain biking, adventure races, skiing and traveling.

 

Fan Noise: How to Control Air Turbulences

  
  
  

 

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Turbulence. It happens. Luckily, ebm-papst has a solution for noisy systems.

If you’ve tossed and turned at night, unable to sleep because of humming sounds from your home’s air conditioner, you know these noises are intolerable. That same distraction from a heating or A/C system can strike anywhere… in the office, at the store, at a restaurant.

But did you know that it’s usually the turbulence in an air-moving system – not the components – that makes your ears ring?

Fans are an essential part of today’s refrigeration, air conditioning and ventilation systems.  They are designed and tested to minimize noise in thousands of applications. However, there are wide differences in how fans are installed and configured, the conditions in which they operate, and their location within the air system. These variables can create air inflow and outflow disruptions that raise the ‘loudness level.’

For example, the housing walls of rectangular heat exchangers can generate a backflow that creates pressure fluctuations on the fan blade. These turbulence ‘vortexes’ drastically increase a fan’s low-frequency (tonal) noise. While it’s not possible to compensate by changing the fan itself, it is possible to straighten the flow of air moving into the fan and balance the pressure of air moving out of the fan.

FlowGrid

Over the past few years, ebm-papst has developed two passive add-on devices — the FlowGrid air inlet grill and the AxiTop diffuser. In distinctive ways, each improve how air moves into and out of our axial and centrifugal fans.

The FlowGrid air inlet grill has a straightening effect on the inflowing air, reducing acoustical levels and considerably reducing tonal noise.

In a condenser application, fitted with an axial fan, the FlowGrid air inlet grill reduces overall sound levels by 3.9 dB(A) and tonal noise by 16 dB. In a low profile (250 mm diameter) air conditioning device, the FlowGrid reduces sound levels by 2.5 dB(A) and reduces tonal noise by 9 dB.

Condenser Sound Measurement Chart

This graph shows actual results of sound measurement performed on a condenser. The air inlet grill achieves a significant reduction in sound pressure levels and considerably weakens tonal noise.

 

 

 



While FlowGrid works to reduce low-frequency noise on a fan’s inlet side, the AxiTop diffuser reduces mid-frequency noise on the fan’s discharge side. How does this work? AxiTop operates like a reverse nozzle, increasing pressure and significantly reducing discharge losses. Efficiency increases and operating noise decreases.

Using both AxiTop and FlowGrid on a condenser fitted with a 31.5 inch (800 mm) axial fan, with outside air drawn through a heat exchanger, we’re able to reduce the fan’s noise level by 5.8 dB(A) and tonal noise by 20 dB.

Third Octave Band Sound Power
Setting new standards for their quiet, energy-efficient operation, both devices are advancing technology and creating ideal operating conditions for fans. As a result, we can all sleep better!

Contact our application engineer for additional information at 860 674-1515 or by e-mail at sales@us.ebmpapst.com.

The lights shine bright in Las Vegas!

  
  
  

Las Vegas - one of the most illuminated cities in the world - hosted 600 exhibitors and close to 40,000 attendees at this year’s LIGHTFAIR International Trade Show and Conference held June 3-5. 

ebm-papst showcased active cooling solutions for a variety of lighting markets. Innovators as Pathway Lighting, LF Illumination, Alterlume, Spectrum Lighting, NBL, Atlantic Lighting and Century LED provided examples of our contract manufacturing capabilities. We displayed a wide array of fans including our radial impellers, axial fans and FlatPak blowers.

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More than 1,000 attendees visited our booth, seeking reliability and long life span, ingress protection and energy efficiency in the systems that cool their lighting applications. The ebm-papst team demonstrated how our products exceed expectations for all three criteria.  Visitors were also impressed with our industry leading 7 decibel active solution for high powered light engines produced by Xicato, CREE, Bridgelux, Philips and other- LED OEMs.

Talking about trends, this year’s show reinforced what we’re already seeing in the marketplace: Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology will become the norm for virtually every light fixture over the next decade. Our active cooling solutions, which dissipate heat directly from the core of LED modules, are becoming more and more popular for high-powered LED lamps used in concert halls, museums, places of worship - as well as retail and architectural venues. Technology is also improving for LED drivers, which regulate the level of power to an LED or string of LEDs based on changing energy demands and operating environments. 

Want more information on the cooling solutions ebm-papst can offer your high-tech, high heat lighting applications?
Visit the SSL/LED lighting section in our Market Solutions Tool!

To learn more, please contact Steve Berestecky at ebm-papst Inc.

Every Day is Green Day at ebm-papst

  
  
  

In keeping with our company’s GreenTech philosophy, Thursday June 5 was our annual GreenDay celebration. Throughout the week, employees contributed to several “green” pursuits. Encouraged to gather recyclable items from home, employees brought in an array of items including electronics waste, CFL & LED light bulbs, household batteries, and scrap metal. The collection yielded 36 CFL and LED light bulbs; 32 pounds of household batteries; 585 pounds of scrap metal; 1,401 pounds of electronics and more than ten TVs. These items were combined with the company’s regular recycling efforts. 

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In addition to our year-round recycling campaign, employees brought personal paperwork from home for shredding. We gathered half a ton of paper - equivalent to 8 trees. So far this year, ebm-papst has saved 138 trees by recycling 8.1 tons of paper!

To benefit the SPCA of CT. We donated 133 pounds of old blankets, sheets and towels for re-use in animal shelters.

Recycling old textiles, those not fit for re-use, was the one effort that remained elusive. Regrettably, we could not find an organization in Connecticut that would recycle old textiles even after contacting the Town of Farmington, as well as SMART (Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles). In the mid-1990s when I lived in San Jose, CA,
I recall the weekly curbside recycling collection included textiles (and these collections continue today - 20 years later).   

Our Green Week concluded with a crew of volunteers cleaning up a heavily used area of the Farmington River. The employees collected 50 pounds of trash & recyclable containers, another 40 pounds of scrap metal, and a truck tire. Like our last two GreenDay clean ups, there is always plenty of trash to be collected if you want to find it!

To learn more about this topic, please contact Phil Hartman at ebm-papst Inc.

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About Phil Hartman

Phil Hartman, ebm-papst Senior Director – Marketing, is a fan of the company’s GreenTech philosophy of developing innovative products that meet our customers’ needs while at the same time offering increased energy efficiency & more eco-friendly processes with each new product generation.  In his 26 years with ebm-papst Inc. including locations in San Jose, CA and Farmington, CT, he has held several positions in the sales and marketing departments and has experienced exciting changes affecting ebm-papst, our customers and the markets we serve.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Hartford.  In his free time, Phil pursues outdoor activities year round.

4 Key Trends for Data Center Cooling

  
  
  

Takeaways from AFCOM's Data Center World Conference

Data center professionals continuously seek more efficient ways to cool and ventilate their expanding data centers. Every year, ebm-papst showcases its cooling solutions at the industry’s premier trade event — AFCOM’s Data Center World Spring Global Conference.  One of our key R&D ‘listening posts,’ AFCOM keeps us ahead of the curve in developing the most efficient GreenTech products for future data centers. More than 200 exhibitors, 1,000 attendees and dozens of presenters attended this year’s show.

AFCOMInsight #1: Up your game to meet changing requirements.
Industry trends tell us that over the next 10 years, Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) will become an integral discipline for data center owners and managers who want to expand and reduce costs. Product suppliers must provide DCIM ready products with features not only to help their data center clients control their energy use but also help them implement and manage predictive failure and recovery protocols for their facilities.  Our EC Greentech products include DCIM ready features above industry standards – leaving system designers and architects with variety of options.

Insight #2: New power configurations = greener operation.
More than half the power brought into many data centers is ‘lost’ to tasks like cooling before it arrives at these systems’ processors or hard drives. As a result, data center ventilation and cooling systems will move to electronically-commutated (EC) solutions, which better manage changes in the data center’s heat, boost cooling efficiency and compactness.

Insight #3: Location, Location, Location.

To provide free cooling benefits, data centers’ locations will be increasingly important. The owners of very large data centers will design brand new data centers tasked to provide the most efficient cooling available. Medium to small owners will begin to co-locate their data centers.

Insight #4: When, not if, Mother Nature strikes.HyBlade Bundle

Even good UPS systems can’t provide backup power forever. Over the past few years, storms in the Northeast, tornadoes in the Midwest and earthquakes in California have forced data center owners to re-review their disaster recovery plans.

Increasingly, data centers are sharing loads across geographically dispersed locations, preventing a single natural disaster from bringing a system down. While this is a more robust solution, it also increases complexity and costs. Others are examining how cloud services can offer a certain level of continuous backup to preserve highly critical data.

As we control our impact on the environment and maintain the keystones of our nation’s IT infrastructure, we continue to make data center operations more efficient. Data Center World is where we source pertinent feedback that fuels ebm-papst’s newest GreenTech EC products working seamlessly with today and tomorrow’s DCIM systems.

To learn more about this topic, please contact Joe Landrette at ebm-papst Inc.

Electronics by The Sea: Three Productive Days at Del Mar

  
  
  

Coinciding with projected growth of 2-9% in Southern California’s electronics market over the next five years, the Del-Mar Electronics and Design Show has become one of the region’s premier trade shows, which was held from April 28 - 30.  ebm-papst was among the annual exhibitors, which included 250 participants covering 440 booths. Mechanical design and fabrication companies, molders using various plastics and laser marketing and cutting manufacturers were among the vendors in attendance. With about 4,000 visitors (up by 33 percent over two years), the show continues to gain momentum.

ebm-papst featured fan designs and systemIP68 BlogGraphic 300px configurations for air movement in high-performance electronic devices and the infrastructure that supports them and highlighted its IP68 products and LED Active Cooling Solutions. The exhibit also included RadiCal impellers, with a new blade design, that offer a higher level of efficiency compared to former backward curved impellers.

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High taxes and extensive environmental regulation continue to be issues for California-based electronics manufacturers and suppliers. However, optimists predict the costs of offshore production, transportation and unreliable production schedules may soon bring a portion of the world’s electronics manufacturing back to the U.S. If you’re a customer who wants closer connections to your supply chain, that’s very good news!



How High Efficiency Condensing Gas Boilers Work

  
  
  
DaveHillburn 110x135by Dave Hillburn, Business Development Manager - Heating

Whether they’re used for home heating, supplying a university building with hot water, or warming the turf on a football field, condensing gas boilers are the most efficient way to heat water in a hydronic heating system. Although common and used daily, most people are uncertain about the basic principles and components of these systems. With that in mind, the following is a review of how high efficiency condensing gas boilers work: the basics of combustion, the meaning of high efficiency in terms of boiler operation, and   types of components in a condensing gas boiler.

Combustion basics
Combustion is an exothermic reaction (meaning it gives off heat) that occurs when you rapidly mix air and fuel in the proper ratio. Air mixed with hydrocarbons such as natural gas, oil, and propane, produces in heat, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. These are commonly referred to as products of combustion, and make up the flue gases that exit the boiler via the flue or chimney.

What is a high efficiency condensing gas boiler?
Boilers have been used in hydronic heating systems for hundreds of years to create and move hot water through pipes and deliver heat. These systems differ from furnaces in that they move water instead air through them.  Until about 25 years ago, home heating boilers were mid-efficiency (80-85%) products with flue gas temperatures typically around 350°F. In a high efficiency boiler, the flue gases are usually around 135°F and efficiencies of 95% or greater can be achieved. This difference in flue temperature is where high efficiency boilers get part of their extra efficiency; extracting more heat from combustion out of the flue gases and putting it into the hydronic system. In fact, these products are so efficient and pull so much heat out of the flue gases that the water vapor in these gases actually cools and condenses, changing state from vapor to liquid. Hence, the name condensing gas boiler.

The other facet contributing to the high efficiency of condensing gas boilers is the combustion air fan can fully modulate its speed as compared to a single stage, full on or off, device found on typical mid-efficiency boilers. This modulation means the blower can adjust its speed to the varying input rates needed during the fall and spring months. Therefore, the boiler input rate can better match the demand of the heating system. Consider your conventional mid-efficiency boiler as a car with only two speeds: full on or off. In contrast, a high efficiency condensing gas boiler, with a fully modulating ebm-papst blower, is capable of running at full on, off, or any speed in between. The result is a more efficient boiler and meets the demand of the system, even when the full heat input isn’t needed.

Components of a high efficiency condensing gas boiler
Now that we understand the combustion process and the basic concepts of a high efficiency condensing gas boiler, let’s take a look at the components that make up the boiler system.

BoilerSystem 750pxHeat Exchanger: Commonly made up of either stainless steel or aluminum, this is where heat is transferred from the combustion process into the water, and then moved through the hydronic system.

Premix Gas Blower: Delivers premixed air and fuel to the burner where combustion takes place.

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Venturi Mixer:
A channel through which combustion air travels and induces negative pressure on the gas valve, allowing gas to flow and mix with the air in the blower.

Gas Valve: Responds to the pressure signal from the venturi and controls the flow of gaseous fuels into the system. It also acts as a safety shutoff; closing off the flow of fuel if the boiler is not running.

Condensate Collection System (Not Shown): This system safely collects the condensate formed in the heat exchanger and removes it from the system.

Boiler Control (Not Shown): An electronic module that monitors the safety limits and general operation of a condensing gas boiler.

These systems work together in balance to control the combustion process and heat input into the hydronic system. At the heart of the system, the premix gas blower, constantly modulating and adjusting to meet the demand of the application. The next time you’re looking to upgrade or replace your existing boiler you now have an understanding of the basic principles behind these devices and can make the engineer’s choice, a boiler with ebm-papst on the inside.

About Dave Hillburn
Dave Hillburn works with ebm-papst customers to incorporate the right system solutions into their residential and commercial heating applications. With seven years hands-on experience in combustion design, he helps optimize these systems’ output and energy efficiency. A graduate of Central Connecticut State University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Dave enjoys playing drums and guitar, sports and travel.

What’s that fan doing in my food chain? Part 3

  
  
  
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by Tom Costello, Market Manager  Appliance & Heating GasRefrigerator 300pxTall

Our three part series on “What’s that fan doing in my food chain?” ends with the preservation of food in our homes!

Since the early 1900s, the refrigeration of perishable food in our home has been possible with appliances designed and manufactured by pioneering companies like Kelvinator and Frigidaire. Initially, these appliances were limited in size and performance, but today they are at the heart of our kitchen. These modern-day appliances are offered in a variety of sizes, colors, and style in primarily three combinations: refrigerator and freezer, refrigerator only, or freezer only. 

The typical set-point temperature for the refrigerator (37 F to 41 F) and freezer (-9 F to 0 F) are vastly different yet the cooling system behind them is the same. The theory behind the cooling cycle is based on two coils, a compressor, and coolant that are able to transfer energy with the assistance of two fans located at the evaporator and condenser coils.

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These fans, like the refrigerator, have evolved over the decades to deliver improved air and noise performance with up to an 85% reduction in electricity consumption. Even though air-moving technology has made great strides in energy consumption, human tendencies always pose new challenges for appliance engineers.

For instance, a variety of food in various shapes and forms jammed into a refrigerator can mean poor cooling conditions unless a powerful fan can properly circulate the cool air in the cabinet.

An axial fan may be a perfect choice for the linear airflow path of the condenser coil but a radial fan may be a better choice for the evaporator coil.
It may need to move the air in a 90 degree flow path and circulate the air around
the large mass of food in the refrigerator and freezer compartments.

At ebm-papst, our fan engineers are aware of these challenges and work closely
with the appliance engineers - offering a wide selection of powerful, high quality,
low noise and low energy air moving systems.

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About Tom Costello

If it cooks or chills food, keeps us warm or improves how something’s manufactured, odds are it requires ventilation. During his 27 years in the industry, Tom Costello has supported the evolution of air movement and combustion systems for residential, commercial and industrial food service, heating and process applications. As market manager – appliance heating and gas at ebm-papst for the past 15 years, he’s helped designers, manufacturers and distributors incorporate the latest fan, blower and motor designs into their products. Tom received his B.S. in mechanical engineering technology from Northeastern University. In his free time, he enjoys golfing, scuba diving and home renovation.

What’s in our quality toolbox?

  
  
  
By Jack Derewonko, Quality Manager

What does quality encompass at ebm-papst? It’s about producing reliable fans, blowers, motors, and assemblies that meet customers’ needs.  Delivering on time. Providing outstanding service and engineering support. And, near and dear to our GreenTech philosophy, it’s about designing and manufacturing products that continually improve upon the prior generation in terms of technology and environmental consideration.

Quality systems are embedded into every department at ebm-papst that help reduce process variation, avoid waste, lower operating costs and improve efficiency. Each quality system in our company is controlled and well documented so that everyone understands and follows them in the same manner. When a new product is developed, multiple departments review it to ensure that the customer’s specifications are in synch with our internal design and manufacturing processes. During production, our corrective action systems reduce waste and scrap which conserves both energy and time.

By addressing potential risks before products are manufactured, we improve our ability to deliver on time without defects. Using a straightforward method called Failure Mode & Effects Analysis, or FMEA, we’re able to systematically review any number of processes and determine the risk factors within each that could affect quality and/or service. A successful FMEA helps us identify potential failure modes in a product based on our experience with similar products and processes. We then adjust our systems to eliminate the issues that would have contributed to that potential failure. 

Our company-wide Continuous Improvement Program (CIP) emphasizes employee involvement and teamwork to eliminate waste and boost efficiency. In continuous improvement, we take a systematic long-term approach to improving all phases of work within our administrative, sales and marketing offices, our manufacturing facility and our logistics team. Lean manufacturing tools like 5S and one piece flow are just two aspects of our continuous improvement effort. By working together to identify and work through potential problems, we may get incremental improvements over time, or a breakthrough improvement all at once. Both are great outcomes to have in our toolbox as we strive for continuous improvement along our quality journey.

 

How to tame the HVAC beast in sporting arenas

  
  
  
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By Matt Menard, Market Manager - Air Conditioning

Here in New England, it’s the beginning of spring and the bittersweet end of college basketball. And here at ebm-papst USA’s Farmington, Connecticut headquarters, we’re so proud of the UCONN men’s and women’s recent NCAA Championship wins!

While March Madness describes the NCAA basketball tournament, it’s often an appropriate description for the mechanical systems at large sports arenas in spring and summer. As I watched college teams play through the bracket this season, I also marveled at how — as temperatures in the arenas rose and fell — these systems kept pace with fans’ and players’ comfort.

Controlling the HVAC Nightmare: The Basics
Arenas have everything working against energy efficient HVAC operations. Most of the time they are empty with the lights off, requiring very little heating or cooling. Within a matter of hours, they are filled with athletes, media, employees and thousands of fans. Extremely bright lights are turned on, emitting enormous heat loads. Hundreds of cooking devices begin cooking food for concession sales. Then, within a matter of hours, the arena is back to dark and empty.

The HVAC systems installed in large arenas need to be designed for worst-case scenarios. For example, a college basketball powerhouse arena in North Carolina would size its HVAC system for 10,000 people. How does this same university operate its system efficiently when the team is practicing in January?

Building Automation
In arenas where the cooling (and heating) load can fluctuate so drastically, a well designed and commissioned building automation system is the key to efficient operation. Event scheduling and well placed temperature, occupancy and humidity sensors will allow for the system to perform where and when it needs to, ensuring efficient operation and a well-conditioned arena.

Designing and Installing an Efficient System
Whether the arena is being built new or going through an upgrade, focusing on the efficiency of the entire system is key. The design team should focus on how the entire system operates at full and partial capacities, sizing and selecting components that complement one another throughout the range of operation. Simply selecting the most efficient individual components does not equate to the most efficient system.

Utilizing Speed Controls
A 98-degree arena holding 10,000 screaming basketball (or hockey) fans in late spring or summer would result in a 100% load on the HVAC system. However, when the team is practicing in January, the load may be as low as 10% of that system’s design capacity. By utilizing speed controls such as variable frequency drives for pumps, cooling towers and chillers and EC fan technology, such as ebm-papst backward curved impellers on the air movers, sports arena managers can save enormous money on their utility bills.

“Free” Cooling and Heating
There are many ways to heat and cool without boilers or air conditioners that well designed systems can use to save money:

  • Airside economizers: when cooling is needed and it’s 15 degrees outside, why not mix in the 15 degree air to achieve the needed cooling?

  • Waterside economizers: same as airside—when it’s cold out, don’t run the chillers! Use heat exchangers to chill the water using the air that’s just outside!

  • Heat recovery: direct ‘waste’ heat from chillers, boiler flu stacks or exhaust air to preheat the domestic hot water before it enters the boiler system.

Years of trial and error (combined with the latest technologies) have taught us that the energy bill for sports arenas doesn’t have to be out of control – not as long as long as these systems are designed, operated and updated to adapt to varying schedule and heating/cooling loads.

About Matt Menard  
Matt Menard lives for the chill. With 12 years’ experience in HVAC systems, the market manager – air conditioning at ebm-papst actively supports designers’, manufacturers’ and integrators’ quest for cooling Nirvana with a wide range of air-moving products. With a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Matt enjoys skiing, golf and spending time with his wife and two children.

 

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