ebm-papst Fans, Blowers and Technology

Cycling to ebm-papst on GreenDay

Posted on Wed, Jun 26, 2013

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by Phil Hartman, Senior Director - Marketing, ebm-papst Inc.

With this year’s GreenDay theme of reducing and measuring CO2emissions we decided that one way to tackle this would be to leave some cars at home on June 5th.  This means carpooling, or getting to work by alternate transport such as cycling or on foot.  With enough participants, perhaps we could accumulate enough saved miles to make a dent in gas usage for a day. 

For me, cycling to work seemed like a good experiment since I don’t live too far from work.  A bike ride sounds easy, but before doing so I realized that a certain amount of thought had to be put into planning my route.  The most direct route (Rt 6) I normally take would put me together with cars driving at fairly high speeds in multiple lanes, going around curves, and over a small mountain; the good news is that the town recently painted bike lanes on Rt 6 where previously there were none.  On the other hand I could take a more indirect route using smaller back roads, but in many cases with no bike lanes and maybe more chances not to be seen by drivers.  In the end I decided to try my luck on the back roads to limit my exposure to high speed traffic and to avoid large intersections with multiple lanes to cross. 

I know from running that roads in the area aren’t always user-friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.  In some cases the roads either aren’t wide enough to comfortably accommodate a rider and traffic, and/or don’t have designated bike lanes, and/or the painted bike lane area is so tiny that it allows hardly any room for the runner or rider – an afterthought in road design not unlike fans sometimes being treated as an afterthought in system/cooling design!  Also there seems to be less control with cycling than with running in traffic.  While running, I face traffic and I can see what is coming at me, but with cycling the danger can be behind or perpendicular to you and you may not see danger coming - complicated by higher speeds achieved on a bike.  With either method you have to be very alert and try to be as visible as possible to drivers.  My bike ride to work opened my eyes even further to how much better roads could be designed if towns really wanted to support cycling.  There are Rails-To-Trails paths that go through Farmington which are perfect for cycling, but those paths are limited and were not useable for my commute to work from out of town.

After a very hot weekend, the morning of Green Day had perfect weather for biking to work.  While riding to work I noticed so much more detail about neighborhoods and the landscape than I do when driving.   As all cyclists and runners know, some drivers are more considerate than others when passing.  For my roundtrip, I have to say that most drivers were very accommodating and gave me adequate space when they passed.  I arrived to work energized and ready to go, and also enjoyed an invigorating ride home.

The result - I’m glad I ventured out on the bike to test the practicality of this method of transport.  I estimate that I saved approximately one gallon of gas, which may not seem like much but it all adds up especially over many people.  While cycling to work would not be practical for every day or year round commuting, there is no reason why I can’t find occasional days from spring through fall to ride to work on my bike.  It’s just a matter of planning and adjusting my schedule to make this possible, with the added benefit of reducing my carbon footprint.  If cycling to work does catch on within the company, we may have to build and install a bicycle rack to accommodate everyone – perhaps a new value added project for our manufacturing department?!

As a group using an alternative method of tranportation, we saved 275.5 miles = 12.8 gallons* of gas. And 0.114 metric tons of CO2

*Based on an average fuel economy of 21.5 mpg, from the US EPA.

Tags: Every Day is a GreenDay, GreenTech, CT, Energy Efficiency

A Green (and Sweet) Celebration at ebm-papst

Posted on Fri, Jun 14, 2013

To celebrate Year Two of our global Every Day is a GreenDay initiative— and thank employees for their contributions to improving our environment — our Farmington, Conn. headquarters hosted an ice cream social in its central courtyard on a sunny, pleasant June 5.

ebm-papst facilities around the globe planned the day to coincide with the United Nation’s World Enviornment Day. Our Every Day is a GreenDay program is just one more example of our GreenTech philosophy and how we do business year round. 

ebm-papst Inc. employees enjoy a sunny afternoon break – ice cream included - in the company’s tranquil courtyard.
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Employees receive gift bags with LED bulbs, a GreenTech sprayer and recipes to make environmentally friendly home cleaning solutions. 

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Employees receive gift bags with LED bulbs, a GreenTech sprayer and recipes to make environmentally friendly home cleaning solutions.

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Market Manager Tom Costello enjoys locally-sourced ice cream from the University of Connecticut Dairy Bar


Building on the launch of Every Day is a GreenDay last year, in May employees planted new trees around the ebm-papst campus, did a wetlands cleanup, brought paper to a company-wide shredding event and brought in their old electronics for recycling.

Joining the many employees who found ways to save energy on their commute by ride-sharing market manager Todd Cardillo powered his way in with a training run. Todd explains how he and his family are increasing their green activities at home:

Media Coordinator Julie Manning and her husband have been turning their home into an environmentally friendly haven, from recycling old kitchen cupboards for use in the garage, to installing energy-efficient appliances, to state-of-the-art, electricity-sipping lighting systems


Since the company launched its first GreenDay in 2012, Regional Sales Administrator Jessica Chaffin has taken new initiatives to save resources at home and work, including printing fewer documents (or only certain portions of a document), using both sides of a paper and consolidating customer shipments whenever possible.


Beginning this month, ebm-papst employees, partners and customers will be able to stay up to date on the company’s year-round GreenDay and GreenTech activities through the new GoGreen website, courtesy of Manager of Marketing and e-business Jamie Perkins, Marketing Assistant Meghan Finley and Media Coordinator Julie Manning.

Have an idea for our new GoGreen website? Contact us and let’s talk green!

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Tags: GreenTech, CT, Energy Efficiency

ebm-papst Inc: Careers in Engineering

Posted on Tue, Nov 20, 2012
by Scott Beauchemin, Vice President - Engineering

ebm-papst’s success in the market can partially be attributed to our dedication to maintaining engineering resources to support customer projects.  Our local technical expertise allows us to provide a level of support that most competitors aren’t able to provide.  We have several engineering departments within the organization that help make that possible.

The Applications Engineering department has the highest head count of the various engineering groups at ebm-papst.  Applications Engineers are responsible for providing technical support to all customers within an assigned geographic region. Technical support can range from helping the customer select the proper air mover for their equipment to answering basic technical questions about ebm-papst product.  Applications Engineers work with customers from various market segments including HVAC, medical, industrial, IT/ telecom, etc. The diversity of our customer base gives the engineering group an opportunity to learn about various types of equipment.  Applications Engineers also spend part of their time working in our engineering lab which consists of several air flow chambers and a semi-anechoic sound room.  Customers send their equipment to our lab for baseline testing and optimization.  The Applications Engineers coordinate this effort, help perform the tests and report the results back to the customer.  The knowledge of ebm-papst product and customer’s applications gives Applications Engineers an opportunity to advance within the company if they perform well.  The educational background for an Applications Engineer is typically a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  Since our product is very much electro-mechanical, an educational background in Electrical Engineering can also be attractive. 

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A portion of ebm-papst’s business is producing value-added assemblies for customers.  A value-added assembly can come in different configurations but it generally involves packaging a fan or multiple fans within a sheet metal assembly.  The assembly can include various other components such as connectors, filters and specific control boards.  While Applications Engineers serve as the project manager for these projects, there are three additional engineering groups that have direct responsibilities for these projects. 

The Design Engineering group is responsible for developing the value added assembly in Pro-Engineer and creating Bills of Material.  They are directly involved in working with the production floor regarding their designs.  The Design Engineer will often be seen building prototypes and working with their hands. Design Engineers will also conduct air flow modeling using Computational Fluid Dynamics software.  The goal is to optimize the air flow path in simulation so we only make sheet metal one time.  Design Engineers typically have a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering.  

The Electrical Engineering group is tasked with developing control boards that are used in conjunction with ebm-papst fans.  Members of the Electrical Engineering group will design the circuits, lay out the PCB so it can be fabricated, write software, build and test prototypes.  The controllers developed by this group are most often installed into a value added assembly but can be sold as a separate component on occasion. Members of the Electrical Engineering group generally have a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering.

The last link in the value added chain is the Manufacturing Engineering group.  Manufacturing Engineers are tasked with supporting the production floor with work instructions, developing processes for manufactured parts and creating new tooling.  We are constantly expanding our manufacturing capabilities so the Manufacturing Engineers keep busy introducing new technology to the floor.  The Manufacturing Engineers work side by side with the Design Engineering group to bring a new product into production.  Manufacturing Engineers typically have a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical or Industrial Engineering.   



Tags: Fans, application engineers, engineering, CT, Manufacturing, jobs, design

Connecticut ASHRAE chapter visit to ebm-papst brings mutual learning

Posted on Tue, Oct 02, 2012
by Phil Hartman, Senior Director of Marketing

On September 13, 40-50 members of the Connecticut ASHRAE chapter paid ebm-papst a visit in Farmington for a technical session. These sessions are held once a month from September through May; consisting of a technical session given by a host company, social hour, dinner, and presentations by the host company. They are an  opportunity for members to learn more about other companies and their products, and for the host company to showcase their expertise.

Those who arrived early were able to visit our new showroom and view our extensive range of products, including fans, blowers, and value-added assemblies.

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To start our technical session we divided into two groups for tours – one of our manufacturing area led by Brian Ladegard, Director of Operations, and the other of our test lab, including airflow and acoustic testing areas, led by Scott Beauchemin, Vice President of Engineering. 

In the manufacturing areas, participants were able to see a variety of processes, such as sheet metal punching, bending, forming, painting, assembly and end-of-line testing.

In the lab and testing areas, Scott described the testing we are capable of for air moving devices with focus on our air test and acoustic chambers.  Participants were able to see actual customer units currently being tested. 

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After the tours, the group reconvened at the Farmington Marriott for a social hour, dinner, and presentations by Armin Hauer, Advanced Technology Manager and Tom Costello, Market Manager - Heating.  Armin covered the latest fan & EC motor technology for buildings, fan efficiency metrics and the latest fan energy legislation.  Tom focused on gas component and system technology used in high efficiency residential and commercial gas fired condensing boilers, with emphasis on comparing pneumatic and electronic GARC (gas-air-ratio-control) technology.

Many thanks to Armin Hauer, an active ASHRAE member himself, for being instrumental in making this possible and for providing guidance for the content.  This was our first time hosting an ASHRAE tech session, and based on the feedback we received, the group found the tours and presentations to be informative and interesting.  It was our pleasure to host and we thank ASHRAE for their assistance and participation with this event!

Tags: Fan Technology, ASHRAE, EC motors, ebm-papst, CT

At ebm-papst, Every Day is a GreenDay!

Posted on Tue, Jun 19, 2012

Under rainy skies, a celebration of green

While last Wednesday’s showers prevented an outdoor celebration, the weather didn’t dampen our Every Day is a Green Day luncheon at ebm-papst’s US headquarters in Farmington, Connecticut. Employees have been preparing for this day by bringing their old and outdated electronic devices to the office for recycling.

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Just a small sampling of the many electronics collected this week!

Employees also took the opportunity to purchase energy efficient and environmentally friendly CFL lighting from TechniArt, Inc. and had the ability to shred personal documents with Cintas.

After eating locally-sourced hot dogs, burgers and strawberry shortcake, we learned what many employees do to be green at home and work with a trivia contest.

The winning answers:

“At work, I requested a filtration system for the Deburring Machine, and was granted... My house has energy efficient insulation, windows, faucets, thermostats on a timer set for occupancy times, no greater than 58°F. We grow our own vegetables, fruits, have a compost bin for the garbage. I have rain barrels to catch rain water for plants, a wood stove heats our house. Our town has, and we utilize, a transfer station, recycle bins. We have solar panels for hot water. We have CFLs throughout the house (inside & outside).” Thomas Dunbar, Facilities Maintenance.

“I supplement my transportation needs with an electric bicycle of my own design. Counting the 28 miles I put on it this weekend, I’ve logged over 12,300 miles on it. I use solar thermal panels of my own design to supplement my upstairs heating in the winter time. The panels use a re-programmed older revision ALU board and sample 5000 series fans from the previous decade. I drive a Smart car which has cut my commuting gas consumption in half. I’ve switched over to LED lighting in approximately half of my household.” Charles Blow, Design Engineer.

We also formally ‘threw the switch’ on the power inverter to begin converting energy produced by the new, additional 50 kilowatts of solar panels on the roof of our production facility into power for our facility for a total of 100 kw now installed. When that power isn’t needed, we’re sending excess power back to ‘the grid’.

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Flipping the switch!

ebm-papst President and CEO Bob Sobolowski and Vice President of Engineering Scott Beauchamin with Mark Waldo, president of Waldo Electric, with Waldo’s energy inverter in the plant’s power control room.



ebm-papst’s trash patrol hauls lots of junk

June 14

On Friday, the trash pickup team from ebm-papst donned tear proof clothing and braved weeds, thorns and wild animals to haul hidden trash from a public area next to Farmington River off of Route 4. Among the interesting items we found: tires and traffic cones! 

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Every Day is a GreenDay! Closing:

June 18

A closing newsletter was sent out to all employees, highlighting the winners of the trivia contest. A compilation of tips from all of the contest entries was included, to encourage the employees of ebm-papst to continue living a green life style.

Here are some different ways to expand your efforts:

  • Motion detector lights throughout the house

  • Wrap water tank to make it more efficient

  • Wash clothes in cold water and line dry them

  • Set heat to 65 degrees and AC to 80 degrees

  • Use a vegetable garden to supplement your meals

  • Bring all unwanted books to the library

  • Use a composte pile to recycle kitchen waste

  • Fill a bin with soapy water to wash pots and pans

  • Use rain barrels to collect water for a garden and house plants

  • Buy produce from local farm stands


Every Day is a GreenDay!

Tags: ebm-papst, GreenTech, CT, Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Solar Panels

ebm-papst at the FIRST® Championship: Three days of Gracious Professionalism®

Posted on Tue, Jun 05, 2012
By Bob Sobolewski, President and CEO at ebm-papst Inc.

FIRST® Championship

CTFirst resized 600What keeps ebm papst’s team – our engineering, production and marketing people – fresh and energized? Observing the creativity and fun that 30,000 motivated young people can generate over three days during a riveting robotics event that’s called “The Olympics of the Mind.”

Continuing our support of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and FIRST teams in Connecticut, from April 26-28 we travelled to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, where students, fans, families, educators and company leaders from all over the world gathered for the annual FIRST ® Championship.

More than 600 teams from 32 countries demonstrated Gracious Professionalism and Coopertition® (that means competing AND working with your opponent) in the three levels of FIRST: FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL); FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) and FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC) while 40 teams of 6 to 9-year-olds showcased their smarts during the Junior FIRST® LEGO® League World Festival Expo.

In addition to serving on FIRST®’s regional planning committee and chairing Connecticut FIRST®’s executive advisory board, I’ve been honored to serve as an FRC judge at both regional and national competitions for almost 15 years. Every year, the teams get better and the judging gets tougher!

ebm-papst’s booth at the championship helped students and mentors learn not only about the small ebm-papst tubeaxial fans that cool their teams’ robots, but also how our larger radial and axial fans are employed across dozens of industries and hundreds of applications.

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Bill Aston, Team 178 mentor and ebm-papst Inc. Operations Manager with the Enforcers at the CT Regional's.

Tags: ebm-papst, Bob Sobolewski, CT, FIRST Robotics

ebm-papst: Robot teams and Connecticut’s future workforce

Posted on Tue, Mar 27, 2012

By Bob Sobolewski, President and CEO at ebm-papst USA

Two weeks ago, after CBIA’s Business Day at the Capitol, Don Beckwith posted here about the challenges that Connecticut manufacturers have in attracting new employees. While cost of living and wages have a big impact on our efforts to remain competitive, there’s another piece of the puzzle that’s equally important: helping new generations become adept, capable and confident employees of the future.

Our state’s business community has a responsibility to enhance our children’s education in ways that build their critical thinking and technical skills. We can help them aspire to be team members and leaders, regardless of the professions they choose, by showing them what we do every day and helping them visualize themselves within our companies.

In 1989, ebm-papst Inc. began its journey to support a fledgling organization called FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Founded by inventor Dean Kaman, FIRST is now an international program that inspires nearly 300,000 young people from kindergarten to 12th grade to get involved with science, engineering, math and technology and helps them develop self-confidence, teamwork and leadership skills. ebm-papst began to supply our air-moving products to FIRST competitions, as well as engineering expertise and manufacturing support to teams. That support continues to this day.

Being involved in FIRST is a labor of love…and belief. Just ask Electrical Engineering Manager Hogan Eng, who devotes nights and weekends to helping Woodbury’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Team #2836, Team Beta. Or Operations Manager Bill Aston, who has mentored Farminton’s FRC Team #178, the 2nd Law Enforcers, for nine years. Or everyone in the company who has gone the extra mile to help manufacture parts for these teams’ robots and support their transportation, logistics and community outreach efforts.

Are our efforts working?

Brandeis University recently surveyed young people in FIRST Robotics Competitions around the country and compared them to a group of non-FIRST students with similar backgrounds and academic experiences, including math and science. The survey revealed that FIRST students are:

  • More than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
  • Roughly 10 times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
  • Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post-graduate degree.
  • More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.
  • Nearly four times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
  • More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.

Connecticut FIRST’s big event – the FIRST Robotics Competition Northeast Utilities Connecticut Regionals – will take place Friday, March 30 and Saturday, March 31 at the Connecticut Convention Center. This year’s regionals will bring more than 2400 high school students on 64 elite robot teams from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Texas who both compete and cooperate in this year’s game, Rebound Rumble. The event is free and open to the public.

If you’ve already been to Connecticut’s FIRST Regional robotics competition, you know how exciting and inspiring they are. If you haven’t, I invite you to bring your children, your neighbors’ children and their teachers. We’re going to have a blast!

Tags: ebm-papst, Bob Sobolewski, CT, CT Business Day, FIRST Robotics, CBIA

The delicate position of businesses in Connecticut

Posted on Tue, Mar 06, 2012

-by Don Beckwith, senior vice president of finance and administration at ebm-papst

Wednesday, February 29, Accounting Manager Jack Relidzinski and I attended Connecticut Business Day, sponsored by the Connecticut Business Industry Association (CBIA) and the Connecticut Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

The event took place in the state Legislative Office Building and featured Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman as keynote speaker, Senate Republican Leader John McKinney (R-Fairfield) and DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith.

Each speaker focused on the importance of education reform, as Governor Malloy prepared to kick off his Education Reform Tour on March 1. Our children are lagging in reading and critical thinking skills. The legislators recognize the importance of fixing this issue, but also recognize it will take many years to do so. Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman assured everyone that the millions of dollars this agenda item will consume are in the new proposed budget, and there will be no new taxes necessary to make it happen (this got a nice laugh from the crowd). But what this achievement gap means is that our workforce is in jeopardy, and finding skilled workers could become a significant challenge in the future. This, coupled with current challenges, puts Connecticut’s companies in a tenuous position.

Right now, manufacturers, in particular, are having a difficult time attracting lower wage employees to Connecticut and retaining them because of the cost of living, among other issues. I suspect other companies are facing the same challenges, because the main comment coming repeatedly from the crowd was, “Stop putting millions of dollars into attracting new businesses to Connecticut and focus on keeping the businesses that are here and have been committed to the state for years.”

The message was clear – Connecticut is currently not a business-friendly state. Each of the speakers acknowledged there is a lot of work to be done. In the meantime, I ask other Connecticut businesses what they are doing to attract and retain employees. Please post any comments below or on our Facebook page!

Tags: ebm-papst, CT, CT Business Day