ebm-papst Fans, Blowers and Technology

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

How fuel scarcity drives innovation

Posted on Thu, Sep 27, 2012

Why brushless motor designs are gaining momentum for commercial truck and bus ventilation

By Bill McBaine


Not so many years ago, designers of commercial truck and bus ventilation systems had only a few choices for motors. These products offered economical solutions but were not without issues.

Then came a global fuel crisis, which forced truck fleet owners to re-think how they operate their vehicles. Because it was no longer fiscally practical to idle a large diesel engine during evening truck stops to power and ventilate the sleeper cab, HVAC manufacturers began to integrate their HVAC and power generation systems into auxiliary power units.

Mass transit authorities faced similar challenges: save fuel while providing adequate ventilation for passengers. They pushed for reducing buses’ down time and improving their life span, which required a new solution: a DC input motor device capable of drastically longer service life.

As a global manufacturer of air movers and drive systems, our challenge was to adapt to these new realities. The result? A brushless motor design that offers longer life, lower maintenance, better fuel efficiency and improved performance.

Let’s look at the old-versus-new options for powering ventilation systems in commercial vehicles.

Low voltage (12/24VDC) brush commutation motors, offered by many suppliers, were the standard for many years. Featuring a consumable carbon brush in contact with a commentator to provide power to various motor windings, they offered a simple, inexpensive approach. 

However, brush commutation motors have always been prone to wear-and-tear issues as they age.

The motor’s brush material is consumed over time through physical contact with the spinning commentator. This abrasive material becomes trapped within the motor, leading to bearing failure if it contaminates the grease. Typical brush life is 4,000 to 6,000 hours. “Long life” variations may exceed 10,000 hours but have unfortunately resulted in even greater amounts of abrasive brush material building up in the motor.

In addition, water penetration/condensation in brush commutation motors during extreme external temperature swings can result in moisture being drawn deep inside the unit (especially at the seams). Once trapped, this moisture cannot easily escape, leading to corrosion and shortened life span of the motor.

Another ventilation motor option, high voltage (230VAC) induction motors allow higher power levels at a lower amperage draw compared to 12/24VDC brush designs. On the down side, this approach requires a high-capacity AC power source, which adds a lot of additional expense to the system. These motors’ physical space requirements are also more suited to the mass transit industry/ bus market than for other types of commercial vehicles.

So what’s the third option? Automotive brushless commutation motors, which ebm-papst has refined over the past 10 years to offer truck and bus fleets better efficiency and performance.


The brushless generation of automotive motors introduces a Gortex membrane within the electronics components, allowing any condensation to be safely eliminated from the circuit board. Leading suppliers of HVAC systems within moving vehicles and equipment have embraced these designs, now used in quantities of hundreds of thousands of pieces in commercial and industrial vehicles.

Our third generation W3G300 fan, introduced to North America in 2011, and the new W3G385 fan, which joins ebm-papst’s brushless motor product family this year, build on the success of earlier models while offering new capabilities such as greater air performance, thinner and lighter construction, reduced power usage and lower noise levels.

As fuel prices continue to rise, we’ll keep listening to the needs of our mobile customers and their HVAC suppliers, developing and testing new improvements to our brushless motor systems.


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If you’re a truck or bus fleet owner, manager or maintenance pro, we want to hear from you. What are your experiences with brushless motor systems? How can we continue advancing brushless motor designs?


Tags: Fan Technology, Efficiency, Brushless Motor, DC motors

ebm-papst: The Future of Data Centers

Posted on Thu, Mar 15, 2012
by Joe Landrette, Market Manager at ebm-papst.

The US consumes about 4.40 trillion kWh of electric energy (Tomorrow is Greener 10/2011). Two percent of that power consumption, or 88 billion kWh, is used by data centers, which provide us with services like Apple's iCloud or Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

Because power savings is critical for hardware manufacturers and their customers, many companies are migrating from large facility data centers to portable/modular data centers that are often set up within sea containers. This new generation of data center is often fitted to house many racks of IT equipment that have ultra efficient cooling systems inside.

Not only can modular/portable data centers be manufactured and deployed more rapidly than traditional data centers, they also employ cooling solutions that can be 30 times more efficient than facility-style cooling systems and can save up to $500,000 a year in energy costs!

Because the majority of portable and modular data centers don’t have the same heat/cooling duct losses experienced in traditional data centers, the new configurations can super-charge their energy efficiency by incorporating ebm-papst’s range of EC blowers and fans, from our small 80mm fans up to 1250mm models.

The new modular/portable data centers also provide an opportunity for ebm-papst Inc. to offer builders air flow and design management strategies and custom sheet metal assemblies. Our products and engineering support services are helping shape how data centers are joining the earth-friendly movement and changing the future of both indoor and outdoor data storage.

For more information on Data Centers, contact Joe Landrette at Joe.Landrette@us.ebmpapst.com or call ebm-papst at 860-674-1515

Tags: Fan Technology, Fans, Impellers, EC motors, ebm-papst, GreenTech, Portable Data Center, Blowers, Efficiency, Data Centers, Energy Efficiency, Modular Data Center, Containerized Data Center

You better not miss ebm-papst at AHR in Chicago!

Posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2011

The AHR Expo is the largest HVAC&R trade show we exhibit in, and it’s coming up fast. With less then a month to go, it's getting a little crazy in the Marketing department! Preparations have become a daily occurence at ebm-papst - we even dream about AHR. Along with packing extra clothes to keep warm during a visit to the Windy City in January, we'll be bringing many of our products used in the HVAC&R market.

Some featured products will include:

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This week, literature, promotional giveaways and bottled water (in case our visitors get thirsty) are being packed up and shipped to our new display company, DisplayCraft. Once they receive this last batch of supplies, the whole booth will be sent on it's journey to Chicago!

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This year's booth will be a little different from our past booths at AHR, thanks to DisplayCraft! They've helped up redesign the layout of the exhibit to make it more spacious and functional. We're very excited to see the final result at the show on January 23rd-25th!

Throughout the show, expert ebm-papst Market Management teams that represent each industry will be there to expertly solve any air moving problems you might have!

For anyone who wants to do a little homework before visiting the ebm-papst booth (#2046) at AHR, here is a selection of some of the literature that will be available.

Click here to register for the show!

We hope to see you there!

Tags: Fan Technology, EC motors, ebm-papst, GreenTech, HVAC&R, AHR, AC motors, Energy Efficiency, DC motors

The ErP Directive - Energy Efficiency and ebm-papst

Posted on Thu, Jul 28, 2011

 The ErP Directive (Energy-related Products) is a plan set forth by the 27 members of the European Union to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 20% by 2020. This multi-named directive (also known as the eco-design directive in Germany and formerly known as the EuP Directive) has two stages for the process of removing energy burning products from the European Market. Starting on January 1st, 2013, 30% of fans on the European Market will not satisfy regulations. 2 years later, another 20% will be pushed of the market for more energy efficient models.

Which fans are affected?

Fans of all types (axial fans, centrifugal fans with forward or backward curved blades, cross-flow and diagonal fans) between 0.125 kW and 500 kW electrical power input are affected. This applies to fans that are operated as "stand-alone" devices and those which run as components integrated in a device or system.

From what point on is the directive binding? 

1st stage starts January 2013
2nd stage starts January 2015

How will it be implemented?

The EU defines the minimum efficiency levels in the ErP implementation regulation for fans. These are defined at best operating point based on electrical power input. To decide whether a fan satisfies the ErP Directive, the efficiency of the complete fan is assessed, i.e. the unit of control electronics (if fitted), motor and fan impeller.

To which countries does the directive apply?

The directive will be mandatory for all 27 EU countries. The directive applies to all fans sold or imported in Europe as well as those integrated as components of other devices that are imported into Europe.

Why has this law come into being?

With the aim of reducing CO2 emissions considerably!

For the Full Article Click Here!

Tags: Fan Technology, Energy Efficiency, ErP Directive

ebm papst: Basics of AC and EC Fan Technology

Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2011

 There are three types of AC motors that are used to drive fans – 3-phase motors, permanent split capacitor (PSC) motors and shaded pole motors.  The type of motor required for a given application is dictated by the input voltage available in the application and the amount of power required to drive the fan. 

  • PSC and shaded pole motors are used for single phase AC input. 

  • Shaded pole motors are suited for low power fans. 

  • A more powerful single phase fan requires a PSC motor.

  • Shaded pole motors are more cost effective but are limited by their lower power. 

  • PSC motors require an external capacitor for proper operation. 

  • A 3-phase AC motor is needed when the application has 3-phase AC input.

  When the application requires DC input, a brushless DC motor is typically used. A brushless DC motor uses an electronic circuit and permanent magnets to generate rotation. The end result is a highly efficient and highly reliable motor. The commutation electronics are typically built right into the motor so the user only needs to apply DC voltage to the motor. Since brushless DC motors require electronics to function, they are often referred to as Electronically Commutated or EC motors.  Because EC motors have electronics, speed control and speed monitoring functions can be done very easily.  

The last type of motor to discuss is the line-fed EC motor.  These motors are also brushless DC motors but are used with AC voltage. The AC input coming into the motor is rectified to a high voltage DC. These motors are used where typical PSC, shaded pole or three-phase AC motors have historically been used. The benefit of the line fed EC motor is the higher efficiency, controllability and long life that a brushless DC motor offers. All power conversion and drive electronics are located within the motor. 

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Tags: Fan Technology, EC motors, AC motors, DC motors

ebm papst: Going GreenTech

Posted on Thu, Jul 14, 2011

Campaigns for ‘being green’ are everywhere. The plastic water bottle I’m drinking out of uses about 1/3 of its label just to tell you that they’ve redesigned their bottles in an effort to be green. Here’s an idea, use less paper and make a smaller label. On my desk, a box of all natural sweetener - that’s made of recycled fiber - requests that you recycle it once it’s empty (and I will). More noticeable than that I see green buttons filled with white checks everywhere I look - the symbol for ebm-papst’s own green campaign, GreenTech.   

 ebm 09 logo greentech rgb5in Less of a campaign, and more a way of life, GreenTech is a name  put to the philosophy ebm-papst has used for decades. "Each new  product that we develop has to be better than its predecessor in terms of economy and ecology." An example of that philosophy in action is the ACmaxx series. This series started as an attempt to advance the standard technology of the basic  AC fan. The problem with the basic AC fan is its poor efficiency compared to DC technology.

  • By giving our fan the ability to operate on AC mains power around the world, while retaining the AC fan’s mounting dimensions, a new standard was created. But this wasn’t good enough.

  • While the ACmaxx could fit applications new and old because of its wide voltage range and compact dimensions, there was one problem. Due to the complexity of the electronics, the installation depth couldn’t replace all AC fans. Our next step was streamlining this series into an even better model – the i-Maxx.

The i-Maxx takes the ACmaxx concept to a whole new level.

  • By integrating the drive, fan and converter electronics into the motor hub, the i-Maxx has the same dimensions of conventional AC fans, while maintaining the ability to connect to worldwide AC mains.

  • We didn’t stop there. The i-maxx is also quieter, more compact, and more efficient than its predecessor. 

This way of life is not just for designing new and more efficient fans. It’s also in practice in the offices and in building the factories, locally and internationally. At the US corporate headquarters in Farmington, CT, and throughout all of the international locations, the employees are urged to recycle, not just bottles and cans, but paper as well, with several paper bins located throughout the office. On of the factories located in Hollenbach, Germany, uses solar power to generate its own energy. The factory was also designed to convert residual heat into a usable ventilation system. Here, at the corporate headquarters in Farmington, a renovation was just completed. Solar panels are up and running, providing our building with lighting that shuts off after a period of inactivity. That will keep us from being too sedentary- but that’s another issue for another company. Many companies are jumping on the green bandwagon, while ebm-papst has been driving.

Tags: Fan Technology, Fans, EC motors, ebm-papst, GreenTech, Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Solar Panels