ebm-papst Fans, Blowers and Technology

Every Day is a GreenDay: Increasing Manufacturing Efficiency

Posted on Thu, May 16, 2013
Brian Ladegard
by Brian Ladegard, Director of Operations
As part of our GreenTech philosophy, not only is our goal to develop new products that are more efficient than the prior generation, but we follow this approach for our processes as well.  That is, our commitment to sustainable practices extends to our production processes for gains in terms of economy and ecology.  Case in point – we have just completed installation of a new Nordson ColorMax powder paint application system complete with their Automatic Feed System and new Encore spray guns.  As a result, we expect to see a significant increase in powder spray efficiency, less scrap powder, lower disposal charges, higher quality painted parts, and significantly faster color change times.

In our old booth, we typically got 60% of the sprayed powder on the parts and 40% became process scrap.  We were able to recycle one color with our older booth, but this didn’t work too well because our primary color kept changing all the time.  In the new Nordson ColorMax booth, we can now effectively recycle ALL colors through the use of dual cyclone technology.  This automatically feeds back (recycles) the 40% of powder that hits the parts and falls into the bottom of the booth – increasing our actual powder usage efficiency to about 95%. 
The other significant advantage for us is color change over time.  The entire booth and all feed hoses had to be fully cleaned (manually) to prevent mixing of colors between production runs.  Our new ColorMax booth has much of the cleaning cycle automated, so a typical color change time for the new booth should be reduced by up to 75% vs. the old booth.  The booth Canopy is a state of the art material that allows for easy blow offs during color changes.  This time regained is significant - as we typically change colors 2-3 times per day.
Finally, we also changed our actual paint application guns to the new Encore system.  These guns are new Low Velocity technology that allows for more even coating and better use of powder at lower air pressures – further reducing powder spray waste.  With the new Lower Velocity technology, we should also improve our painting finish quality for better parts on the “first pass” – with less defects and less rework and re-paints.


Tags: GreenTech, Manufacturing, Energy Efficiency

Production Tax Credit Extension - Is One Year Enough?

Posted on Fri, Jan 18, 2013
by Todd Cardillo, Market Manager - Alternative Energy

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President Obama had everyone on their toes last month regarding the Fiscal Cliff, which also included the review of the Production Tax Credit (PTC). In an apparent last minute effort, the president said White House and Senate negotiators have agreed to “extend tax credits for clean-energy companies that are creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

The PTC has been a major driver of wind power development over the past decade. It provides a 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour tax credit for the first ten years of electricity production from utility-scale turbines; however, Congress has repeatedly gone back and forth between expiring and extending the PTC.

Preserving the tax credit is a major triumph for the wind power industry. Critics have argued that the industry is now mature enough to survive without the tax benefit, however, wind producing companies still feel it is important for US infrastructure, and would agree that phasing it out over the next few years would be a much better solution.

Wind companies pushed for a two-year extension, arguing that anything less would provide little certainty to investors in wind projects, but the industry later backed off and supported the extension for just one year. On a positive note, the qualification process was changed in their favor as well. The one year extension now pertains to projects “started” before December 31st, 2013, rather than like in the past, when the project needed to be “producing power” before the projected deadline.

Many projects had been put on hold in 2012 because wind developers knew the PTC was due to expire. The uncertainty caused wind developers to delay their projects, reduce their employees, and even close their doors because of lack of business. Now that the PTC has been extended, companies are dusting off their components, and pushing to get everything back up and running as quick as possible.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that the PTC extension has protected ~37,000 jobs within this industry, however, we still need to be concerned with the jobs that have been already lost in 2012. In some aspects, the damage has been done, and introduces another important question “Is a one year extension enough”?

Tags: GreenTech, energy, PTC, wind, Energy Efficiency, Alternative Energy

Reflecting on the "In the Pocket" Video

Posted on Tue, Oct 09, 2012
by Bob Sobolewski, President & CEO of ebm-papst Inc.

In The Pita Group'sIn the Pocket” video interview, I had the chance to speak about trending topics that affect business in terms of customer needs and communication.   

So how has ebm-papst evolved to meet customers’ needs?  In one simple word, innovation.  Innovation can help discover what opportunities exist now, or are likely to emerge in the future. Our teams collaborate with the feedback given from our customers based on market trends, to redesign and develop new products that are the leading-edge technology, ahead of our competition.   Customers look to us for the newest solutions and know they can present new air moving challenges for us to solve.  Innovation is not only about designing a new product or service to sell, but can also focus on existing business processes and practices to improve efficiency.  Recently, ebm-papst published the philosophy of GreenTech.   This idea reflects a simple but clear philosophy that goes back to our company principle: "Each new product that we develop has to be better than its predecessor in terms of economy and ecology."  It is extremely important to us that with innovation, comes the responsibility of eco-friendly practices to preserve our environment.  Not only are we producing new efficient technology to benefit our customers, but we are also ensuring that every product carries along with it the assurance of sustainability in our production practices. In addition to various enhancements, 50kW of solar panels were installed on the roof of our engineering office in Farmington, CT, in June 2011. This past June, another 50kW array was installed to supplement the original installation.

Another evolution in the way business is done. Everyone wants things instantaneously.  So at the tip of our fingers, we have the ability to instantly communicate and search for information. We must adapt to the changing business practices and stay ahead of the curve!  

Bob Sobolewski filming the "In the Pocket" video.
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Tags: ebm-papst, GreenTech, Bob Sobolewski, Energy Efficiency

Air Pear® gains a partner in ebm-papst Inc.

Posted on Fri, Jul 20, 2012

If you work in a climate controlled office cubicle with a low ceiling, the mystical term “thermal destratification” may never play a role in your comfort or productivity.

However, if you’re on a production floor or in a warehouse that swelters in the summer and freezes in the winter, shivered or sweated in an enclosed stadium or mall, or peered into a frost-covered grocer’s freezer, you may appreciate the benefits of a device that evens out temperatures by continually exchanging a building’s hot top air layer with cooler, lower layers.

Nine years ago, entrepreneur Ray Avedon, president of Longmont, Colorado-based Avedon Engineering and founder of Airius LLC, invented the turbine-shaped Air Pear Thermal Equalizer® to solve air flow problems and to save energy at his contract manufacturing facilities.

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 Ray Avedon with the AirPear

He hit upon a novel design and concept for a ceiling mounted air mover that would meet the needs of enclosed spaces – manufacturing facilities, warehouses, groceries, aircraft hangers and gymnasiums – that needed to stabilize temperature and humidity levels. 

The energy efficient air turbine, named the Air Pear® by Airius for its appealing shape, was born. Initially developed in five models offering progressive voltage and size options, the more than 30,000 Air Pear® systems that have been installed since 2004 have been saving buildings — such Siemens Transportation Systems’ rail maintenance facilities in Acton, UK — 35 percent or more on energy costs with an ROI of 12 to 36 months.

Before 2006, Airius sourced internal fan assemblies for its Air Pear systems from a low technology manufacturer. Airius had to meet specific regulations by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stipulating that pharmaceutical warehouse temperatures vary by no more than two degrees from ceiling to floor. The company needed to work with a manufacturer that would be able to deliver a dependable, controllable fan that would meet FDA’s stringent requirements.


Enter ebm-papst, Inc., the North American headquarters for ebm-papst, a global manufacturer of energy efficient air moving systems.

“At our request, ebm-papst came up with a special fan motor – the EC motor – to facilitate our marketing with the pharmaceutical industry. That motor series is now the norm for our Air Pear destratification product line,” expained Avedon.

“The beauty of our axial fans’ EC motor is that everything can be remotely controlled. There are no separate motor speeds to hassle with … meaning dependable consistent ventilation and ease for the customer,” said Randy Rau, ebm-papst’s Denver-based sales engineer.

Six years later, Airius utilizes ebm-papst fans in 75 percent of its Air Pear systems. According to Rau, linked arrays of remotely controlled Air Pears that incorporate ebm-papst EC axial fans are installed in hundreds of applications.

The customers are diverse; Air Pear usage ranges from warehouses and plants to grocery stores, movie theaters, even a dairy producer that keeps its cows cool to increase milk production. Air Pear Model 45s are being used to equalize temperature and humidity in Washington D.C.’s botanical garden and soon will be installed at Hartford, Conn./Springfield, Mass.’s Bradley Airport. The larger Air Pear Model 100s are installed in aircraft hangers, large atriums, retail malls and sports stadiums.

As part of its GreenTech commitment to energy efficiency, ebm-papst Inc.’s U.S. headquarters in Farmington, Conn. recently installed 12 Air Pear units in an area that formerly served as warehouse space and now houses the company’s assembly operations. According to ebm-papst Director of Manufacturing Brian Ladegard, the units, which are wired to be controlled as one collective “node” as well as operate independently, serve three purposes.

“The Air Pear units will help keep employees in our assembly building comfortable during winter months by circulating warm air to floor level,” said Ladegard. “We anticipate saving on energy costs by equalizing temperatures in this building. And because ebm-papst’s fans and motors are at the heart of the Air Pear Thermal Equalizers, observing them operate in our facility allows us to conduct practical on-site research and development and offer new configurations to Airius that can help them reach new markets.”

“ebm-papst always has been an informative and cooperative partner in the development of motors for our Air Pear product line,” said Avedon. “We continue to have a successful working relationship, including the new ebm-papst motors currently in development for a new line of Airius products.”

Tags: EC motors, ebm-papst, GreenTech, Energy Efficiency, Airius

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

Every Day is a Green Day at ebm-papst

Posted on Fri, Jun 08, 2012
By Bob Sobolewski

To demonstrate that everybody can do something for a more environmentally friendly world, this year employees at ebm-papst offices around the globe are organizing Every Day is a Green Day campaigns, developing unique ways to demonstrate our shared GreenTech philosophy.

Next week (June 11-16) is our time to celebrate Every Day is a Green Day with a special week at ebm-papst’s U.S. headquarters. We’ve got a full lineup of activities, including the kickoff of our Every Day is a Green Day Video Contest. Students 13-18 years of age who live in Hartford County can enter the contest by submitting a brief video showing the creative ways they incorporate green practices into their lives at home and school. Deadline to submit videos is August 11; winners will be announced on August 27.


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The student who submits the most compelling green video will receive a grand prize of an iPad 3 (16GB WiFi model). The second prizewinner will win a family trip for four to the Connecticut Science Center, including lunch for four at the museum’s Café and four tickets to a performance at the IMAX Theater. The third prizewinner will receive a ‘green’ basket of environmentally friendly products.

Check our Faceboook page regularly to view students’ ‘green’ videos!

We’ve launched a “How are You Green?” contest for employees, who are submitting their green living practices and tips, and a Green Trivia contest. Employee winners will be announced for both contests on June 15.

An adventurous team of seven ebm-papst employees will scour the fields around our facility on June 12 or 13 and remove trash wherever they find it.

During a green luncheon and employee social at our facility on June 13 we’ll be using locally sourced burgers and hot dogs from Saint’s in Southington. The Super Natural Market and Deli will deliver locally sourced ingredients for strawberry shortcake! Employees will bring their personal documents for shredding by Cintas, which will have a truck on site between 3 and 4 p.m.

Also on June 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., employees will be able to purchase energy efficient lighting from Collinsville-based TechniArt, Inc. during a Lighting Fair, with displays in our café and at the receiving/loading dock.


Here’s wishing you a summer of exploration, relaxation and green living!

Tags: ebm-papst, GreenTech, Bob Sobolewski, Energy Efficiency

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

New Solar Panels at ebm-papst

Posted on Thu, Nov 17, 2011

At ebm-papst, our philosophy is focused on constantly trying to improve the effect the company has on the environment, whether through the products manufactured here or by the actions of those that represent the company. A recent undertaking was the installation of solar panels on the Tech Center and Manufacturing Facility at 110 Hyde Road. The solar panels became operational on June 16, 2011. The power generated by the panels is enough to satisfy the needs for powering the Tech Center offices. At the peak output, the panels are capable of producing 50kw of electricity.

Some facts and figures:

  • 238 solar panels

  • 32 Mega-watt hours have been generated to date

  • Daily electricity production is more than enough to power the Tech Center offices

  • Environmental equivalent to planting 425 trees

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This is an aerial shot of the new solar panels on the Tech Center and Manufacturing Facility at ebm-papst. In the background are the corporate offices.

Tags: GreenTech, Energy Efficiency, Solar Panels

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