ebm-papst Fans, Blowers and Technology

What’s that fan doing in my food chain? Part 2

Posted on Fri, Apr 11, 2014
LouMoffa 110x135by Lou Moffa, Market Manager – Commercial Refrigeration

Last week, my colleague Joe Giacona talked about why ventilation is critical within food transport refrigeration. With many fresh foods making an average journey of 1,500 to 2,000 miles from their source, well-engineered refrigeration systems and fine-tuned logistics ensure that these fragile foods remain delicious no matter their destination.

This week, we continue the food chain journey through the supermarket right before it is purchased for use at your home. As with the containers inside ships and trucks, consistent and efficient refrigeration in holding warehouses and at the supermarkets themselves provide a slowing of the clock to help maintain food as long as possible. Commercial refrigeration systems must maintain safe temperatures; perform reliably and efficiently while working continuously in the background.

In keeping with our company’s GreenTech philosophy, ebm-papst developed a specialized line of air movers to help refrigeration engineers meet their critical design objectives. The ecological benefits are achieved with features such as programmable speeds to dial in the exact air needed, two speed fans that allow the fan to change speeds without complicated wiring or variable speed operation that allow ebm-papst fans’ EC motors to operate over a full RPM range to match the cooling performance needed without wasting energy. These various features are found in our product line so it is easy to choose the right air mover for the refrigeration system. Our small mounting footprint and quiet operation provide refrigeration designers with exciting new approaches to solving old problems.   

To help your local supermarket maximize your food shopping experience, our fans are designed into various refrigeration systems that you will see in a typical supermarket.

Once the food products arrive at the supermarket they are unloaded from the trucks and usually placed in a "walk in" cooler (or freezer). Most walk in coolers are near the loading docks at the back of the store hidden from public view.  Even if you have not been behind the scenes, you still have encountered them during your recent shopping. One side of the unit cooler is typically made out of glass display doors that are open to the public. Fast moving items like the milk in a supermarket or the beer in a liquor store have doors that you open so that you can select your product. Since these products are usually in the back of the store, they are against a wall near the loading docks so they can be restocked with little effort. This allows the store to keep large inventories of product and have it appear so that it is always stocked. Next time you open one of those doors, peak in behind the milk or beer, if you don't see the fans up above, you will hear them running as well as feel them move the air around the area.  Fans are needed to keep the air in constant circulation within these cases to help keep the products cool.

The other key refrigerated areas of a supermarket are the display cases that hold fruits, vegetables, frozen foods and every other possible food product including recently refrigerated pet foods in the pet food aisle. These display cases must perform two important tasks: They must keep food at a constant and precise temperature, and present the food in a way that shoppers can easily see it, want it and ultimately put it in their shopping carts. This is not an easy task but our ebm-papst EC fans meet the challenge even while they are subjected to constant cold temperatures, moisture from misting systems and the bumps and jarring from stocking these cases every day.

The reach in bottle cooler is another example of a refrigeration system that is in constant operation, keeping soda and water cool for impulse purchases. ebm-papst EC fans are used on both the hot (condenser) side and the cold (evaporator) side. Your home refrigerator has it easy compared to what a bottle cooler goes through every day. Multiple opening and closings and constantly being loaded with room temperature products gives these coolers a workout. Our fans keep refrigerated air in constant circulation to help cool down product as quickly as possible.

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Our last stop on how fans are used in our supermarket, ends with a birds-eye of the condenser units on the rooftop. All of the reject heat from the refrigeration systems throughout the store is sent to the rooftop condensers. Our variable speed, EC Giant series of fans are installed here and are running at just the needed speed to cool down the refrigerant. Variable speed helps increase efficiency compared to running standard fans in an on and off manner.  By adding our latest AxiTop diffuser these EC Giants are operating quietly so that there is no unnecessary noise pollution and they are providing increased efficiency to help supermarkets further reduce their utility bills.

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Whether it’s on a boat, in a truck or ready for supermarket display, our local, national and internationally-sourced food depends on reliable and efficient fans to help refrigeration systems to equalize air flow and save energy. To learn more, visit our new market solutions tool and click on “Refrigeration.”

Read part 3 of this blog series: What's that fan doing in my food chain? Part 3

About Lou Moffa
With his 11+ years experience with ebm-papst Inc., Lou Moffa listens to the challenges our customers face and recommends air-moving solutions that help refrigerant system engineers, warehouse owners and supermarket managers keep food fresh across a variety of storage and display environments. As the company’s market manager – commercial refrigeration, Lou holds an automated manufacturing engineering degree from Waterbury State Technical and a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering from Central Connecticut State University. In his free time, Lou enjoys tackling renovation projects around his home, cooking and exploring new food shopping experiences.


Tags: speed control, Market Solutions Tool, ebm-papst, GreenTech, EC Giants, Supermarket, AxiTop, Refrigeration, Lou Moffa, Commercial Refrigeration

What’s that fan doing in my food chain?

Posted on Thu, Apr 03, 2014
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By Joe Giacona, Market Manager - Transportation

Sometimes we come across a bit of information that leads to a discovery about something we have long taken for granted. This new learning allows us a better understanding of how things function in a world that’s increasingly driven by technology.

A routine supermarket visit to purchase fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy items can yield one of those “ah hah” moments, especially when you look deeper. Take fruits and vegetables. There is such a wide selection - especially those that are on the shelf in the off-season! Where did they come from? California, Peru, New Zealand? How did they arrive at the peak of freshness? These are intriguing questions that offer “food” for thought.

In my years of experience within the transport refrigeration market, I appreciate the know-how, the people, products and technology that allows the movement of fresh food over long distances through what we call the food chain. This chain begins at the source, the point at where the food is picked and ends at your local grocery store. No matter what the cargo, the ‘chain’ of temperature control must remain unbroken over hundreds or thousands of miles to assure quality, maximize freshness and deliver value.

For the most part, refrigerated cargo is transported in either an ocean-going container or an over-the-road trailer/truck body with an integrated refrigeration or “Reefer” unit. These state-of-the-art machines are capable of maintaining precise temperature control throughout their interiors. They’re super-efficient because they balance temperature, air flow, and reliability.


On the surface, you’d think that temperature control is the most important – and you would be right. Almost. With sophisticated microprocessor controls, reefer units are designed to control cargo temperatures to within +/- ½ degree of set-point for extended periods of time over a wide variety of ambient conditions. However, temperature control cannot happen without precise air flow that moves air efficiently and effectively in every nook and cranny of the trailer to preserve those delicate fruits and leafy veggies we love. To protect the supermarket’s investment in its precious produce, the whole system must perform reliably over years of service.

Since the whole process is powered by some form of renewable energy or fossil fuel, it also must operate at maximum efficiency.

Our fans provide the critical ventilation that boosts the food-preserving performance of commercial transport units’ temperature controls. Designed to survive climate extremes and road shock, they allow precise delivery of air reliably and efficiently. Our food transport customers depend upon ebm-papst fans’ ability to meet their containers’ and trucks aerodynamic, electrical, and operational requirements day after day, month after month, year after year without fail.

The next time you purchase those delicious Chilean grapes or Mexican mangos in January, remember the combination of transport components and controls it took to deliver them across the food chain and unblemished to your table. Now that’s food for thought!

Read part 2 of this blog series: What's that fan doing in my food chain? Part 2

About Joe Giacona
Joe Giacona knows that HVACR components within transportation systems must deliver performance and reliability over the long haul. As market manager – transportation at ebm-papst, Joe’s 30+ years of diverse experience in HVACR help him recommend the best ebm-papst products to heat and cool customers’ buses, trains, trucks and other vehicles across North America. Joe actively supports the company’s market development, forecasting, field sales coordination and customer relations. He holds a B.S. in physics from Brockport State College and a B.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Buffalo. In his free time, Joe enjoys cooking for his family, do-it-yourself projects, keeping his 1960 Corvette Roadster in peak form, and making wine from New York and California grapes.

Tags: Joe Giacona, Transportation, Efficiency, Refrigeration

How ventilation is changing within advanced home appliances

Posted on Wed, Nov 27, 2013
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by Tom Costello, Market Manager – Appliance & Heating Gas

As we sit down to dinner at night, most of us do not give any thought to what’s in our kitchen appliances or how they even work. We take for granted that our refrigerator keeps our food from spoiling, that our oven cooks the food to a perfect temperature, that our range hood removes all the odors and smoke from the room, and that the dishwasher cleans and dries our dishes at the end of the meal. We simply expect our appliances to work to free up our time for other interests!

To help meet that expectation, our R&D engineers are developing air moving solutions that allow your kitchen appliances to work better, longer, and safer. That's right, you may not be aware that each of the kitchen appliances listed above often includes a fan that improves the transfer of heat for cooling, heating, or simply air quality. For example, cooling insures the controls don't overheat in your oven or that the food remains cold enough to last for days or months in your refrigerator or freezer. Conversely, convective heating improves cooking performance in a range or wall oven and also improves the drying performance in your dishwasher.

Our fans are used in all types of kitchen appliances for cold, hot, and wet applications. In addition, now they are being designed to further improve the quality of your life by reducing the electrical energy consumption and, thereby, your "carbon foot print". A good example of this is a recent development program with one of our European appliance customers that manufactures one of the highest rated dishwasher products in the world market. The development was based on a strategic partnership between ebm-papst (supplier) and the appliance OEM (manufacturer) that resulted in both parties achieving their goals to grow sales with a progressive technology that also is environmentally friendly or "Green".

For many years, conventional drying technology would include a radial fan driven by an AC shaded pole motor in combination with a humidity valve and a custom scroll housing to remove the moist hot air from the dishwasher and then cool it to a safe temperature before venting into the kitchen.

describe the imageAlthough effective at accelerating the drying process, energy consumption and drying time was still too high; however, recent advancements in motor technology and materials now allows for a new improved drying cycle. ebm-papst is a leader in electronically commutated (EC) motor technology in many markets and now recent  design advances allows us to bring this technology to kitchen appliances. In addition, since we design the impeller and scroll housing too we can optimize airflow, size, and material selection to provide a robust assembly that meets the demand of the application and operates with very low energy consumption.

DishwasherTechnologyThis progress in air moving technology has now allowed the appliance OEM to introduce a new drying process that can further accelerate the drying time in an environmentally friendly manner. So in the end, advancements in technology applied in an eco-friendly manner result in lower energy consumption and reduced drying time!

Tags: EC Technology, Kitchen Appliances, Refrigeration, OEM, appliances, Dishwasher, Dishwasher Drying System

Introducing Our New, Custom Biomaterial: epylen from ebm-papst

Posted on Thu, Aug 22, 2013
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by Lou Moffa, Market Manager - Refrigeration

Your next purchase of a food item has many thought-provoking questions attached to it. Is it a healthy choice for your daily diet? Is it organic? Is it is free of chemicals? Is it locally grown? Does it negatively impact the environment?  Your decision to choose a particular food product over another helps you promote a healthy lifestyle and contribute to a healthy planet.

ebm-papst is now helping you make the same smart choices for our planet when choosing fans for your air-moving applications. Working closely with our plastics supplier, we have developed a material called epylen, a custom, wood/plastic composite "biomaterial" that reduces the amount of petroleum products that need to be sourced.

epylen vs. 100 percent polypropylene plastic material

epylen has the same mechanical functionality as the originally specified 100 percent polypropylene plastic material but a significantly lower overall impact on the environment. The wood fibers used are not just added "filler" in the base polypropylene materials that would be exposed on the surface; rather, the fibers are totally encapsulated during the molding process so that the end result is an injection-molded plastic that has the same appearance and surface finish as the original material. In side-by-side comparisons of the two materials, it is difficult to tell the difference.


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Housing material made of epylen in its natural color.

But you know us. We of course did not settle for simply a similar-looking material.

Our in-house and third-party testing has proven that the epylen material will not harbor any fungi or bacterial growth, will not weaken from long-term UV exposure, is stable at elevated temperatures, has passed our impact, vibration and thermal shock tests and is resistant to degradation when exposed to common industrial chemicals. Even with all these impressive results, the most frequently asked question when explaining this material to new users is whether it will attract termites! I’m happy to report that termites are not interested in this product, making the epylen material completely suitable for use in the same environments as the original plastic.  

Keeping it Green(Tech)

Keeping with our GreenTech philosophy, the wood material selected for use in epylen has been through a very selective process. The wood is only from renewable sources that are harvested in an environmentally-responsible manner and do not contain any added fertilizers or pesticides.Harvesting is performed in small batches to lessen environmental impact. 

epylen is currently being used in the wall ring of our W1G200 series ESM fans, which are designed for use in commercial refrigeration equipment. Other products will begin to phase in epylen material as well. Our goal is to replace 15 percent of the plastic used in our fans with epylen by 2015.

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epylen - the new wood/plastic composite material from ebm-papst.

All of these changes do result in a more costly material than the 100% polypropylene material, but as part of our dedication to the environment, ebm-papst is offering this material at no added cost to the end user.

Please feel free to contact us for more information!


Tags: Fan Technology, Refrigeration

What did that fan say? A few words from our W3GZ50 Axial fan.

Posted on Thu, Nov 08, 2012
by Lou Moffa, Market Manager - Refrigeration


Our definition of "Giant" is continually evolving here at ebm-papst.  Our new W3GZ50 series EC axial fan has a 1250mm (49.2 inch) blade diameter and is currently the world's largest diameter EC air mover with integrated electronics!

Just like the other products in our EC giant line up, this new axial fan was designed from the beginning to be energy efficient, simple to use and able to be installed in a variety of air moving applications.  It can easily be customized by the end user so that it is a perfect match for use with refrigeration condensers, chiller applications or large scale ventilation applications.  Its large size allows you to reduce the number of smaller fans used.

A complete fan assembly like the W3GZ50 series streamlines your purchasing and inventory requirements.  The complete fan assembly has a motor, blade, venturi and finger guard that have all been designed to work together for maximum efficiency and eliminates the need to work with multiple vendors and patch together a fan assembly from various manufacturers.  A complete assembly can simplify your production line by reducing wiring and installation time.  

This air mover has an impressive list of features to match its size. 

-Air performance- the direct drive motor and blade combination are able to produce over 38,000 CFM and can operate efficiently with backpressure levels of up to 0.8 inches of water.

-Factory balanced blade - the rotating motor and blades are balanced as a complete assembly on the production floor to insure a smooth operation.

-Accepts traditional control inputs - So that you can fully speed control this fan in your application, our integrated electronics will accept a variety of control inputs.   For a simple set up, this means that you can use either a 0-10VDC input, 0-100% PWM input, or a 4-20mA input from an outside controller to completely vary the speed of the fan. 

-RS485 Modbus RTU protocol ready - Many of the previously mute devices that are part of our daily lives are starting to become vocal whether we like it or not!  Our cars, heating systems and even our home refrigerators are now capable of telling us what condition they are in with texts and e mails.  Our lineup of EC Giants that are over 500 Watts are ready to be heard as well!  If you would like this fan to be a vocal participant in your assembly, it is simple to establish two-way communication using the on board RS485 Modbus RTU protocol.   Not only can you command it what RPM to run at, but you can obtain the run hours, the specific alarm status, internal motor temperature and many other bits of information that will keep you informed and up to date for critical applications.   Our ongoing partnerships with key worldwide controls manufacturers make incorporating  digital communication  easier than ever before. 

-Built in PID controller- for ultimate flexibility, our built in process controller allows you to program this unit to run independently without the need for a separate process controller to handle common field tasks.  For example, when programmed to operate in closed loop sensor mode with your supplied temperature, pressure or other sensor, the fan will maintain a process specific set point.  Simply set the sensor parameters and how quickly you want the fan to respond and the process controller will take it from there.  The set point can be either entered using software to prevent unauthorized changes or from an accessible potentiometer for simple adjustments by anyone in the field.  This powerful feature is a perfect way to reduce components in your overall assembly.  Even if you choose to not use this feature as the main process controller, it can easily be programmed and can remain dormant in the background as a back up to the main process controller.

These are just some of the advanced features that this exciting new product has to help simplify your larger air moving projects.  

We welcome you to come see this impressive fan and all of our equally advanced products on display at the AHR Expo in Dallas.

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Visit us at Booth #2967 at AHR Expo at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas on January 28-30, 2013 

Please contact us for additional information at Marketing@us.ebmpapst.com

Tags: Fan Technology, Fans, Efficiency, AHR, Energy Efficiency, Refrigeration, Axial, W3GZ50