© Photo | ebm-papst

Motor replacement in the Denmarket

The iQ motor is conquering the freezers in the supermarkets


With the iQ energy-saving motor, ebm-papst is conquering the freezers in the supermarkets of Denmark.

Torben Kirkholt, Managing Director of ebm-papst Denmark, smiles a relaxed smile. His many years of dedication are paying off at last. The two largest Danish supermarket chains are now using iQ motors in their freezers and are planning new markets with EC technology. With one of the two Danish freezer manufacturers, turnover has increased by 50 per cent. The other recently became a new customer and is now generating a six-figure turnover – per month. Yet the relationship between these manufacturers and the motor did not get off to a very good start. “The OEMs didn’t have the history to market such energy-efficient devices to their customers. At a glance, a motor that costs three times as much was a loser for them,” explains Kirkholt, describing the difficulty of selling the economic motor to the customers. The installers who look after technical service with the end customers also had initial reservations. no wonder, for the iQ motor does not need to be replaced until it has been in service for ten to 15 years, in contrast to the Q-motor with two years. And finally, the supermarkets themselves reacted with great reserve. “They have often been disappointed in the past. Every supplier has a green dot on its products, but most of them are unable to keep the promise this implies. ebm-papst can,” stresses Kirkholt.

Great savings in small places

But words alone were not enough to prove that. That is why Kirkholt decided to create facts. The iQ and Q motors were demonstrated as a direct comparison to an interested installer who often called in at the office in Brøndby to collect spare parts. The enormous savings potential convinced the installer. Kirkholt then asked him to find a supermarket that would be interested in making an exchange. He found one in the small town on Skælskør. “I have been looking for ways to save energy in my supermarket for years,” explains Poul Holm, Managing Director of SuperBrugsen. “For example, my shop was one of the first to fit sliding doors on its freezers.” A measure which saves some 23,000 EUR annually. For some time he had also had his sights set on the 100 small, high-consumption motors that drove the fans in his supermarket. The decision to replace the twelve old units in a test freezer with iQ motors of an identical size proved to be spot-on. “We had the power consumption of the test freezer measured 14 days before and 14 days after the change. Consumption was almost halved,” explains Holm enthusiastically. He then had the remaining 88 motors replaced even before their next regular replacement. The energy savings mean that the fans will have paid for themselves in two to three years.

Saving by numbers

“The advantage over the competition is partly our technological lead, but above all it is how we use it,” explains Torben Kirkholt. The possibility of giving the end customer not just promising messages but also and above all convincing figures from everyday usage brought the breakthrough. The doors to the major supermarkets opened. “Prior to this project, we had absolutely no access to the technical staff at the end customers, the ones who decide which motors are employed in the freezers. Within the space of just three months we built up an enormous degree of credibility.”

The Coop chain alone is able to save up to 14.5 million kilowatt-hours a year. Projected onto the other two major chains, Coop and Danish Supermarket, the savings potential in all of Denmark amounts to three to four times this amount – equating to about 21,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Add to this for every kilowatt saved by the motors another 0.33 kilowatts of other savings. The lower heat development of the iQ motor means there is less need for the building to be air conditioned. And for Kirkholt the interest of the supermarkets opens up another strategic advantage. They are now demanding equipment with energy-efficient ebm-papst technology from the OEMs.

iQ Motors

To date, supermarkets have used Q motors to drive the fans in their cooling equipment. These are inexpensive in their procurement, but are more expensive in their power consumption. The iQ motor has exactly the same dimensions and features on the outside. But on the inside, the electronically commutated “intelligent” drive demonstrates its huge advantages:

  • Up to 70 per cent in savings
  • high running smoothness
  • longer service life

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