© Photo | ebm-papst

Devel­op­ment part­ners at eye level

For a gas condensing boiler from Viess­mann, ebm-papst devel­oped a complete solu­tion made up of a gas blower, gas valve and gas mixer

Nothing is so good that it couldn’t be improved upon,” is Viessmann’s basic prin­ciple. With this claim, the company from Allen­dorf in the German state of Hessen is one of the leading inter­na­tional manu­fac­turers of heating engi­neering systems. A claim from which the numerous consumers benefit every day, because in times of increasing energy costs, effi­cient and energy-saving heating solu­tions benefit not only the wallet, but also the envi­ron­ment. The high invest­ment costs are, however, frequently an inhibitor. With the Vito­dens 100, Viess­mann there­fore has devel­oped a gas condensing boiler which is to provide private house­holds with warmth highly effi­ciently, and at afford­able prices. This appli­ance solu­tion for the Euro­pean export market is light­weight and can be mounted on the wall to save space. It is also quiet, uses little energy and uses combus­tion heat opti­mally.

Valve for success

The new thing about Vito­dens 100 is the modular design. Instead of indi­vidual parts, finished modules are installed. “Our objec­tive was to improve maximum effi­ciency, while also devel­oping a cost-effec­tive solu­tion,” explains Dr. Manfred Dzubiella. “We wanted to increase the degree of modu­la­tion and, with it, improve effi­ciency, while at the same time lowering noise levels and reducing elec­trical power input. It is not easy to achieve these char­ac­ter­is­tics all in one.” The Pre-Devel­op­ment Director at Viess­mann there­fore saw the solu­tion as a complete gas-air mixture and saw the best partner for it in ebm-papst Land­shut. At that time, ebm-papst had been providing only the gas blowers.

The system solu­tion tremen­dously simpli­fies assembly at Viess­mann

“We agreed right away, because that was the oppor­tu­nity to posi­tion ourself as a system supplier,” recalls Chris­tian Diegritz, Head of the Sales Depart­ment in the Land­shut, Germany plant. The chal­lenge was, however, enor­mous, because start of produc­tion was already sched­uled for mid-2011, and a new compo­nent also had to be devel­oped: A gas valve that regu­lates the gas quan­tity, but also simul­ta­ne­ously safely prevents uncon­trolled gas leaks. “That was also the greatest diffi­culty standing before us,” explains Diegritz. “We have never had a valve like that before.”

Sure, there were already rough prelim­i­nary designs, which the Land­shut devel­op­ment team took over from the Dungs company, but the finished product was far off in the distance. “That was defi­nitely a chal­lenge for both parties,” Diegritz estab­lished, “But there, you see easily how close and great the trust between the R & D depart­ments has become over the years.” A trust that paid off. Because the finished E 01 gas valve stands out signif­i­cantly from the compe­ti­tion. Through an inge­nious design prin­ciple, it makes do with 20 percent fewer compo­nents. That saves money and space.

Chris­tian Diegritz and Dr. Manfred Dzubiella

Compact solu­tion

A road­block on the way to the finished system was thus avoided. Now, the E 01 still had to be joined to a gas blower and a gas mixer. With these compo­nents, ebm-papst could count on its long­time expe­ri­ence. A venturi mixer provided for the correct gas-air ratio, and the NRG 118 centrifugal blower provided an accu­rate flow rate. The chal­lenge there was that the three compo­nents had to be matched to each other exactly. “Espe­cially when we’re going in the direc­tion of a system, our supplier has to develop an under­standing of the entire appli­ca­tion and not only work according to spec­i­fi­ca­tions,” explains Dzubiella. That meant a lot of co-ordi­na­tion work between the R&D depart­ments of Viess­mann and ebm-papst.

The assembly line of the NRG118 in Landhut

Different settings are neces­sary depending on the gas type; simul­ta­ne­ously, the emis­sion values have to corre­spond to the legal require­ments. “In this process, it was bene­fi­cial that ebm-papst had already consis­tently invested in exper­i­mental labo­ra­to­ries. Without this equip­ment, such a co-oper­a­tion would not have been possible,” Dzubiella empha­sises. “In this way, we were capable of devel­oping the system with the prop­er­ties required by us with only a few iter­a­tion steps.”

The produc­tion of the NRV 118 could finally start. For the product, a sepa­rate assembly line was set up in Land­shut, with an auto­matic test rig that was very specif­i­cally tailored to the Viess­mann system. Instal­la­tion at Viess­mann is then simple, as Dzubiella explains: “We get systems that are set up before-hand, and we just have to install them here; that saves time.” At the bottom line, these customer-specific solu­tions mean a signif­i­cant cost savings; because only one supplier is at the begin­ning of the chain of produc­tion, the admin­is­tra­tive effort is reduced. Stock-keeping costs are not a factor, because ebm-papst delivers just-in-time. The combi­na­tion of the three compo­nents in one block saves not only mate­rial, but also effort for inspec­tion, because the system is already completely tailored to the heating unit. The end customer also needs fewer spare parts for repair purposes.

The test rig of the NRV 118

Active dialogue

This success is also thanks to the long­time part­ner­ship of both compa­nies. Once a year, the part­ners meet for an inno­va­tion work­shop, at which the devel­opers of both compa­nies present new ideas. Dzubiella describes these processes like this: “We think about where we would like to set new trends and bring them to ebm-papst, who like­wise has new ideas. And in this way, a common idea develops, which ends in a new concept.” And there are plenty such ideas. Successor projects have already resulted from the devel­op­ment of the new Vito­dens 100, pushing the system under­standing even further.

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