© Photo | ebm-papst, Ralf Kreuels

Cooking the Eco way

The new gener­a­tion of Miele range hoods has energy-effi­cient tech­nology at heart

A kitchen is not only a place for cooking or having a chat, it is also a source of consid­er­able power consump­tion: It offers tremen­dous poten­tial for savings, from the fridge right through to the stove. A fact of which kitchen appli­ance manu­fac­turers are also well aware. “Nowa­days energy effi­ciency is at the fore­front of people’s minds,” explains Rainer Ragert, head of devel­op­ment at the Arns­berg plant of the Miele subsidiary impe­rial, the Miele Group’s centre of excel­lence for range hoods. “So we put some thought into how we could pick up on this devel­op­ment and make our prod­ucts even more effi­cient.”

The solu­tion: Forever better

Miele range hood

Gerald Ehrler, Hans-Jürgen Weber and Rainer Ragert (from the left) inspecting the new range hood

Ragert is himself involved in the creation of a new EU-wide energy effi­ciency label designed to show consumers at a glance whether or not a range hood for example is fitted with power-saving tech­nology. At a joint meeting in Mulfingen, engi­neers from both compa­nies there­fore took the deci­sion to develop a special blower with partic­u­larly low energy consump­tion. “We knew that the EC motor from ebm-papst already fulfilled the corre­sponding tech­no­log­ical require­ments,” explains Rainer Ragert. “But certain modi­fi­ca­tions to the motor were still neces­sary to suit our purposes.” In keeping with the Miele motto “Forever better”, we wanted to work together to come up with a solu­tion which would be a real bonus to consumers: Quiet oper­a­tion, reli­able extrac­tion – for small fitted kitchens, combined dining / kitchen areas and kitchen islands – and also greatly reduced power consump­tion. Miele is thus the first manu­fac­turer to offer range hoods featuring EC tech­nology. A conscious deci­sion in favour of top quality in a highly compet­i­tive market.

Success of the pilot model 

The first step involved ebm-papst engi­neers bringing the dimen­sions and elec­tronics of the EC blower into line with those of the AC blower previ­ously used. Miele presented the world’s first range hood with EC tech­nology in 2011. This pilot model was just produced in one size to try it out on the market. The highly inno­v­a­tive unit went by the name of “Eco package”. In view of the fact that the effi­cient hood met with a good recep­tion from customers, Miele started equip­ping the next series with full EC tech­nology. Miele then inte­grated a new control system specially matched to the ultra-modern EC blowers into their “Gener­a­tion 6000”.

Coor­di­na­tion at many levels 

Miele range hood EC

The indi­vidual compo­nents of the unit with the EC blower at the top left

On top of the purely tech­nical aspects, there was another central chal­lenge: “The crucial factors in this project were the limited time avail­able and the need for coor­di­na­tion between lots of different people in different places,” explains Gerald Ehrler, project manager at ebm-papst. Three groups were working on the project at the same time: impe­rial Arns­berg on the range hood, Miele Güter­sloh on the control system and ebm-papst in Mulfingen on the motor and control system coor­di­na­tion. At first the dead­line set for the series launch looked almost impos­sible. But thanks to inten­sive coop­er­a­tion, not least with manage­rial involve­ment and any number of coor­di­na­tion meet­ings, the engi­neers managed to over­come all the obsta­cles: In the end, the VDE approval required for the blower was obtained the day before the set dead­line and the unit went into series produc­tion just in time.

Blower in coasting mode 

All these efforts bore fruit: With energy effi­ciency as the main winning feature. “In the lowest speed setting the EC blower uses next to no power as it runs in the part load range,” explains Ehrler. “Like allowing a car to coast along at 120 kilo­me­tres per hour on a straight road.” ebm-papst engi­neers are still working on pres­sure stability and noise gener­a­tion to find the ideal answers here as well.

A combined approach to saving 

Miele range hood EC

Intense coor­di­na­tion meet­ings were needed before the blower with EC motor could be intro­duced

As a range hood is only used for around one hour a day on average, Miele combined the EC tech­nology with other measures designed to reduce energy consump­tion even further. Stand-by consump­tion was reduced and new lighting elements were intro­duced for example. In the past, consumers only had the choice of good lighting with high power consump­tion or low power consump­tion but a poor view of the cooker. Miele now uses high-perfor­mance LED lights with a power consump­tion of only two watts each for illu­mi­nating the hob. Commer­cially avail­able halogen lamps need around ten times the amount of energy. What’s more, the LEDs are designed to last for the entire life­time of the range hood – in other words they never have to be changed in 20 years.
The working rela­tion­ship of the various compa­nies is also a long-term affair. A range hood blower jointly devel­oped by impe­rial and ebm-papst 20 years ago is now accepted as the stan­dard for the global market. “There are many points of contact between the Miele Group and ebm-papst and that has been the case for many years now,” says Rainer Ragert. “Because our aims are very similar: Devel­op­ment exper­tise, customer satis­fac­tion, consis­tency and sustain­ability.”

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