© Lukas Zwiessele

Retrofit is coming home

ebm-papst is bringing the venti­la­tion systems at its German loca­tions up to the latest state of the art with a retrofit. By upgrading them to the latest gener­a­tion of its own fans, the company will reduce energy consump­tion by around 10 percent – and open the door to further bene­fits.

When it comes to retro­fits, ebm-papst gener­ally assumes the role of supplier of highly effi­cient fans. Super­market chains, office building oper­a­tors and other indus­trial firms enjoy energy savings that are some­times huge, reduced noise emis­sions and the possi­bility of digital inte­gra­tion.

But this retrofit is different. As part of its sustain­ability strategy, the fan specialist has also taken a close look at its own venti­la­tion systems and decided to upgrade to the latest fan tech­nology at its four German loca­tions in Mulfingen, Hollen­bach, St. Georgen and Land­shut.

The Breuell & Hilgen­feldt retrofit service center handled the plan­ning and design, while Pfänder GmbH was respon­sible for replacing the systems at the Mulfingen loca­tion. At the end of 2022, Andreas Grubert from Breuell & Hilgenfeldt’s tech­nical field service inspected all the venti­la­tion systems and refrig­er­ating plants and iden­ti­fied a total of 261 that were candi­dates for a retrofit.

The retrofit team


Andreas Grubert


Breuell & Hilgenfeldt’s task


Lukas Pfänder


Pfänder GmbH’s task

A ques­tion of logis­tics

Lukas Pfänder on the chal­lenge posed by this retrofit project

A special retrofit

A special feature of this in-house retrofit was that many of the previ­ously installed fans were already working with EC motors. This was partly because the systems at the rela­tively new Hollen­bach site, for example, only went into oper­a­tion in 2007, and partly because some older systems had already been upgraded to the latest EC tech­nology a few years ago.

In most AHU systems, older models from the RadiPac EC centrifugal fan series were replaced with the newest gener­a­tion. The latest AxiEco axial fans are now used in the rele­vant rooftop coolers instead of fans from the HyBlade series. By contrast, the “classic” retrofit case – belt-driven AC fan vs. new EC model – only occurred six times.

Of course, this is where the greatest energy savings of around 50 percent can be expected. But replacing EC with EC also makes sense from an energy point of view as savings of up to 12 percent can be made in this area.

Three different upgrades

Andreas Grubert on the type and poten­tial of the various retro­fits

Savings poten­tial of the three retrofit types

AC EC centrifugal: up to 0%

EC EC centrifugal: up to 0%

EC EC axial: up to 0%

Replacing EC with EC – is it worth it?

Lukas Pfänder on the advan­tages of an EC-to-EC retrofit: signif­i­cant savings, simple replace­ment, no adjust­ments to the control cabinet

A greater degree of intel­li­gence

Using the latest gener­a­tion of fans offers even more advan­tages. Firstly, replacing them is rela­tively simple, as the instal­la­tion sizes are gener­ally iden­tical; secondly, the new EC fans also come with a greater degree of intel­li­gence. They can be inte­grated into the building manage­ment system, connected to sensors and used according to require­ments, and even enable data-driven added value such as predic­tive main­te­nance.

Even more savings to be made

Lukas Pfänder on the possi­bil­i­ties of sensor tech­nology and require­ments-based use

“Our tech­nology is also great for us,” says Klaus Geißdörfer, CEO of the ebm-papst Group. “And with this retrofit project, we are under­scoring our ambi­tion to lead venti­la­tion tech­nology into a new era.”

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