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
Breuell & Hilgenfeldt’s task
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.”