© ebm-papst

The cold chain is getting smart

Contin­uous cooling or freezing of goods in super­mar­kets’ sales and storage areas is essen­tial for quality assur­ance. Fans play a central role here, both in super­market cabi­nets for normal cooling and deep-freezing and in air condi­tioning systems in the super­market building.

WHAT THE TECH?! How main­tain fans according to demand?

What does Predic­tive Main­te­nance mean? And how can it improve my system?

Find the answer here: simple, under­stand­able and with a bit of humor!

In addi­tion to the lowest possible energy consump­tion, reli­a­bility is the key consid­er­a­tion when it comes to super­market cooling. If a fan fails, it is impor­tant to locate and rectify the fault quickly to prevent the cold chain being inter­rupted and, in the worst case scenario, the food being spoiled.

Fans with intel­li­gent energy-saving motors with Green­Tech EC tech­nology provide impor­tant infor­ma­tion about the MODBUS RTU serial commu­ni­ca­tions inter­face. In this way, intel­li­gent main­te­nance concepts based on the actual main­te­nance require­ments can be imple­mented correctly. And, thanks to their high effi­ciency levels, the energy-saving fans make a signif­i­cant contri­bu­tion to reducing oper­ating costs.

Contin­uous moni­toring of all cooling oper­a­tion compo­nents in super­mar­kets (Fig. 1) forms the basis for predic­tive main­te­nance, i.e. detecting faults before failure occurs and, in the worst case, the cold chain is inter­rupted. Facility managers and main­te­nance compa­nies benefit from this equally, as it means that staff-inten­sive, regular main­te­nance is no longer neces­sary, or at least rarely. This reduces costs and is a deci­sive advan­tage even if there is a shortage of skilled workers.

Fig. 1: Contin­uous cooling or freezing of goods in super­mar­kets’ sales and storage areas is essen­tial for quality assur­ance. Fans play a key role here. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

It is essen­tial that the higher-level control system commu­ni­cates with the compo­nents used in refrig­er­a­tion and freezer units and the central air condi­tioning. For example, anom­alies in the normal oper­ating behavior can be iden­ti­fied at an early stage using fan data, and targeted coun­ter­mea­sures can be intro­duced. To do this, the data supplied by the fan drives via MODBUS RTU must be eval­u­ated and inter­preted in real time as far as possible, taking into account the specific fan prop­er­ties and the specific oper­ating condi­tions.

With the Compu­ta­tion Cloud (Fig. 2) from ebm-papst neo, motor and fan specialist ebm-papst now offers a prac­tical solu­tion that is not only suit­able for moni­toring its own fans but also for other compo­nents used in the appli­ca­tion, such as sensors, lighting units or similar. The special­ists are happy to advise here and adapt the options to the indi­vidual super­market control system.

Fig. 2: The fan data trans­ferred to the higher-level control system can be eval­u­ated in the Compu­ta­tion Cloud. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

Contin­u­ously moni­toring fan oper­a­tion

The latest fan gener­a­tions from ebm-papst can transfer up to 200 data points to the higher-level control system, which can then be eval­u­ated in the Compu­ta­tion Cloud. This provides mean­ingful infor­ma­tion about every single fan (Fig. 3) in real time, from compact fans in refrig­er­ated cabi­nets to large fans in the chiller on the roof of the super­market.

Fig. 3: The analysis data provides the basis for intel­li­gent main­te­nance concepts that relieve service staff. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

Based on the data trans­mitted about the actual oper­ating condi­tions, this can be used to calcu­late the expected remaining service life, for example. The key char­ac­ter­istic values here include the ambient temper­a­ture, shifts at the oper­ating point, air flow, speed and vibra­tions that indi­cate abnormal loads. If the outage date approaches, the main­te­nance staff can order the appro­priate replace­ment in good time using the part number, which is then replaced one-for-one before the expected failure occurs. The right replace­ment unit is then at your finger­tips.

The cloud analysis also makes it possible to plan a wide range of main­te­nance measures, for example if the rotor blades of the axial fans used here begin to freeze on the chiller (Fig. 4), which can be expected in partic­ular in winter when the temper­a­tures outside are low. Before the resulting imbal­ance leads to bearing damage, service staff can check the fans and remove the ice forma­tion. In turn, air flow, speed and current draw allow conclu­sions to be drawn as to whether and when filters need to be cleaned or replaced. When plan­ning main­te­nance for chillers, the cooling water quan­tity can also be included in the calcu­la­tions.

Fig. 4: Thanks to cloud analysis, a wide range of main­te­nance measures can be planned in advance, such as when the axial fans used in chillers begin to freeze. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

Effi­ciency in focus

The targeted deploy­ment of main­te­nance staff saves the service team’s time and the operator’s money. The latter also bene­fits from avoiding outages in advance and the cold chain is not at risk. In addi­tion, the intel­li­gent EC fans are energy-effi­cient, which notice­ably reduces elec­tricity costs.

For example, EC motors from the ESM series (Fig. 5), which are typi­cally used in refrig­er­ated display cases, operate at effi­ciency levels of over 70% at just 10% of the power consump­tion of compa­rable shaded-pole motors. The speed control system enables demand-based oper­a­tion. The display case is cooled accord­ingly depending on how often the display case is opened.

The compact EC motors are avail­able as a complete plug-and-play system in which the indi­vidual compo­nents are perfectly coor­di­nated with one another. Exam­ples include the energy-saving fans W1G 250 and K1G 250. The W1G axial product range is intended for instal­la­tion beneath the shelves of refrig­er­ated and freezer cabi­nets. By contrast, the K1G product range with diag­onal fan impeller was specially designed for the rear wall of refrig­er­ated display cases, where there is often limited instal­la­tion space. Thanks to their extremely shallow design, these fans fit in confined spaces and the diag­onal fan design makes them well equipped to deal with the higher back pres­sure found in these spaces.

Fig. 5: The intel­li­gent EC motors in the fans in refrig­er­ated display cases also supply data for cloud analysis. (Graphic | ebm-papst)

The high-perfor­mance EC motors in the large axial fans for chillers work at effi­ciency levels of over 90%. The aero­dy­namic opti­miza­tion of the fan blades also makes the EC fans extremely quiet. This ensures that noise protec­tion regu­la­tions are easily fulfilled, avoiding trouble with the neigh­bors.  The effi­ciency levels can be checked at any time using the compu­ta­tion cloud by calling up the oper­ating points and analyzing them in real time.

Discover more:

Datadriven build­ings

Solu­tions for improved air quality and more

Required fields: Comment, Name & Mail (Mail will not be published). Please also take note of our Privacy protection.