© Kirsch Medical

Reli­able cooling for medi­cine, blood & co.

Kirsch Medical’s refrig­er­a­tors and freezers can be found in medical prac­tices, phar­ma­cies, blood banks, hospi­tals and labo­ra­to­ries. Medi­cine, blood samples and vaccines are stored inside. The require­ments for constant temper­a­ture, high reli­a­bility and low noise levels are corre­spond­ingly high. The compact DC axial compact fans from ebm-papst help to satisfy these.

Anyone looking for a tradi­tional family-run company has found it with Philipp Kirsch GmbH. The company history dates back to 1865. Back then, Kirsch was the specialist for distil­la­tion equip­ment and later manu­fac­turer of coun­ters and restau­rant equip­ment. At some point, the refrig­er­a­tors were added – they remained and devel­oped into the corner­stone of the company. Even if they do have a completely different task: Instead of beer and lemonade, it is now medi­cine, vaccines and blood plasma that are stored in refrig­er­a­tors at temper­a­tures ranging from plus five to minus 41 degrees Celsius. And the inter­na­tional customers are not restau­rants and pubs, but phar­ma­cies, labo­ra­to­ries, medical prac­tices, blood banks or hospi­tals.

The ebm-papst fans used ensure that the air circu­lates evenly in the refrig­er­ator. (Photo | ebm-papst)

The company employs 80 people in Will­stätt-Sand, north of Offen­burg in Baden-Würt­tem­berg. Gerhard Müller is Head of Devel­op­ment and Design there and has been at Kirsch for 29 years. He explains: “Medi­cines are stored at five degrees Celsius, while blood requires four degrees Celsius. For blood plasma, the temper­a­ture is constant at -32 degrees Celsius, while users can set the temper­a­ture within a certain range for other appli­ca­tions.”

The Kirsch devices are also used to store the coro­n­avirus vaccines depending on the required temper­a­ture range. There is a corre­spond­ingly high demand at the moment, says Müller.

Maximum flex­i­bility thanks to in-house produc­tion

Kirsch’s vertical inte­gra­tion is also high: “We produce every­thing ourselves – from sheet metal to finished cabinet. Here in Will­stätt, we have our own sheet metal produc­tion, powder coating, foaming facility and final assembly,” says Müller. “This makes us extremely flex­ible and means that we can adapt details quickly and indi­vid­u­ally for our customers.”

We produce every­thing ourselves – from sheet metal to finished cabinet.

Gerhard Müller, Head of Devel­op­ment and Design at Kirsch

An addi­tional temper­a­ture sensor inside or larger ducts for suction system hoses? This type of adjust­ment is no problem for the Kirsch team. Customers also have the choice when it comes to inte­rior fittings: Wire grids, drawers made from stain­less steel, aluminum or plastic – many things are possible. Explo­sion-proof versions are also avail­able. In the refrig­er­a­tion and elec­tronics devel­op­ment sectors, the company works together with partner compa­nies. “Our devices are ‘Made in Germany’, which is why it is essen­tial for our suppliers to come from Germany and, if possible, even be based here in the region,” empha­sizes the Head of Devel­op­ment.

Reli­able partner on site

Gerhard Müller, Head of Devel­op­ment and Design at Kirsch

This also applies to the fans for the refrig­er­a­tors and freezers. These have been sourced from ebm-papst for many years. For Müller, the bene­fits are obvious: “We have been working with ebm-papst for a long time. In the begin­ning, we had the roller fans. Today we use the manufacturer’s DC axial compact fans. ebm-papst is almost right on our doorstep here in St. Georgen, which makes it easier to work together.” The short distances and indi­vidual support continue to be very satis­fying. “If we need to know whether an axial compact fan with a stan­dard range of up to minus 20 degrees Celsius can also be used at up to 30 degrees Celsius, ebm-papst performs extra tests for us. That’s great because we’re not left on our own. An this is even though we don’t have huge quan­ti­ties,” says Müller. One or two fans are installed in the freezers and refrig­er­a­tors, depending on their size.

Little space, lots of power

The most impor­tant crite­rion for the use of axial compact fans in the recir­cu­la­tion devices: They are compact and powerful. Gerhard Müller explains: “The fans are installed in the air duct and this is very limited in terms of space.” The compact dimen­sions and the required power are the greatest chal­lenges. If the fan used is too small, it quickly lacks the neces­sary power. The balancing act is achieved by the S-Panther fans from ebm-papst: “Our smallest cabinet is 80 liters, the largest 720 liters. In smaller models, we use DC axial compact fans with outer dimen­sions of 80 x 80 millime­ters, for the larger models they are 120 x 120 millime­ters.” The flat design of the fans makes inte­gra­tion easier.

Powerful and quiet

The ebm-papst fans used ensure that the air circu­lates evenly in the refrig­er­ator. They achieve an air flow rate of up to 205 m3/h. “We have very small temper­a­ture differ­ences in the inte­rior. This is what makes our refrig­er­a­tors and freezers stand out,” says Müller. “The more perfor­mance, the more noise is gener­ated.” This is prob­lem­atic as the refrig­er­a­tors are often found in medical prac­tices or nurses’ rooms. It is very disturbing if the fan constantly makes noises there. “The freezers used to be in a sepa­rate room, so it didn’t matter how loud the units were.

The fan often doesn’t have to be much quieter at all. Instead, our opti­miza­tion involves changing the noise so that it is perceived to be more pleasant.

Gerhard Müller, Head of Devel­op­ment and Design at Kirsch

Today the labo­ra­tory staff often work at a desk directly next to them, so it’s extremely impor­tant that our device makes as little noise as possible,” says Müller. The DC compact fans with a thermal signal help with this. “With these DC fans, we can vary the speed and thus influ­ence noise gener­a­tion.” Here, noise does not neces­sarily mean that the fan is very loud. Some­times it comes down to nuances: “The fan often doesn’t have to be much quieter at all. Instead, our opti­miza­tion involves changing the noise so that it is perceived to be more pleasant,” he says.

Complete control

Of course, reli­a­bility also plays a major role when storing medi­cines, vaccines or blood plasma. As well as reli­able compo­nents, corre­sponding moni­toring and docu­men­ta­tion are there­fore also required. “We have soft­ware for this purpose that runs server-based in the back­ground and moni­tors, records and sends alarm messages in the event of faults,” says Müller. The DC axial compact fans help with this, as they are speed moni­tored. If they do not reach the required constant speed, they auto­mat­i­cally trigger an alarm.

Gerhard Müller and his team currently have their hands full, as the refrig­er­a­tors and freezers are in demand: Phar­ma­cies and medical prac­tices have to store more vaccines and labo­ra­to­ries are also adding equip­ment. The expe­ri­enced Head of Devel­op­ment manager remains relaxed, after all he has the produc­tion in-house and the suppliers on site.

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Compact fans

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