© Photo | ebm-papst

The all-round talent

The single-room air-condi­tioning unit from the Swiss start-up company Air-On creates a healthy room climate – and is tremen­dously energy-effi­cient and quiet to boot

Building reno­va­tions and energy-saving houses have a giant poten­tial for contributing to climate protec­tion. However, many concepts today stop at insu­lating the resi­den­tial space as best as possible. This is where the swiss start-up company Air-On AG gets started and offers what so far has been a unique climate control solu­tion, which takes into account not only the energy-opti­mised building, but also the people. The Air-On® single-room air-condi­tioning unit is a genuine all-round talent, which regu­lates the three essen­tial factors for a healthy room climate, from temper­a­ture, to humidity, to CO2 content. To achieve this, the air-condi­tioning unit masters five func­tions at once: heating, venti­lating, puri­fying air, dehu­mid­i­fying and humid­i­fying. And since the device oper­ates only when one of the three room climate factors is not in the nominal range, it also saves a whole lot of energy.

Improving the optimum: The trio works together closely during devel­op­ment.

The secret to these savings is in the CO2 measure­ment. For air-condi­tioning devices without a CO2 sensor, fans have to provide an unin­ter­rupted air exchange. If there is not much carbon dioxide in the air, however, then a substan­tially smaller air exchange quan­tity is suffi­cient. And when less air has to be moved, less power is used. Also, Air-On devel­oped its own filters, which drive in the same direc­tion. Just how well these purify the air is made clear by Dr Stefan Heule, the manager for filter tech­nology and aero­dy­namics at Air-On. In the labo­ra­tory he elim­i­nated the partic­u­late matter of a burning candle using the Air-On®device within a short time and produced quality approaching that of a clean room. “A candle is a real nanopar­ticle canon, but the device filtered out most of the little parti­cles,” says Heule, describing the exper­i­ment. This is true thanks to a unit consisting of a coarse filter and an elec­tro­filter, which also removed partic­u­late matter to an impres­sive degree under real-world condi­tions in a proto­type test in a housing area. We speak of “excel­lent” room air quality when there is a maximum of 10,000 nanopar­ti­cles per cubic metre. In the test resi­dences the devices permitted no more than approx­i­mately 1,500 parti­cles. More­over, an active carbon filter removes ozone and unpleasant odours. “If your neigh­bour starts up his fire­place, your home will not be domi­nated by a smoky bonfire atmos­phere.”

Dr Heule presents the cover that protects the unit of sharp edges and dust until start of oper­a­tion

The Air-On®air-condi­tioning unit has only three moving parts – centrifugal fans from ebm-papst st. Georgen. And these are respon­sible for moving the air through the filters. Two smaller RER 125 fans draw the outside air to the inside and push the used room air to the outside via a heat exchanger. The large Type RER 160 fan controls the total volume flowing from the device into the room. Air-On searched for a fan supplier which could meet the high quality and service life require­ments. “Only one supplier came into consid­er­a­tion,” empha­sises Heule. The first contact with ebm-papst took place in 2007 via the swiss subsidiary in Ober­hasli in the Canton of Zurich, and the appro­priate fan models were also quickly found.

However, Heule frequently trav­elled to the German loca­tion in st. Georgen for the tech­nical opti­mi­sa­tion of the fans. In return, several engi­neers from ebm-papst made a visit to the little company in Cham am Zugersee. “So much customer care really impressed us,” Heule admits. “We were convinced of the appli­ca­tion from the begin­ning,” empha­sises Uwe rupertus, sales Engi­neer in st. Georgen, with respect to the joint devel­op­ment. “There­fore it was a matter of course for us to work together at full power towards success.”

Read the exclu­sive inter­view with the Managing Director of Air-On, Adrian Peter­hans

The fans are inher­ently tremen­dously energy-effi­cient, thanks to their good control­la­bility, and also permit low power input at constant speeds over a long time period. This is signif­i­cant above all in night-time mode, when the fans have to run as uniformly as possible, since noise changes can be partic­u­larly unpleasant for those sleeping. “During our visits in ebm-papst’s test lab, our primary concern was noise,” explains Heule. “We gained very conve­nient access to the profes­sional test envi­ron­ment there.” And he adds with a grin, “Then, however, the dialogue during devel­op­ment took a typical course: We said, ‘It is still too noisy.’” Rupertus explains how ebm-papst was finally able to accom­plish the prescribed level of 22 deci­bels in night-time mode, “Use of the RER 160, which runs in compa­rable appli­ca­tions, was crit­ical. It has a special commu­ta­tion, in order to keep the noise level as low as possible. Never­the­less, we had to develop the motor soft­ware further to achieve Air-On’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions.”

Maximum effi­ciency is one thing, user-friend­li­ness is another. Air-On thought about that also: The device is not only easy to install, it is also self-regu­lating. The user has only to clean the filters from time to time. This is why the Air-On team made their self-devel­oped coarse filter and elec­tro­filter unit dish­washer-proof: Open the cover, take out the filter unit, put it in the dish­washer – done.

An in-depth view of the air-condi­tioning unit

The Air-On® single room air-condi­tioning unit combines five func­tions at once: heating, venti­la­tion, air purifi­ca­tion, dehu­mid­i­fying (gentle, active cooling as an addi­tional func­tion), humid­i­fying. More­over, two different instal­la­tion vari­ants are currently possible: Air conduc­tion directly through the facade or below the weather shield.

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