© Photo | ebm-papst

EC: The power of persua­sion

Four parties, any number of discus­sions, quick deci­sions: To start with, ebm-papst Ibérica had to put plenty of effort into finding enough convincing argu­ments for EC tech­nology – but in the end our Spanish branch was posi­tively over­whelmed by the customer’s enthu­si­astic response

The whole busi­ness did not exactly get off to a promising start. In June 2012, Juan Corbalán, sales engi­neer at ebm-papst Iberica, received an enquiry from the air condi­tioning system manu­fac­turer Intersam for large AC fans with a specific high oper­ating point. 108 such fans were required to help cool the air at a new abat­toir run by the Olot Meats company near Girona. The ebm-papst range does include this type of powerful fan, but it is only avail­able with EC tech­nology and not as an AC version. Although EC fans are more expen­sive to purchase, they use far less energy and are thus more econom­ical to run as well as being quieter. However, Intersam were only respon­sible for supplying the evap­o­rator units for the project and were bound by strict cost limits set by the instal­la­tion company Fritecno and so decided to look for an alter­na­tive product from a different manu­fac­turer. Which would normally have been the end of the story.


First step in the two-stage plan: The axial fans were fitted on the heat exchangers at Intersam and shipped

Bags of good argu­ments 

But the Spanish branch was not prepared to give in so easily. In view of ebm-papst’s long-standing close rela­tion­ship with Intersam and a number of success­fully completed orders involving EC tech­nology, Corbalán got in touch again and suggested a joint visit to Fritecno. “We were aware that they had worked with AC fans and frequency converters in the past and not always found these satis­fac­tory,” according to Germán Rojas, sales engi­neer at Intersam. “So we decided to give it a try.” With plenty of good argu­ments up their sleeves, Corbalán and Rojas went to visit Fritecno. The engi­neering company had received an order from Olot Meats for the design and instal­la­tion of an entire refrig­er­a­tion system. Based on hard facts and figures the two set out the advan­tages for the end customer: A lower noise level and, most impor­tantly, massive energy cost savings for the type of appli­ca­tion typi­cally encoun­tered in refrig­er­a­tion systems with contin­uous oper­a­tion over the full speed range.

“We have made use of EC tech­nology for smaller projects in the past,” explains Jordi Tarres, Fritecno project engi­neer, “but never on such a grand scale! In the end we as engi­neers were convinced by the abun­dance of tech­nical advan­tages, including a low fault rate, MODBUS connec­tion, conve­nient control and moni­toring.” That decided it: The engi­neering company was deter­mined to win over Olot Meats to the EC fan as well. Being a regular supplier, the customer places plenty of confi­dence in the exper­tise of Fritecno. And Olot Meats are also committed to sustain­ability – so a combi­na­tion of low CO2 emis­sions, excel­lent quality and low oper­ating costs was an ideal solu­tion. The outcome was that ebm-papst Ibérica received the order for 108 size 910 Green­Tech EC fans to be deliv­ered in November 2012. But that still wasn’t the end of the story.


The installed heat exchangers at Olot Meats. The second stage was to supply the AxiTop® and mount them on the existing instal­la­tion.

Added bonus on top 

A pleasant surprise awaited at the Chill­venta Refrig­er­a­tion, Air Condi­tioning, Venti­lation and Heat Pump trade fair in Nurem­berg, where Intersam were exhibiting the brand new AxiTop® diffuser from ebm-papst on one of their condensers. Repre­sen­ta­tives from Fritecno visiting the stand took an imme­diate interest in the product. The members of the Spanish engi­neering company responded enthu­si­as­ti­cally to a spon­ta­neous presen­ta­tion with the partic­i­pa­tion of Fritecno, Intersam and ebm-papst. “We imme­di­ately realised that the diffuser would be an ideal addi­tion to the Olot Meats project,” as Pere Solé, sales manager at Fritecno, is still keen to explain. “As the abat­toir is not far from a resi­den­tial area, the customer placed partic­ular emphasis on a quiet-running instal­la­tion. And the fact that higher air handling rates are antic­i­pated for the future makes any possible energy savings even more of a priority.”

Fritecno would have liked to order the AxiTop® straight away. However there was a problem: “Only the size 800 diffuser was avail­able at the time,” as Juan Corbalán recalls. “The 910 version was still at the devel­op­ment stage.” But the start of instal­la­tion work at Olot Meats was already firmly sched­uled for January – with no chance of post­pone­ment. “In October we thought this was an impos­sible task, after all there weren’t even any tools ready for the 910 at that point.”


A team from Intersam, Fritecno and ebm-papst inspecting the abat­toir heat exchangers in oper­a­tion

Up onto the roof in two stages

The solu­tion was a two-stage plan: As agreed, ebm-papst deliv­ered the type 910 EC fans ordered to Intersam in November, where they were mounted on the heat exchangers and sent to Girona for instal­la­tion. In January, the equip­ment was then grad­u­ally installed in the building and on the roof by Fritecno. This gave ebm-papst the time they needed to work flat out to complete devel­op­ment of the size 910 diffusers, make the tools and start series produc­tion of the AxiTop. “We assem­bled the 108 AxiTops at our Madrid branch and sent these directly to Olot Meats,” explains Corbalán. “There they were installed just in time.” Is that now the end of the story?
“For us the Olot Meats abat­toir is a refer­ence plant in this region,” as both Jordi Tarres and Pere Solé from Fritecno point out. And even today Germán Rojas from Intersam remains impressed by the smooth imple­men­ta­tion of the project: “Despite four parties being involved, the nego­ti­a­tions always went very well and quick deci­sions were taken.”

The AxiTop diffuser for axial fans

Datacenter_sparstiftThe diffuser helps to enhance effi­ciency and signif­i­cantly reduce noise. Its pres­sure boosting effect minimises exit losses and facil­i­tates adap­ta­tion of the fan to commer­cially avail­able heat exchangers. Up to 27 per cent energy savings are thus possible and the sound power can be reduced by 7.2 dB(A).

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  • Pallab Banerjee on said:

    One of the best win of EC Tech­nology + i.e. EC fans and AxiTop that I have across in my 12 years with this company. Great work team epSpain – thank you for keeping the flag of ebmpapst and EC tech­nology flying high!!