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“Digital products solve problems that analog products can’t”

With its GreenIntelligence label, ebm-papst is making a statement about digitalization. Thomas Sauer, Group Director for Digitalization and Electronics, explains what is behind it and what customers can expect from it.

What is the new GreenIntelligence-label about?

GreenTech has been a symbol of our holistic approach for years: green production, green products and sustainable use of resources. That’s still the case, but we’ve taken it a step further: GreenIntelligence is GreenTech plus digitalization. The new logo indicates to customers that a product includes networked EC technology, and in particular that they are getting added value that goes beyond the product itself.

Just what does that mean?

The focus is no longer on the products alone, it’s mainly on the data they supply. We’ve already had smart products with on-board electronics for some time, and we’ve been gathering data in our products for a long time for later viewing and analysis. Now connectivity is joining the mix. By networking our fans, we make their data accessible and useful to the user everywhere. That introduces new possibilities. Added value is created when digital products solve problems that analog products can’t.

Is that already being applied?

Yes. For example, we’ve developed our own cloud solution that we can use to acquire data from a network-capable product at any location worldwide and retrieve it to our data center in Mulfingen. Here we can see whether it’s running as it should or if it needs maintenance.

Predictive maintenance ensures that the user can intervene in time before something happens that causes a system to fail completely.

Thomas Sauer, Group Director for Digitalization and Electronics

Is predictive maintenance the main added value that customers can expect?

It’s not everything, but it’s an important aspect. Let’s take the example of a residential ventilation unit. We can determine the level of heat exchange and the power consumption to tell us whether the unit is running in its optimum range. This information is also available to remote users and provides many benefits for them, such as better air quality, longer system lifetime and improved service. Predictive maintenance also ensures that the user can intervene in time before something happens that causes a system to fail completely. But they only have to intervene when it’s really necessary.

What other added value is there beyond that?

We can achieve greater energy efficiency with connectivity. We’ve already achieved very high efficiency with motors, electronics and aerodynamics. There’s no longer much room for improvement there. Products offer the greatest potential for energy savings in their applications, such as running only when they’re needed, and then only with the required output.

If you have other questions about this topic, you can address them to Thomas Sauer via email.

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