© Lukas Zwiessele
© Lukas Zwiessele

Insight into our testing center“Tested for Tough Use in the Field”

Ice forma­tion, heat, and rain all affect the service life of fans. That’s why ebm-papst tests them for months in the in-house testing center in Mulfingen-Hollen­bach under all these envi­ron­mental influ­ences. The aim is to qualify the maximum service life instead of the minimum service life.

ebm-papst has always put its fans through their paces – but this has been taken to a whole new level since spring 2023. They are purpose­fully taken to and beyond their limits using real envi­ron­mental influ­ences in the testing center built in Hollen­bach in just one year. New prod­ucts, sizes or compo­nents pass through the test stations in a total of 6 test fields over an area of approx­i­mately 2,500 square meters. In this series, we’ll give you insights into each of these testing areas.

Erich Kemmer, who has worked at ebm-papst for more than 30 years, heads the testing center: “Our aim is to iden­tify the effects of envi­ron­mental influ­ences on the fans and deter­mine whether and how they affect service life. By doing so, we can iden­tify crit­ical points much faster than in the field,” he explains.

We test fans with real envi­ron­mental influ­ences and thus for tough use in the field.

Erich Kemmer, Group Leader Vali­da­tion

The employees of the testing center there­fore do not work with ideal labo­ra­tory condi­tions, but with the real envi­ron­mental influ­ences the fan will face later when in use. These include different phys­ical or chem­ical influ­ences such as temper­a­ture, humidity, salt water, or vibra­tion – of natural or man-made origin. For example, water acts natu­rally on a fan due to rain­fall and in a man-made manner due to the use of the fan in a washing system – both can affect the service life of the product at the customer’s premises.

After a construc­tion period of 15 months, the testing center in Hollen­bach went into oper­a­tion in the spring of 2023.

In an area of approx­i­mately 2,500 square meters, several hundred fans per year are pushed to their limits – and beyond – by 8 highly qual­i­fied employees.

Recog­nizing inter­ac­tions

Kemmer and his team deter­mine the inter­ac­tions between fans, their compo­nents, and their envi­ron­ment through in-depth inves­ti­ga­tions before, during, and after the indi­vidual test fields. Could rapid temper­a­ture changes possibly lead to cracks in the plastic? Can mois­ture then pene­trate through these cracks? The team relies on stan­dard­ized stan­dard tests as well as on combined load tests devel­oped over the years, which are carried out in large climate cham­bers.

They test the prod­ucts in the test fields for shock and vibra­tion, climate, impeller strength, spin and cycle test, IP protec­tion class water, salt spray, and in the three accel­er­ated service life tests H0, H1, and H2. It takes at least half a year for a fan to run through all stations. “We always test during and at the end of product devel­op­ment. After all, the fan is not only expected to rotate and deliver the expected air perfor­mance, but also be used without any prob­lems in a wide range of areas around the world,” says Kemmer.

Herr Kemmer, what happens if a fan does not pass a test?

However, it is not only newly devel­oped prod­ucts that pass through the testing center – new sizes or indi­vidual compo­nents such as motors or impellers also have to undergo tests. “This allows us to iden­tify errors during the design stage and, if neces­sary, start again from the begin­ning – that’s the whole point,” explains Kemmer.

Exclu­sive insights into all test fields

Learn more about how ebm-papst puts fans to the test in the indi­vidual test fields. Each article with exciting insights, videos and pictures!

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