What was the idea behind the new Centre of Excellence?
Market research shows that our customers choose to work with ebm-papst because they value our technical expertise, our customer service and the reliability of our products. With the new Centre of Excellence, we wanted to concentrate these capabilities in one place and expand and improve our local service for our customers in Australia and New Zealand.
Alexandra Gray is Design Manager at ebm-papst A&NZ. She has been with the company for seven years and has worked in internal service, quality assurance and test stand management – always hand in hand with the research and development department. She played a crucial role in establishing the Centre of Excellence.
What is in the Centre of Excellence?
The Centre of Excellence consists of a research and development facility, a fan test stand certified according to the ISO 5801 standard, a product analysis department, and a development department that includes control solutions. The research and development facility gives our engineers plenty of room to work on their ideas. They can focus completely on a project there, develop models and repeatedly test all sorts of different fan control scenarios.
And how do customers benefit from that?
The research and development facility enables us to perform comprehensive tests and product analyses for our customers from Australia and New Zealand, and to develop products that are perfectly tailored to their mechanical and software requirements. We have various equipment to help us do that: a test stand that we use to determine fan performance and power curves, test cages in various sizes for safe product testing, and an electronics station that enables us to vary the input power. And then there are instruments for measuring air flow and noise and for testing electrical systems. In the last few months, we’ve been able to use this equipment for local development and production of a number of fans for the agricultural market.
What benefits does that provide for customer service?
Just recently a customer sent us a fan that had failed. We examined it, but couldn’t find the defect. In the past, we would have sent the fan to Germany for analysis, but that’s 14,500 kilometers away – very expensive and time-consuming. Since we have more local expertise now, we were able to test the fan right here in Melbourne. After analyzing it, we took it apart and inspected and photographed the circuit board. Then we sent the photos to the quality assurance department in Mulfingen. The people there helped us find and fix the fault. We’re still learning now, but over time we’ll be able to solve such problems on our own here more and more often.
You also have new warranty and customer service offerings. What can you tell us about them?
Our biggest change is that we have extended our guarantee for EC products from two to five years. We have always offered and will continue to offer technical support by phone or video conference. If this is not enough we promise to be on-site within 24 hours to help find the solution. For minor problems, we aim to find the cause or at least provide feedback within ten day period.
The Centre of Excellence has been around for a few months now. How has the customer response been so far?
Very positive. But not only customers gave us gratifying feedback. After its opening, people from government, suppliers, and our industry expressed their approval about how well we work together and how innovative they find the new Centre of Excellence.