© Photo | ebm-papst

“We offer the forum for forward-looking tech­nolo­gies”

ebm-papst organ­ised what has now become the fourth Inno­va­tion Forum

In May, ebm-papst organ­ised what has now become the fourth Inno­va­tion Forum under the title “Future Effi­ciency” indus­trial tech­nology, air-condi­tioning and refrig­er­a­tion tech­nology and heat pump tech­nology. Twenty subject special­ists from customers, colleges and univer­si­ties and the company itself presented on and discussed this for two days with the more than 200 partic­i­pants. The people respon­sible for the bian­nual event, Dr Bruno Lindl, Managing Director for Research and Devel­op­ment of the ebm-papst Group, and Alfred Müller, Sales Manager Germany, provide infor­ma­tion about its results and back­ground

How do things look for the future of effi­ciency?

Lindl:Compet­i­tive prod­ucts that conserve resources are the basis for the future sustain­ability of compa­nies. That is why the essen­tial para­meter for successful inno­va­tions in the coming ten years is energy effi­ciency. That is one part which the compa­nies contribute for achieving climate goals.

Alfred Müller, Sales Manager Germany ebm-papst Mulfingen GmbH & Co. KG

Dr Bruno Lindl, Managing Director Research and Devel­op­ment ebm-papst Group

Have customers now become more recep­tive to “green” messages?

Lindl: It is not just a ques­tion of “green”. End customers expect not only a func­tional and cost-effec­tive product, but also one that can reduce oper­ating costs. That is the task of the entire supplier chain. More and more, life­time costs are slip­ping into the fore­ground of effi­ciency and cost eval­u­a­tion. This is also a substan­tial reason for the success of energy-effi­cient prod­ucts.

What role does the Inno­va­tion Forum play in this?

Müller: Among the numerous customers from our indus­tries of indus­trial tech­nology, air-condi­tioning and refrig­er­a­tion tech­nology and heat pump tech­nology, many were impor­tant devel­op­ment managers for us, who signif­i­cantly deter­mine the product devel­op­ment of their houses. Thus the Forum picks up right where the prod­ucts with our forward-looking tech­nology have their origin.

Lindl: Here, we make it possible to present and discuss inno­va­tions along the entire value creation chain, all the way to the bene­fits for the end customer. This forum serves as a plat­form and cata­lyst for discussing the require­ments and options for marketable prod­ucts of tomorrow.

What should the customers take away from this?

Müller: It is enor­mously impor­tant for us to present our forward-looking tech­nology for external insti­tu­tions and ways to imple­ment them directly with the industry’s refer­ence customers. That is the focal point of the event. Addi­tion­ally, consumers and competi­tors of our refer­ence customers come to the Forum because here they can learn about imple­men­ta­tion and new trends of their indus­tries. Accord­ingly, the breaks were filled with inten­sive discus­sions and animated exchanges of infor­ma­tion between special­ists and exec­u­tive staff of the compa­nies. It is possible to have personal discus­sions among experts at the Inno­va­tion Forum. More­over, here customers have the oppor­tu­nity to speak directly with the manage­ment and ebm-papst devel­opers. In addi­tion, of course, it is also a social event in a beau­tiful setting that strengthens customer loyalty.

What benefit does ebm-papst draw from the event?

Prof Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker

Lindl: We have to work jointly with our customers to find the best tech­nology at marketable prices, in order to offer our end customers the greatest possible benefit together. When gener­ating product ideas, the most impor­tant chal­lenge is to address the future desires of customers and to opti­mise the customer bene­fits qual­i­ta­tively and quan­ti­ta­tively.

This succeeds only when there is close networking among devel­opers of compo­nents, subsys­tems and end prod­ucts. In terms of progress, more latent poten­tial exists here than in endless value analysis reflec­tions focused on single compo­nents. And at the Forum, we attempt to estab­lish this compre­hen­sive approach.

Has the event already produced syner­gies?

Müller: The Forum presents not only our own basic and future devel­op­ments, but also how to success­fully imple­ment appli­ca­tions with refer­ence customers. In any case, with immi­nent stan­dards, such as the Energy-related Prod­ucts direc­tive, we achieve the greatest success through close co-oper­a­tion. This was confirmed by the presen­ta­tions from customers on existing and future market demands as well as research results presented by profes­sors from colleges, univer­si­ties and other insti­tu­tions. Only by working jointly to persuade end customers have we and our OEM customers succeeded in placing over one million energy-saving motors in refrig­er­ated coun­ters and refrig­er­a­tion systems in the past three years.

What were the high points for you?

Lindl: Certainly the presen­ta­tion by Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker on the evening before the Forum. He vividly portrayed the rela­tion­ships between society, poli­tics, economy and tech­nology – and the scenarios to be derived from these. He empha­sised that the next tech­nology cycle will have to focus on energy effi­ciency and resource conser­va­tion. And in the evening program on the second day, for the third time in a row we received the distinc­tion “365 land­marks in the land of Ideas”, over­seen by Federal Pres­i­dent Chris­tian Wulff.

How would you sum up the fourth Inno­va­tion Forum?

Müller: It was an outstanding event. Our clear focus on inno­v­a­tive effi­cient prod­ucts has been confirmed. Now, together with our customers, we have to open up new markets and expand the ones that exist. Only energy effi­ciency will enable us to master the future with renew­able ener­gies! The greatest growth poten­tial for all of us appears partic­u­larly in this area and with the energy-related upgrading of existing building mate­rials. Our great sales success in the past fiscal year, also confirmed for our customers that they relied on the right partner with us.

How will the Forum continue?

Lindl: We will certainly schedule another Inno­va­tion Forum in Mulfingen in two years and invite our customers even today to present forward-looking tech­nolo­gies with us as well as how to imple­ment them. We will again select two to three areas from our eight main indus­tries. This way we will ensure concen­trated, joint work on both days – along with highly compe­tent and inter­esting repre­sen­ta­tives from science and research.

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