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When it comes to retrofits, i.e. the modernisation or retrofitting of existing systems, ebm-papst generally takes on the role of supplier of highly efficient fans. Supermarket chains, office building operators and industrial companies from a wide range of sectors all benefit from the sometimes significant energy savings, lower noise emissions and digital integration options. This time, however, the path is a particularly short one: as part of its sustainability strategy, the Mulfingen-based fan specialist has also scrutinised its own ventilation systems and decided to upgrade to the latest fan technology at its four German locations - in addition to Mulfingen, these are Hollenbach, St. Georgen and Landshut in Lower Bavaria.

A special retrofit

During the inventory, 136 ventilation and air-conditioning systems and 25 cooling systems were identified for retrofitting. The special feature here was that many of the fans installed were already working with particularly efficient EC motors. This was partly because the systems at the relatively new Hollenbach plant only went into operation in 2007, and partly because some of the older systems had already been upgraded to the latest EC technology a few years ago. However, the replacement from EC to EC also makes perfect sense from an energy point of view: depending on the installation situation, up to twelve per cent of energy can still be saved. What's more, the replacement can be carried out easily because the installation sizes are generally identical and no adjustments need to be made to the control cabinet, as the power supply and control cables can be retained.

A higher level of intelligence

In addition to energy savings, the use of the latest generation of fans brings further benefits: Integration into the building management system, the installation of sensors and thus needs-based operation or even data-driven added value such as predictive maintenance. In the case of the Mulfingen retrofit, gateways from ebm-papst neo were installed in many systems. These can read the data from the fan and, for example, monitor the running times or measure the power consumption. The gateways communicate directly with the ebm-papst neo cloud via LTE and are designed to recognise and exploit further savings potential. "Our technology is also great for us," emphasises Klaus Geißdörfer, CEO of the ebm-papst Group. "And with the retrofit project, we are emphasising our ambition to lead ventilation technology into a new age."