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Ziehl-Abegg reports record sales of 716 million euros

KÜNZELSAU, Germany, 31 March 2022: Ziehl-Abegg reported record sales of 716 million euros in 2021, compared to 639 million euros in 2020. Making the announcement through a Press release, the manufacturer of electric motors and fans said the figure posted in 2021 represented a growth of 11.9%. 

The PCB manufacturing process at Ziehl-Abegg is an example of vertical integration at the company. Evelin Fazekas assembles a PCB for an EC motor

Peter Fenkl, CEO, Ziehl-Abegg, describing 2021, said, “In view of the problems with global supply chains, we took a cautious approach at times and, ultimately, managed to do pretty well in terms of sales.”

The company said it was equally heartening that the number of employees worldwide rose to 4,700, compared to 4,300 in 2020. 

Fenkl described the earnings situation as “more than difficult”, as the supply chain problems not only had an impact on delivery times but on pricing, as well. “Some suppliers had already increased prices so quickly towards the end of 2020 and then repeatedly in 2021 that we were unable to pass these on to the market on a 1:1 basis,” he said.

Based on the experience in the first quarter, the manager knows that this situation will become more acute in the current year. “I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” Fenkl said. It is relevant to highlight that Fenkl has been at the helm of the family-owned business for more than 20 years. 

Ziehl-Abegg said it is regarded as a company with a high level of vertical integration. “We now want to expand this even further,” Fenkl said. However, growth at the headquarters in Hohenlohe is problematical, as there is a serious shortage in the availability of the necessary additional workers there, the company said.

The intention, therefore, is to expand existing production facilities and establish new production sites, it added. Fenkl said: “Additional production sites will bring us closer to our customers.” 

Thomas Späth assembles a fan at the Ziehl-Abegg production site in southern Germany

The company said the 11.9% growth in sales last year provides a good base for further growth. Ventilation systems were the sales driver in the year just past, contributing EUR 637 million to the overall result, the company said.

Fenkl said he held no illusions about the challenges that lie ahead. “Work shifts are currently being repeatedly cancelled because of a lack of components – how can you realistically plan and how are you supposed to satisfy your customers?” he said.  

Ziehl-Abegg employs 2,600 people in Germany, 200 more than a year ago. The number of employees worldwide rose from 4,300 to 4,700. Since employees of the baby boom era in Germany are now increasingly reaching retirement age, this is having a direct impact on the available workforce potential. “Companies must, therefore, openly target Generation Z, the post-millennials,” Fenkl said. “We mustn’t persist with old ways of thinking but instead take the wishes and needs of young people seriously.” 

AMCA initiates work on Standard 340

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois, 18 October 2021: Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) International Inc. is seeking volunteers to serve on the technical committee for a new AMCA Standard: AMCA Standard 340 – Laboratory Method of Sound Testing of Large-Diameter Ceiling Fans.

Making the announcement through a Press release, AMCA said the standard will develop a method of sound testing for large-diameter ceiling fans (LDCF), sometimes referred to as High Volume Low Speed, or HVLS, fans. The method would allow for the third-party certification of sound data in a manner that is cost-effective and produces accurate, repeatable results, and to provide standardized design data for the application of LDCF in occupied spaces, AMCA added.

​Currently, each LDCF manufacturer uses a different method of test, AMCA said. Existing sound test standards require acoustical testing chambers that are cost-prohibitive due to the large size of LDCF – up to 24 feet in diameter, AMCA said. A method of test is needed to provide consistent, accurate and comparable sound performance data for designers and end-users, AMCA added.

Committee members would be expected to participate in reviewing the standard and resolving any comments received, AMCA said, adding that meetings will be held virtually by conference call.

According to AMCA, stakeholders for the Standard include manufacturers of LDCF, building design engineers and architects, end-users, testing labs of LDCF, and trade associations and professional societies within the HVAC industry.​

AMCA invited those interested in volunteering to click here and complete and submit the form by the close of business on November 17. For more information, it encouraged those interested to contact Shruti Kohli-Bhargava, Manager, Publications & Standards at shrutik@amca.org.

STULZ, Mirus, ebm-papst to host webinar on harmonic mitigation in data centres

FREDERICK, Maryland, 26 September 2021: STULZ, Mirus International and ebm-papst will be conducting part 2 of a e-discussion on harmonic mitigation in data centres, STULZ said through a Press release. The webinar is on September 28, the company added.

Dave Meadows

To improve energy efficiencies in today’s modern custom air handlers, highly efficient electronically commutated (EC) fans are often incorporated for air movement, STULZ said. This is because the fan systems can improve efficiencies over conventional AC motors equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs) by 30% or more, it said. An EC fan incorporates a brushless DC permanent magnet motor (BLDC) controlled by an integrated rectifier, inverter and smart electronics.

Tony Hoevenaars

BLDC motors, with efficiencies greater than 90%, provide a more effective ventilation system, so that ‘free cooling’ becomes more easily achievable, which contributes to the energy savings potential, it said. Also, air distribution can be improved with multiple fan arrays allowing upstream or downstream components, such as filters or heat exchangers, to receive a more even airflow, thereby improving air filtering and heat transfer efficiency, it added.

In striving towards reliable and efficient systems, one significant factor sometimes overlooked is electrical harmonic distortion, STULZ said. One of the few things common with AC/VSD and EC fan systems is that they are both harmonic generating, non-linear loads, it said.

Joe Landrette

Without proper harmonic mitigation, non-linear loads can distort the AC power distribution and possibly expose a mission-critical facility to electrical issues, such as overheating distribution equipment and failure of sensitive equipment connected to the same electrical bus, it added.

The speakers include Dave Meadows, Director of Technology, STULZ USA; Tony Hoevenaars, President and CEO, Mirus International; and Joe Landrette, Director, VAC & Data Centers and Digital Solutions, ebm-papst. According to STULZ, the webinar, scheduled for a 2pm (Eastern Time, US and Canada) start, will be useful to electrical engineers, mechanical engineers and end-users.

Ziehl-Abegg invests €36 mn in expanding its facilities

KÜNZELSAU, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 4 August 2021: “The world’s markets will continue to need high-quality electric motors and fans in the future,” said Peter Fenkl, CEO, Ziehl-Abegg, explaining why the company invested €16 million euros in the expansion of its production buildings at the Kupferzell site in the middle of the pandemic. This, he added, will be followed by a further €20 million for machinery. Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs, Baden-Württemberg, added: “With the new building, the company is further expanding its high degree of vertical manufacture and the resilience of the supply chains here at the site, whilst also securing valuable jobs both within and beyond the region.”

Peter Fenkl shows Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut how fans for data centres and hospitals are assembled

Fenkl described how, in the early summer of 2020, many economic decision-makers were in shock due to the pandemic. “No-one knew what was coming next – and that’s when we started our current construction project,” he recalled. “The year 2020 resembled a rollercoaster ride – rapidly alternating between border closures, interruptions to material supplies, falling sales and rising orders. Thanks to the commitment of each and every one of the employees, the company still succeeded in posting an increase in sales at the end of the year – followed by an order intake that exceeded all previous records.”

Referring to the new building, he said, “So we’re now glad that we’ve already created more space for rapid growth.” New machines and systems that had already been ordered in spring 2020, will be arriving on a weekly basis, he said, adding that the building is also intended to create an additional 180 jobs.

The new building will result in an additional 8,700 square metres for manufacturing state-of-the-art generation of energy-efficient electric motors, the company said. “The durable and efficient electric motor has been our core area of expertise for more than 100 years,” Fenkl said, adding that the company is a technology leader in the design of fans based on the concept of biomimetics. “However, since many geometries offering perfect aerodynamics cannot be implemented in steel or aluminum, we are expanding the area of composite materials,” he said. “It is essential for us to have more space for additional injection-moulding machines for composite materials.”

Ziehl-Abegg, he said, is expanding its production facilities worldwide or optimising existing plants – in Schöntal-Bieringen, where the aluminium casting operation is based, and in America and Asia. “Corona,” he said, “has shown that we have to consider very carefully how we can design our production facilities in a way that enables us to satisfy the needs of the market to optimum effect.”

AMCA introduces tools to aid transition to Fan Energy Index

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois, 2 August 2021: AMCA International introduced tools to aid transition to the Fan Energy Index. The body did so against the backdrop of recent developments related to energy efficiency in the United States.

On July 28, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued determinations that the 2019 edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, and the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) “will achieve greater energy efficiency in buildings subject to the code” and “will improve energy efficiency in residential buildings,” respectively. Upon publication of these affirmative determinations, the DOE said, states in the country must review and certify their building codes relative to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC.

As states begin to examine and update their energy codes, some are adopting an earlier edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 (2016 or 2013) or the IECC (2018 or 2015), AMCA said. In so doing, they are prolonging the use of fan efficiency grade (FEG) as the metric for efficiency provisions for commercial and industrial fans and blowers, AMCA said. FEG, which the DOE concluded in an as-yet-unfinished rulemaking is not an appropriate metric for a federal appliance/equipment regulation, was replaced by Fan Energy Index (FEI) for ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC, AMCA said, adding that it advises states adopting earlier editions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 and the IECC to “leapfrog” the outdated FEG metric to take advantage of the energy-saving, compliance-easing FEI.

For example, Florida, which on December 31 became the first state to adopt FEI when the seventh (2020) edition of Florida Building Code: Energy Conservation was published, adopted the 2018 IECC, but the 2021 IECC fan-efficiency provision, AMCA pointed out.

“Florida has set the example of how to leapfrog model-energy-code provisions to avoid prolonging the use of an outdated metric,” Aaron Gunzner, Senior Manager, Advocacy, AMCA International, said. “To help other states achieve the goal of phasing in the new FEI metric, AMCA International has, with permission from ASHRAE and the International Code Council, developed templates with exact strike-out/underline language.”

Additionally, to describe the rationale for and the benefits of changing metrics, AMCA said it recently updated its Advocacy Brief: New Fan Energy Index (FEI) Metric and Scope for Energy Codes, a document for code officials and others considering proposals to transition from FEG to FEI.

Formalized in ANSI/AMCA Standard 208-18, Calculation of the Fan Energy Index, FEI considers the effects of motors and drives, not just fans, and aids the right-sizing of fan systems for the conditions they will operate in, AMCA said. In addition to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC, it added, FEI has replaced FEG in:

  • 2021 International Green Construction Code (IgCC)
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/USGBC/IES 189.1-2020, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings

AMCA recommended visiting www.amca.org/FEI, to download the templates and to view Advocacy Brief: New Fan Energy Index (FEI) Metric and Scope for Energy Codes. The microsite, AMCA said, additionally includes links to related codes and standards, technical articles and white papers, webinar recordings, and presentations.

Dunli launches B-Max backward-curved centrifugal fan

Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 27 July, 2021: Dunli has launched the B-Max backward-curved centrifugal fan, which the company said is developed for high-end HVAC unit applications. Making the announcement through a Press release, the company added that the impeller, motor and controller of the fan were designed afresh to bring customers a better experience.

Describing the characteristics of the fan, Dunli said it:

  • Is a one-piece solution, where the motor, impeller, inlet ring, supporting rack and mounting plate are matched and assembled perfectly into one piece. This feature, it added, enables ease of assembly for the customer.

 

  • Has excellent efficiency, including industry-leading static pressure efficiency, which meets ErP2020 Standard requirements; an aerodynamic efficiency as high as 75% and above; and EC motor efficiency that meets IE4 standard.

 

  • Has an optimised aerodynamic airfoil-shaped blade design through using CFD technology; and industry-leading noise level. These two features, it added, are the outcome of 40+ reliability tests that were performed.

 

  • Has various control functions, including 0-10VDC (15VDC)/PWM signal control; phase-missing, over-current, over-voltage, over-temperature protections and signal control and fault alarm functions; and 485 communication function with MODBUS-RTU interface to monitor working, stop, speed and malfunction of the motor status.

 

  • Has wide range of applications, wherein it can be widely used in AHUs, data centres and precision air conditioning

Eurovent announces granting first certificate for fans

PARIS, France, 2 July 2021: Eurovent issued its first ever certificate of the Eurovent Certified Performance programme for Fans, the body said through a Press release.  Eurovent added that the certificate went out to direct-driven centrifugal fans using EC motor technology.

According to Eurovent, the scope of the certification programme includes all fan types that are intended to be used as air-handling unit (AHU) components. The certification programme is based on factory audits, software/DLL checking, random product sampling and tests according to ISO 5801:2017 for aerodynamic performances and ISO 13347-2:2004 for acoustic performances, Eurovent said, adding that all tests are performed by independent testing laboratories.

According to Eurovent, the following performances are certified:

  • Static pressure difference
  • Motor electrical input power
  • Drive/control input power
  • Overall (static) efficiency
  • Inlet and outlet sound power levels

Systemair announces supplying smart, sustainable HVAC solutions for Expo 2020

DUBAI, UAE, 11 October 2021: The Systemair Group, as official sponsor of the Swedish Pavilion at Expo 2020, from October 1 to March 31 in Dubai, will showcase modern climate solutions from Systemair and Frico that, it said, will ensure visitors to the Pavilion are able to breathe clean air and enjoy the cool climate in a smart and sustainable manner. Announcing this through a Press release, Systemair Group added that Systemair and Frico will also be organising several exciting events aimed at educating stakeholders on the importance of achieving optimum indoor air quality without compromising on energy efficiency.

Morten Schmelzer showcases one of the Geniox AHU, located on the roof of the Swedish Pavilion

Morten Schmelzer, Technical Marketing Director, Systemair Group, said: “As proud sponsors of the Swedish Pavilion, we want to ensure visitors can benefit from healthy and comfortable indoor climate. Keeping this in mind, we have carefully selected the products that will ensure fresh air supply, which is especially crucial in view of COVID-19. Our solution also offers a minimum of 50% lower electrical power consumption and sustainable cooling recovery as high as 65%, which is unique for the Middle East. Lastly, the products are in line with the latest high European and ISO standards, which enable the best possible IAQ with minimum energy utilisation.”

Systemair Group said it supplied 10 of its high-end Geniox AHUs with state-of-the-art control systems to meet requirements of the local ambient conditions, as well as the spatial challenges posed by the unique design of the structure. It said it also supplied a sorption cooling recovery system with special material on the heat-recovery wheel, along with fan-coil units, a Sysaqua 170 chiller and a roof fan – the DVG EC560. The pavilion features two of the latest-generation air curtains from Frico, installed in the shop and the cafeteria, it added.

Exterior of the Swedish Pavilion

According to Systemair Group, Systemair and Frico will hold a VIP keynote event and reception night during the Expo, featuring leading global experts, who will discuss trends and innovations relating to the next generation of sustainable HVAC technologies. Also in the information dissemination mix, Systemair Group said, is an exclusive workshop that will elaborate on how stakeholders can leverage advanced technical solutions to obtain healthy indoor air in their projects while saving energy in their projects.

Dunli launches X-Pro axial fans

Yuhang District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China 3 May 2021: Dunli has launched the X-Pro series of axial fans, which the company described in a Press release as designed to feature the latest rear guide vane and three-dimensional flow impeller.

The range covers a variety of impeller diameters, including 500mm, 630mm, 710mm, 800mm and 900mm, Dunli said. The maximum static pressure efficiency is up to 56%, and the air volume is as high as 35,000m3/h, the company claimed. The noise and range – throw distance – are able to perform significantly better than the equivalent fans from the motor fan industry all over the world, the company further claimed.

According to Dunli, the X-Pro fans can be used on a variety of HVAC equipment, such as air coolers, air-cooled heat exchange modules, heat pumps and cooling towers. This X-Pro series, Dunli said, is reliable, lends itself to easy installation and maintenance and is convenient to control.

Carel launches pCOe

BRUGINE, Padua, Italy, 22 April 2021: Carel said it has widened its range of I/O expansions in the first part of 2021 with the development of a new digital input expansion board. I/O expansions are modules that can be added to a typical air conditioning application, to increase the number of inputs and outputs available on the controller and, consequently, optimise the flexibility and modularity of the solutions, the company explained through a Press release for the purpose of making the announcement of the launch.

Carel said one of the most common uses of the digital input expansion board involves ventilation sections comprising several fans with electronic motors; in this case, the speed of the individual devices needs to be monitored in order to check their operating status and act on the other fans accordingly, if one of them fails. Carel said it has for many years now offered all of the tools needed to support large systems, such as air-handling units or dry coolers, in which the fans are equipped with electronics that communicate via Modbus®, making it possible to directly monitor their operating status.

However, units that are smaller in size and capacity have simpler and more economical fans that do not feature serial communication and provide a pulse signal based on the rotation speed, which can be read by fast digital inputs, Carel said. This is the basis for the development of its new digital input expansion board, which the company described as an ideal solution for all cases where numerous digital inputs – including fast inputs up to 500 Hz – need to be read, however, while limiting the total number of I/Os and space required, adding only those that are needed.

One typical example involves so-called “in row units” used for cooling data centres. The highly compact units do not require complex device control architecture or specific sensors for their operation, Carel said. These feature a single ventilation section with at least eight fans in parallel, which need to be monitored individually. In this case, reading the signal is a simple and effective way to verify operation, as well as being a more economical solution than installing expensive air flow-rate sensors, Carel said.

The new expansion board, Carel said, features a high number of digital inputs to ensure maximum flexibility in different applications. This is essential on units where the main controller features a limited number of inputs and outputs, while multiple digital inputs need to be connected, for example to detect alarms or various signals.

The entire range of I/O expansions, Carel said, can be integrated into solutions based on the CAREL pCO and c.pCO programmable controller platforms, or into architecture using different controllers.

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