Fan technology has developed very rapidly over the past 50 years. Leading technologies, pioneering application solutions, innovative products – all of these would not be possible if you didn’t look at the big development picture: ventilation connections and therefore the perfect interaction of motor technology, electronics and aerodynamics. Proudly, ebm-papst has been a key part of this evolution.
More than half a century ago, the story of the fan and motor manufacturer ebm-papst began in Mulfingen in Baden-Württemberg. Since then, fan technology has experienced a transformation similar to that of the automotive industry when the VW Beetle 1200 with its 38 horsepower (hp) required nine whole liters of gas to drive 100 kilometers whereas a modern 90 hp Golf requires just 4 liters.
Fans have experienced a similar increase in efficiency – by a factor of six – over the past 50 years. Today, the industry has moved further and further away from selling the fan as an isolated product. Manufacturers offer complete functional and assembly modules that can be integrated into a wide range of customer applications using plug & play. The game-changing transitions of fan technology had been through three significant phases in the last half-century.
Small external rotors as initial ignition
With its establishment in October 1963, ebm-papst played a leading role in the development of fan technology. Gerhard Sturm founded ebm at that time to produce small size 60 motors. This was a new product, as motors of this kind were only available in much larger versions. Thanks to their design, external rotor motors can be completely lowered in the impeller hub, creating a compact functional unit. The market had been waiting for these small motors: They were soon used in a wide range of applications where space is limited. Applications ranged from range hoods and other household appliances to Schwarzkopf hair dryers.
But the start did not go smoothly: Only three years after it was founded, this motor’s initial problems threatened the company’s very existence. Customers complained about fans that were rattling after just a short time. ebm-papst put all its eggs in one basket and, at the height of the crisis, offered a newly developed motor as a solution to these problems – including a four-year guarantee.
The unbelievably brave move made its first step to success – the new product became an absolute bestseller: the size 68 external rotor asynchronous motor. In the years that followed, ebm-papst derived various other products from this basic motor. At the same time, the company modernized and automated its production to meet the constantly increasing demand from home and abroad. The courage to keep developing the company was driven by company founder Gerhard Sturm. And his very initial company philosophy of producing “green products” has taken off – the insistence of having every product to be ecologically and economically superior to its predecessor