ebm-papst - Drive and ambition

Today's medical devices require drive systems that are not only reliable, but also flexible, energy efficient and compact. Johannes Moosmann, director industrial drives at leading manufacturer ebm-papst, outlines the key advantages of a modular approach to drive systems, and the ongoing significance of high-quality production processes.

Could you give a brief overview of ebm-papst as a company?

Johannes Moosmann: The ebm-papst group is the world's leading manufacturer of fans and motors. Since its foundation, the company has continuously set global market standards. Developments have ranged from electronically commutated (EC) fans to fan-blade aerodynamic improvements and resource-conserving material selection, including biomaterials. ebm-papst employs around 11,000 people at 18 production sites (including China, Germany and the US) and 57 sales offices worldwide. In the 2012/13 fiscal year, it achieved a turnover of just under €1.4 billion.

On 1 January 2013, the ebm-papst group acquired the gearbox manufacturer Zeitlauf, greatly strengthening its industrial drive engineering division. This acquisition enables ebm-papst to offer optimised drive solutions comprising motor, gearbox and software-supported control technology.

What key market trends does your drive engineering division focus on?

Energy efficiency, decentralisation and the need for compact drive solutions are all significant trends for ebm-papst.

Our compact drive solutions, consisting of drive, gearbox and control electronics, can be individually chosen by the customer, and allow end devices to be smaller and lighter, which is extremely helpful for dynamic applications. The customer's development effort is reduced, and if numerous brushless (BL) DC motors are used, energy consumption is also lower, compared with conventional technologies.

Could you give us a quick overview of your latest drive system?

As part of our expansion of the range of products available through module combinations, ebm-papst is now offering its EC internal rotor motor of size 63 (ECI 63), in conjunction with an integrated K4 control system.

Modular systems for drives in the lower power range allow optimum configuration for the application without the need for complex and cost-intensive modifications. This includes a compact, sine-commutated power-output stage, which can run the motor down to standstill using a field-orientated control module.

The control system also features several analogue and digital input/output interfaces for speed and position controllers, including a stop controller with torque (current) limitation and fast changes between different, predefined operating states. Moreover, it has the options of straightforward parameter programming and of a firmware download via a serial interface (RS-485). The motors are available in three versions from 150-400W, depending on the power required. Package lengths are 20, 40 and 60mm, and the efficiency of the motors is approximately 90%. Gearbox, brake and encoder modules complete the modular system.

What sort of medical devices use your products?

ebm-papst and Zeitlauf technologies can be found in several medical device applications, such as pumps, scanning and surgical equipment, rehabilitation devices, wheelchairs, dental devices and many more.

The BLDC market for medical and pump applications is particularly interesting for ebm-papst and Zeitlauf. BLDC motors from ebm-papst generally have better performance in regard to EMC, product lifetime, noise, reliability, efficiency, speed control and compact motor design.

How do you maintain a high level of quality throughout your production processes?

Whether manufactured in our German factories or at international sites, emb-papst's uncompromising promise is to produce high-quality goods and services. This encompasses all our processes from customer consultation, development and material selection through to picking certified choice suppliers, production parts and final delivery.

On top of this, ebm-papst products have to pass the most rigorous tests under all realistic operating conditions, including continuous stress, salt spray, vibration and precision noise-measuring exams, to name just a few. Products only receive clearance for serial production once all desired characteristics are achieved. This is confirmed by our fulfilment of the international standards DIN EN ISO 9001, DIN EN ISO 14001 and ISO/TS 16949-2.

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