Articles by: LEADWEST LTD

Posted on: 15 Apr, 2016

R&D, innovation, customisation and sustainability are key factors in the success of ebm-papst

Author: LEADWEST LTD

With a focus on innovation, research and development and continuous improvement, ebm-papst A&NZ Pty Ltd is a local manufacturer that adds value to the products they supply to customers. Environmental sustainability is also a key focus for the business, which has adopted the GreenTech philosophy and has ISO 14001 accreditation.

ebm-papst A&NZ Pty Ltd supplies locally engineered high performance fans and air movement systems across Australia and New Zealand via sites in Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland. The company develops fan, motor and control solutions for refrigeration, air-conditioning, heating, ventilation, electronics, telecommunications, biomedical and other applications.

While the group’s head office and major manufacturing plants are located in Germany, its Laverton business sells products and value-adds to provide customised solutions for local companies. This involves R&D, testing and local custom assemblies.

According to Design Manager Alexandra Gray, the company is focused on customisation but also works on new ideas and uses for their products.

“Last year we launched a new product range for the agriculture industry. We had to carry out extensive R&D and a six-month trial installing 12 fans in a broiler shed. The results were very positive, with our customer reporting in excess of 75% energy savings. Working this way means that we can move into new markets and know our products will work well in a new environment.

“It’s really important for us as a business to stay ahead. That means investing money and time in innovation and R&D, to create our own opportunities. This is how we stay competitive in the future in our local markets.”

ebm-papst regularly review their processes to ensure they are streamlined and efficient, following the GreenTech principle. Every new product developed needs to be more efficient than the previous one in terms of economy and ecology. This starts with R&D and includes production and the product itself. Following this principle, the company is able to improve its smaller-scale processes.

“We recently updated our communications and business applications system,” said Alexandra. “Our warehouse is fully barcoded, so that we can track everything that goes in and out, and check instantly if we have product available. That saves us a lot of time.

“We have also revamped our whole production area and upgraded our processes to maximise our production and to ensure a safe and efficient working environment. We raised workbenches to the correct height, improved lighting, and worked out ways to avoid repetitively lifting tools. Again, this improved productivity.”

As a company, ebm-papst is committed to creating products that are sustainable and environmentally responsible. Starting at the concept phase, all materials and processes are optimised to achieve maximum environmental compatibility, energy balance and recyclability.

This philosophy flows through to the office and to all activities. With ISO 14001 accreditation the company conducts an annual environmental audit that helps to work towards goals. Last year they improved their waste disposal system, replaced fluorescent lights with LEDs and changed the air conditioning to use their own speed-controlled EC fans.

“We also organise an annual Green Day across our company globally, and each site chooses what they do on the day to improve the environment,” added Alexandra. “Previously we’d worked internally, but we have since made the event a public one, and invite customers and other manufacturers to join us and organised guest speakers to talk about different aspects of improving HVAC sustainability. We had great feedback and we’re currently planning to roll out the event in other states.”