DUBAI, UAE, 16 August 2020: There is a need to further educate the market on the design and installation of EC technologies in the context of retrofit projects, said Koen van Nistelrooij, Managing Director, ebm papst. “AHU manufacturers are knowledgeable,” he said. “They know what EC is and how to connect EC fans, but retrofitting is a completely different type of business, and we need to make sure we teach and instruct the market well.” van Nistelrooij pointed out that improper installation of EC fans by unqualified technicians could potentially lead to failure of equipment, which could deter further retrofit initiatives using EC technology. “It’s about instructing well and making sure the people installing the equipment know what they are doing,” he said.
As such, Koen said the company is committed to spreading knowledge and reaching out to customers in a bid to improve design, installation and operation of EC fans in the market. “We need to support our customers to make sure the consultants are using the correct specs in their spec overview,” he said. “At this moment, we do see consultants pushing for EC, but some are not fully up to speed regarding EC technology, and I think it’s the fan and AHU manufacturers’ job to teach and provide consultants with updates related to EC technologies.” Koen emphasised that he believes the biggest responsibility lies with the fan manufacturer, who is developing and supplying the technology, to provide the right information to minimise strange requests circulating in the market, “such as for EC fans with AC specs, which is contradictory”.
Koen said the company is also focusing on strengthening communication and collaboration with FM companies. “As ebm papst, we are good at making fans,” he said. “We try to be ahead with providing the newest technology and high-quality fans, and we need to do what we are good at. But we are not good at installing fans on site or making sure fans are controlled properly by the BMS – other companies are better than that. These companies can also do energy audits, and we work together to provide energy reports.”
In line with this, Koen is a big believer in the importance of cultivating a reliable ecosystem of experts with different particular specialisations. “In my opinion, a retrofit is a complete project, it’s not just a fan,” he said. “As ebm papst, we found a few energy companies we work with and support. If a customer comes to me and says, ‘I want to retrofit.’ I would say, ‘Great, I can provide the fan, but I don’t do the physical work.’ Because if I do the physical work I am stealing my customers’ customers. It’s the same as I would start producing AHUs. For me, it doesn’t make sense – we are a fan manufacturer. We should not change our complete mindset, just because there is an opportunity. There are a lot of good companies in the Middle East that can do retrofit. Why don’t we work together to make sure we serve the customer well.”