Double winner – ZAbluefin fan in ZAmid® with ECblue motor technology

ZIEHL-ABEGG’s high-tech fan ZAbluefin has won further acclaim. The ZIEHL-ABEGG Team is pictured here together with representatives of the RAC Awards, in a happy winning pose for the general public and representatives of the press: f.l.t.r. – Kevin Bergin, Aspen Pumps, Managing Director for UK, USA and India, Michael Williams, National Sales Manager – Air Movement Products, ZA-UK, Les Fish, MD, ZA UK, John Murphy, Internal Sales Manager, ZA UK Thomas Brommer, Export ZA SE, Russell Kane, comedian who compered the Awards ceremony
Picture: Tom Howard for RAC Awards

“We’re delighted with
the double win

Double victory for the high-tech fan ZAbluefin from ZIEHL-ABEGG. The biomimetic centrifugal fan takes first prize in two categories at the RAC Cooling Industry Awards in London.

11/19  “We’re delighted with the double win” says Les Fish, Managing Director of ZIEHLABEGG UK. The company took two prestigious RAC Cooling Industry Awards. The latest centrifugal fan, ZAbluefin in ZAmid® technology, won over the jury in the categories “Air-Conditioning Product of the Year” and “Air-Conditioning Innovation of the Year”. The jury was impressed with the corporate strategy of using knowledge inspired by Nature in its product developments and consequently improving the company’s environmental performance.

Nearly 500 of the ‘elite’ companies from the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector gathered at London’s Hilton Hotel to recognise and celebrate the sector’s successes.

Just a few weeks before the event, Managing Director Les Fish and André Mueller from Product Management gave a presentation of the innovative fan ZAbluefin in ZAmid® technology. The biomimetic centrifugal fan is used in air-conditioning and industrial ventilation systems.

Air-Conditioning Product of the Year:
Components and Peripherals

In this category the jury’s aim is to put the emphasis on the accessories, tools and components that are key to the refrigeration process but the importance of which, as the findings over past years have shown, is all too often overshadowed by larger units and systems.

Bionic advantages at a glance:

Tubercle
Stabilizes the circulation around the blades and ensures fundamentally better air performance even in the event of disrupted ratios of in-blade flow

Enlarges the characteristic curve area without flow separation, significantly expanding the optimal degree of efficiency

Corrugated blade – optimal angle
Reduced separation on blade surface raises the peak degree of efficiency

Optimal incident flow into the blade’s entry point reduces separation on the blade surface

Twisted blade structure – for acoustics
Diffuse sound radiation significantly reduces sound power

Connection of tubercle to the trailing edge leads to greater noise reduction

V-shaped trailing edge – perfect diffusor effect
Reduces separations on the cover and bottom disks, thus increasing degree of efficiency several times over

Considerable noise reduction thanks to eddy-free outflow

However, in the case of the ZAbluefin centrifugal fan showcased here, it was the special, impressive design philosophy behind the ZAbluefin from ZIEHL-ABEGG that was acknowledged in particular by the jury. This year the fan caused a stir among the ‘cooling’ judges, as the engineers had applied knowledge inspired by Nature in developing the design in order to solve technical problems. The jury was impressed: “The study of Nature represents a breakthrough in the application of technological development.”
The jury also praised the innovative use of two natural phenomena in ZAbluefin, namely the serrations and tubercles inspired by owls and whales. They help to make the impeller work more efficiently and quietly. The jury also praised the evolutionary process required for high-tech fans such as these: “We were impressed with the development status of numerous small modifications to what was already an innovative product.“

Air Conditioning lnnovation of the Year
Components and Peripherals

The Components and Peripherals category is one of the most diverse
areas which the jury has to evaluate, this year there was no exception: Software platforms compete with additives and physical components. The laurels ultimately went to the manufacturer ZIEHL-ABEGG which drew imaginative inspiration from nature in order to solve its technical challenges. With ZAbluefin, the engineers and developers of ZIEHL-ABEGG derived the design of the impeller for reducing air turbulence from an area which the company is certain has not yet been researched by specialists in refrigeration: the fins of humpback whales.

The blade contains serrations which are constructed according to the principles of the “tubercles” on the leading edge of the whale fins. These improve the flow of air over the five blades says the manufacturer. Combining this with the second generation ECblue IE5 motor creates an extremely energy-efficient combination for the fan. And, as if a nature-inspired design weren’t enough, the trailing edges of the blades curve backwards, a design based on studies of owl wings. The aim here is to achieve the same level of noise reduction that owls reach in flight. As a result, ZAbluefin has achieved a “massive” reduction of 6.3 dB(A) on the suction side and a significant reduction of 4.7 dB(A) on the pressure side. Thanks to this impressive configuration these fans can be used in noise-critical applications.

Here again, the jury was impressed with the company’s strategy of using knowledge gained from nature to achieve an improvement in environmental performance. The fact that the shaped wheel blade is also fully recyclable was, so to speak, the icing on the cake.

„We are significantly reducing the fan’s CO2 emissions”, explains Les Fish. In order to reduce CO2 emissions even further, the humpback whale served as a model for the latest development of composite material fans that also take into account the biomimetic characteristics of owls. This also improves the carbon footprint in two ways: by significantly reducing the use of materials and reducing the level of energy consumption in Operation.

How it works

This is how it works: Evolution has optimised the overall efficiency of the humpback whale through the water in such a way that despite its body size it is considered a very good and agile swimmer. Had this not been the case, it would have been unable to cope with its lengthy journeys through the world’s oceans without food. The latest generation of centrifugal fans at ZIEHL-ABEGG today benefits from the way this motion has been perfected, respectively the knowledge of this biomimetics.

The air flow in centrifugal fans hits the fan blades at different angles, depending on the volume flow. The whale has to overcome similar challenges when swimming in the sea: The movement of the fins causes the angle to constantly change. If its pectoral fins were positioned at too steep an angle to the counter-flow, this would cause strong turbulence as the water passes over the fins. „High flow losses and noise are characteristic features of strong turbulence“, says Dr. Walter Angelis, Technical Director at ZIEHL-ABEGG. The shape of a humpback whale’s fins has been optimised over millions of years. For example, the leading edges of the whale’s fins have developed golf ball sized nodules (technical term: tubercles). This enables an animal weighing 25 to 30 tons to swim very quickly and with agility with the help of its long pectoral. “We recreated this feature on the leading edge of the blades and applied it in the form of a fluted surface,” explains Angelis.

New benchmark – ZAbluefin, fan with new, twin peak performance

The flow engineers also took a more detailed look at the whale’s tail fin. The V-shaped contour of the tail fin section delays any possible flow detachment, which now lends the award-winning fan the ability to be used in numerous pressure ranges. The latest generation of centrifugal fans at ZIEHL-ABEGG benefits from all the knowledge gained from this remarkable biomimetics. Incidentally, the product name ZAbluefin comes from the English.

Further increase in efficiency

Increase in efficiency

Further reduction noise levels

Reduction in noise levels