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Double for Ziehl-Abegg with Innovation in London
21 January 2020

Almost 500 of the refrigeration and air conditioning industry elite came together for a night of recognition and celebration of the sector’s achievements in the London Hilton hotel. A few weeks earlier, Managing Director Les Fish and André Mueller from product management presented to the jury the innovative fan. It is used in climate control equipment and industrial ventilation systems.

Air Conditioning Product of the Year: Components and Peripherals
In this category the jury seeks to highlight those accessories, tools and component that play a vital role in the cooling process, but all too often lose the limelight to bigger units and systems. The judges here were particularly pleased with the decision as it enabled them to rave over the design philosophy behind Ziehl-Abegg’s ZAbluefin fan. The ZAbluefi n borrows its innovation from not one natural phenomenon but two. The serrations and nodules inspired by owls and whales alike help to make the fan more efficient and quieter in operation. But the judges also appreciated the evolutionary process that is necessary with such workhorse components as fans, saying: “We were impressed by the level of R&D development of many small incremental changes to an already previously innovative product.”

Air Conditioning Innovation: Components and Peripherals
The components and peripherals category is often one of the most diverse fields, and this year was no exception, with software platforms rubbing shoulders with additives
and physical components. In the end the laurels went to manufacturer Ziehl-Abegg, which has imaginatively sought to take inspiration from the natural world in order to solve its engineering challenges. In the ZAbluefin, as it seeks to reduce air turbulence, the company has derived its impeller blade design from the fins of humpback whales. The blade incorporates serrations built around the principles of the ‘tubercles’ found on the leading edge of the whale’s fins. These enhance the air movement across the five blades, the manufacturer says. The combination of this with the company’s ECblue second-generation IE5 motor makes for an energy effi cient combination in the fan. The blades have trailing-edge serrations, which are based on owls’ wings. Here the goal is the noise reduction that owls achieve in flight. As a result, on the suction side ZiehI-Abegg has achieved what it says is a ‘massive’ reduction of 6.3 dB(a) while the discharge side sees a signifi cant reduction of 4.7dB(a). This means that these fans can be used in noise-critical applications.

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