What are hot technologies in demand?

Hot air for quick cooking

The world eats out. More and more people do not cook at home, but rather fortify themselves on the go and preferably at any time of the day. When refueling, shopping or going to the bar after work. The classic restaurant is by no means always the first port of call. After all, it should be quick - and still taste excellent.

The food industry has reacted: a wide range of frozen products now makes it possible for shops to offer an extensive menu even without a cook. The trend is clearly towards front cooking: customers want to see how their food is being prepared. Provided that the suitable and easy-to-use device with the previously installed baking program is available. The pizza should be nice and crispy.

The consequence: Since there is little space on the counter, the kitchen appliances have to be as compact as possible and deliver as quickly as possible - preparation shouldn't take more than a minute or two. The next customer doesn't want to be in the queue for long. A lot of power in a small space is therefore required. Compact high-performance ovens provide a remedy here.

Know-how from baking lines

Image 1: Efficient combination: The compact hot air impingement ovens combine convection, radiation and microwave technology. This enables very short preparation times.

Manufacturers rely on so-called hot air impingement ovens that combine convection, radiation and microwave technology. The hot air is blown onto the baked goods through nozzles at high pressure of up to 4,000 Pascal (Fig. 1). Temperatures of up to 450 degrees are possible and the pizza will be crispy in no time at all. Dishes can be prepared up to 15 times faster than with traditional ovens.

The technology isn't new. In the food processing area, it has long been tried and tested on long baking lines - however, the space for the fans that move the hot air plays a subordinate role here. The situation is different with the high-performance ovens for front cooking: the space for the technical components is very limited so that they fit on the counter. The AC technology does not achieve a power density comparable to that of the EC fan.

But also in the food processing area, EC technology offers potential for process optimization not only through its enormous performance potential with high energy efficiency at the same time, but also with regard to its networking possibilities.

A lot of power in a small space

Blowers with EC technology have the advantage that they require little space and still provide high performance. The small size is possible because the electronics are flexibly arranged around the EC motor and this also does not require a frequency converter (Fig. 2). This means that fans with EC technology are predestined for the compact high-performance ovens (Fig. 3).

Image 2: A lot of power in a small space: Thanks to EC technology, the VBS 170 requires little space. That is why it is ideally suited for compact high-performance ovens.

Image 3: The ebm-papst blower is designed in such a way that it can be flexibly adapted to the installation situation in the manufacturer's device. Due to the high power density and compact design, small but highly efficient kitchen appliances can be implemented

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The radial blower VBS 170 (formerly R170) with EC motor from ebm-papst has been specially adapted for use in such applications. The speed of more than 3,000 revolutions and backward curved paddle wheels ensure high aerodynamic efficiency with low energy consumption. This enables high pressures with a high volume flow.

The advantages can best be exploited if the design of the EC fan is carried out in close coordination with the flow design. The engineers at ebm-papst therefore work closely with the manufacturers as early as the design phase, if required. Since ball bearings are used for the blowers, different installation situations are possible. This would not be possible with a plain bearing, since it can only absorb forces to a limited extent in the axial direction. Heavy, hanging or lying fan wheels would then quickly wear out the bearing.

Another advantage of EC blowers is their dynamism: They accelerate very quickly to the required nominal speed. So no valuable seconds are lost when heating up. A continuous operation of 16 hours is not uncommon for the compact high-performance ovens. Robust technology is essential for high availability and thus high sales of ready-to-eat meals. Here, too, EC technology scores with its long service life and low wear.

All benefits at a glance

The VBS 170 blower solution from ebm-papst is optimally designed for use in high-speed ovens:

  • The EC technology combines a lot of power in a small space and thus enables compact devices.
  • The radial fan wheel is made of stainless steel and thus fulfills the hygiene requirements in the catering trade.
  • The motor is attached to a special mounting plate, vibration-damped and thermally decoupled.
  • The noise emissions are low due to the design principle of the fan.
  • Long service life even with continuous use thanks to robust EC technology.
  • EC systems can be networked well, in line with GreenIntelligence.
Technical specifications

The most important key figures of the VBS 170 blower solution:

  • Maximum power consumption: 300 W
  • Nominal voltage: 230 V AC 50/60 (other voltage ranges on request)

Heat-resistant, quiet and hygienic

Due to the compact design, the fan and heat source are close together in the ovens. However, the high temperatures cannot harm the technology: the engineers at ebm-papst have drawn on many years of experience in the heating technology sector and decoupled the fan and motor (Fig. 4). They are located on two levels, which are separated by thermal decoupling elements. If necessary, an additional cooling fan reduces the thermal load on the electromechanical components of the motor.

Fig. 4: The fan and the motor unit are decoupled from each other. This makes the fan suitable for use in high temperature areas. The decoupling elements also reduce the noise emissions caused by structure-borne noise

This construction principle is also beneficial in terms of lower noise emissions. Since the ovens are open in the sales room, the volume is a decisive factor. After all, customers shouldn't be disturbed by noise. As a result of the decoupling, the mounting plates are better sprung, the vibration is low and the structure-borne noise is correspondingly low. In addition to the aeroacoustics, this makes a significant contribution to the development of noise.

The fan impeller is made of stainless steel, which does not rust in the hot and humid working environment. The blowers from ebm-papst thus meet another important requirement in the catering sector: compliance with hygiene regulations.

Ready for the future

Digitization has long since arrived in the professional kitchen sector: many devices are already internet-enabled and therefore networked. This is a great advantage, especially for larger franchise companies, as they can load new cooking or cooking programs centrally on hundreds of high-speed ovens or delete old ones.

But this does not exhaust the possibilities of networking: The EC technology from ebm-papst can also be easily integrated into existing communication structures, in line with GreenIntelligence. An important prerequisite if topics such as the recording and evaluation of operating states in general or predictive maintenance are to become a reality in the future.