Ventilex’ Commercial Director on innovation

Saving money while contributing to a better environment

Stijn Lemmens, Ventilex’ Commercial Director, has been with us since the start of 2020. Together with the Commercial team, he is able to draw on an installed base of over 1,000 machines, with customers in more than 80 countries. Since 1965, Ventilex has built up an impressive record as a world leader in thermal treatment solutions. However, constant innovation is required for long term leadership:

“Sitting back and relying on a flow of business from our installed base would be too easy. Long term relevance and market leadership, are only possible if we continuously re-invent what we do. Innovation is a must: listening to underlying customer needs and developing solutions that address those needs.”

With climate change being a topic hotter than ever before, one of those customer needs is protecting the environment as much as we can:

“Thermal treatment of minerals, seeds, gelatin, etc, often requires an enormous amount of heat, supplied by electrical, gas or oil burners. Every percent of energy that we can save helps our customers reduce the cost per ton produced, and helps the environment at the same time.”

Since he joined Ventilex, Stijn has worked with the team to develop energy saving methods, based on two principles:

  • Optimization of process parameters – smart data monitoring and analysis

Ventilex’ equipment is now standard fitted with an intelligent data logging and analysing tool. Our equipment can be monitored at distance, or with the operators on-site. Analysing operational data such as temperatures, throughput, airflows, but also start-stop and change-over tactics, reveals room for improvement. Fine-tuning these parameters together with our experts pays off:

“Through data logging and analysis, we commonly save customers 5 to 10% on energy consumption by adjusting operational parameters. That works for our customers’ wallet and for the environment.”

  • Heat re-usage techniques – engineering smart heat pumps

Together with our partner Solutherm, which is an expert in engineering thermodynamic solutions, we have developed industry specific heat reusage pumps. Instead of releasing process air with residual heat into the environment, specifically engineered heat pumps capture the residual heat and re-inject it into the thermal treatment unit:

“A good example is the gelatin industry, where Ventilex is market leader with over 60% market share globally. Together with Solutherm we developed a heat pump to reuse residual heat. It saves our customers up to 10,000 Euro in heating costs per month. And the payback time of the heat pump is short, compared to the 25 year lifespan of our belt dryers: between 3 to 5 years.”

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