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A breath of fresh air

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P. Lemmons Company specializes in all areas related to the movement of air such as ventilation, heating and air conditioning.

The company’s product range is based on its proprietory TAC (Total Airflow Control) technology, which, thanks to the integration of the electronic control of the motor, allows total control of the airflow and much more besides.

“This technology forms the basis for the growth of the company to date and has won us customers throughout Europe, where it has become a benchmark in environmentally senisitive applications thanks to its exceptional efficiency and intelligence,” says CEO Stephan Lemmens, who succeeded his father at the helm of the company in 1998.

Founded in 1977 by Pierre Lemmens, the company has grown significantly in the last decade and a half, increasing turnover from around eight million EUR in 1998 to almost 30 million EUR today. “The reason for our success is ever-greater diversification,” explains Mr. Lemmens. “We started out as a manufacturer of direct driven centrifugal fans and have gradually expanded our activities to become a fullsupplier air movement specialist.”

Having successfully conquered the European market for specialist fans, the company launched a new business area in 1988: the manufacture of small-scale air handling units. Today, these activities are weighted 20/80 in terms of turnover.

In 1993, P. Lemmens Company became the first European manufacturer to apply TAC technology to its airflow products. TAC technology combines advanced airflow algorithms with the latest developments in electrical motors – an example being the Electronically Commutated Motor. These motors are brushless with permanent magnets and are not DC but AC powered.

“By using intelligent motors, we can create intelligent fans,” outlines Mr. Lemmens. “The ECM motor is able to communicate instant, up-to-the-minute information on the motor’s working point. Using this information we have built airflow models that permit instantaneous calculation of the fan’s actual working point. The rolling availability of this information opens the door to numerous intelligent adjustments. TAC technology takes advantage of this characteristic to pilot the fan according to the needs of the application.”

TAC technology is not just intelligent. It is also efficient. Specifically designed to target energy savings, it permits a reduction in power consumption of 80% in comparison with a standard centrifugal AC fan.

“Environmental concerns are the key innovation driver in the ventilation industry,” says Mr. Lemmens. “New buildings must conform to much tighter energy efficiency regulations than before, which means more insulation. A well-insulated, air-tight building has to have a ventilation system installed to prevent the build up of moisture in the fabric of the building. Ideally that ventilation system will also be capable of recovering the heat from the air that is exhausted so that replacing the air in the building does not lead to higher heating costs.”

This has been the focus of all new product developments at P. Lemmens Company since 2000 and is one of the reasons why its intelligent systems are so popular. “The majority of growth in the past 13 years has come from ventilation systems with heat recovery,” adds Mr. Lemmens. “Then, we were pioneers in the market while now there is significant competition. Nevertheless, they are several factors which keep us a nose ahead.”

One of these is value for money. The return on investment on the company’s products is very short. As energy prices continue to rise, the benefits of increased heating efficiency are magnified still further. This is a strong sales argument that P. Lemmens Company likes to quote to endusers, architects and builders.

The company sells directly to customers in the Belgian and Luxembourg markets and via distributors and private labels in export markets. France is the most important of these, accounting for 30% of sales, followed by the Netherlands (26%) and Germany (9%). Despite our technological leadership, we are not as well known in the market as we could be,” says Mr. Lemmens.

“This is something that we will be focusing on in the future to support our continued growth. The main way to achieve this in the European market is by focusing on the high quality of our products and continuing to innovate.”

The company is currently launching itself in the UK market and will focus its attentions there in 2014 with a view to opening up other European markets in the future. Product development is also high on the agenda.

The next step in the evolution of heating and ventilation products is already here and involves their integration into building management systems that can be operated remotely using modern communications devices. However, while the complexity of these systems increases, P. Lemmens Company is keen not to lose sight of the qualities of reliability and simplicity that made it succesful from the start.

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