heaters are intended to produce, clear, heat. You must be reliable, easy to use and cheap. To do this, you should consume little energy, environmentally-friendly and – for the customer is more important than one may think – also still look good. A lot of requirements, all of which are of importance. Therefore, the heating manufacturer Viessmann has built at its headquarters in the Hessian town Allendorf, in the laboratory, an 11,000-square-foot building, whose internal values are not visible from the outside.

The research and development center has presented to Viessmann, in 2017 the 100-year anniversary of almost 50 million Euro has been issued by the company, the largest single investment in the company’s history. Here, it is nothing less than the future of Viessmann and the future of heating. Here, you can, among other things, the time run faster. Or the climate of other countries can be simulated.

In the laboratory is space for 160 professionals. Sandra Reinbott. It brings together heating research and Viessmann-customer: when a new product is nearing series maturity, takes care of Sandra Reinbott is that the prototype is installed in a Tester and in operation. She ensures that everything runs, it asks the Tester how to find the new Viessmann product and in order to cope. The Feedback then flows back to the tech center, for the further development and improvement.

The eye heats up with

Design is amazingly important, for example, in the case of the fuel cell heating Vitovalor, which was developed in the laboratory. There was this edge. “In the past, the fuel cell was a bit larger than the peak load device, which is operated next to it. In this paragraph, were disturbed by the customer. Now everything looks consistent,“ says Sandra Reinbott. “The seven-inch color touch display.” The eye heats up.

As the testers, and testers find what has placed Viessmann them at home, will then be discussed in the technical center; Sandra Reinbott transmitted information, opinions, views and assessments of the development engineers. And that’s exactly what the pilot is made: All who are involved in the development of a product, work directly.

There are project rooms with Whiteboards, Post-it sticky notes and other accessories for the product development, right next door to the Prüfinseln for engineering Tests. From one section to the other, there are only a few steps, what is the refined cut of the Viessmann laboratories. “For us, it was the design of the pilot plant is important, that all employees can contribute to the development process of successful and innovative products, working closely together,” says Co-CEO Maximilian Viessmann.

From the idea in just a few hours of a real object

work Closely namely. Sandra Reinbott: “In our pilot plant, we have short ways to communicate very directly and quickly with each other.” The sequence she describes as: “New ideas are now discussed immediately with the relevant colleagues. This promotes Innovation and creativity. Decisions are taken more quickly.“ Therefore, also the Villa next door, which was prepared for a Creative workshop belongs to the pilot plant.

And in the pilot plant is equipped with an idea very fast a physical object can be – this takes a with the “Rapid Prototyping” only a couple of hours. The idea of a virtual object is 3-D programs. It comes then as a real object from a 3-D printer. Effect for Viessmann: the pilot innovation always flows faster in new devices. Effect for the customers: Technical innovations to reduce the risk of heating failure and the energy consumption.

such As the time to run faster

The pilot plant is at least one and a half football fields – enough space to check up to 110 heating systems in parallel. Available 20 different types of gases, with which the researchers are experiment, 40 kilometers of gas pipelines are installed.

In the laboratory, it is surprisingly quiet. The architects have worked with sound absorbent Material, so that in spite of all the Tests, the noise level is at about 48 decibels. 48 decibels, which is quieter than a normal conversation between two people.

Heating and to generate electricity, as in the space Shuttle

250 duration of experiments possible, and at the same time in the pilot plant. Among other things, the engineers let the Viessmann devices here super fast aging, to identify where new heating systems may be Weak and wear points. In six to twelve months in the laboratory twelve years of operation, simulate for the customer. The plants run 24 hours a day under full load – then the devices will be optimized because now it is clear which errors could occur after years of use.

What this means in practice is shown at the Vitovalor. The Viessmann-top of the line product was developed in the laboratory and optimized. Right: the principle of The fuel cell is not new. The Nasa-supplied already in the ‘ 60s with the Gemini space ship series on fuel cells, the space Shuttle had a fuel cell on Board.

With Vitovalor is the high-tech heating but now also for the normal consumer available, a highly efficient system for One – family and two-family houses, which simultaneously produces electricity and heat and energy costs by up to 40 percent lower. With series of tests and optimizations in the pilot plant was made the System particularly durable.

southern Italy as a Simulation in the climate chamber

Viessmann is an international company and makes almost half of its total sales abroad. Therefore, it is important that in the pilot plant, the climate of export markets to imitate. There are here twelve environmental chambers. There is tested, for example, with temperatures of up to minus 45 degrees Celsius, what happens in Canada, when the outside air sucked in is very, very cold, and the effect on Gas – and Oil-fired boilers heaters.

Or, other climate zone: What happens when, such as in southern Italy, the heaters on the porch will be installed, where very different temperatures than in German boiler rooms? Also in Italy, the South can be simulated in the laboratory.

heaters are smart

made With the pilot plant Viessmann pursues a big goal: “We wanted to create a” germ cell ” for innovations, with which we are the energy transition forward,” says Co-CEO Maximilian Viessmann. Viessmann sees here not less than a generation-spanning duty: “So that we can take responsibility for a sustainable handling of the natural resources of the earth in the sense of the following generations.” The digitisation plays no small role, quite the contrary.

For each device is tested in the laboratory, the use of digital solutions. The fuel cell heating Vitovalor has a Wi-Fi interface, and uses a special Software Tool. That is Vitoguide With a heating professional can monitor on behalf of the customer’s facility. The has a number of Sensors and reports, if something should not go as planned.

The artisan white matter where it hooks, and can make adjustments remotely. For the owners of the plant, there is also an App: ViCare shows how it is connected to the heating. The facilities themselves are also welded on according to the with artificial intelligence. The devices are soon to learn independently when they heat.

fuel cell: The top model from the pilot

Vitovalor produces both electricity and heat. Energy is created by a chemical reaction of hydrogen with oxygen. The hydrogen is produced from natural gas. For the case that the system produces more electricity than your users consume, the energy can be saved in electricity storage: the product Vitocharge Viessmann has developed a large-sized battery with fuel heaters combine. The electricity generated is transmitted from Vitovalor to Vitocharge and stored. So no energy is lost.

For the innovative heating system from the pilot from Viessmann, the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) awards funding: The government development Bank funded the installation of fuel cell heating Vitovalor PT2 with 9300 Euro. In addition, the possibility of a flat rate for the electricity that is generated in the amount of 1800 euros to pay for the house owner. For the financing of the unit, in the case of the Design according to customer requirements in the pilot plant was re-developed, Viessmann take to Build customers a low-interest loan from the KfW program “energy efficient”.


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