Ziehl-Abegg (Kuenzelsau, Germany), a manufacturer of fans for ventilation and air conditioning applications and the company behind the "bionic bio-fan," has partnered with Akro-Plastic GmbH (Niederzissen, Germany) to develop a polyamide 6.10–based Akromid S compound to meet the specific requirements of the blades of the bionic fan.
Bionics, a branch of engineering in which design solutions are developed based on the biological methods and systems found in nature, has spawned all manner of revolutionary improvements in traditional technical systems. Well-known examples include the winglets found on modern planes, which are modeled on the curled wing tips seen in eagles; the lotus effect, which has yielded self-cleaning surfaces; and Velcro, inspired by burrs from the burdock plant. At Ziehl-Abegg, engineers looked to the owl to solve the problem of noisy fans.
In the course of their evolution, owls developed serrated feathers on their wings and downy feathers on their legs that minimize aerodynamic noise, giving them their silent flight. Observing this, Ziehl-Abegg decided to apply the same principle to its newest generation of axial fans. The back edge of the fan blade is fringed, and a winglet-like feature was added to further reduce resistance of the fan blade. The new blade geometry proved, indeed, to lead to a substantial reduction in both energy consumption and the amount of noise produced by the fan.