“If we can’t retain our price premium, we won’t be able to continue. We can’t win on price against low-price Chinese competitors,” says Kent Schölin.
He and his employees are tasked with ensuring innovative and efficient product development. The work largely involves improving material properties, often based on specific requests from customers.
“Much of what we do here involves understanding how aluminum works and reacts in order to make it as durable and as corrosion- resistant as possible. Meanwhile, customers always want their components to be thinner and lighter.
In addition to continual development of the material, the R&I facility has another mission: designing products for completely new applications. Gränges has made heat exchanger materials since 1972 and currently has a global market share of 20 percent. Although the company is well-equipped for a future with electric vehicles, including the new material Trillium, there is still great uncertainty about the future of the automotive market.
“There’s a limit to how much we can grow in heat exchangers. Growth just to keep pace with the market isn’t enough. That’s why new products and new applications are needed, based on the expertise and experience that has accumulated since the 1920s.”