There is a constant need to reduce energy consumption and costs, and improve reliability for manufacturers and users of, for example, vehicles, air conditioning and heating systems. Demand is growing for more energy efficient engines and heat exchangers.
The driving force to reduce environmental impact and emissions of damaging greenhouse gases affects the automotive and stationary heat exchanger industries through demand for lighter weight products and increased efficiency, among other things.
The automotive industry
The market for rolled products for aluminium heat exchangers closely correlates with global vehicle production, but is also affected by the number of heat exchangers per vehicle, which tends to increase in line with demands for such things as improved comfort.
The stationary heat exchanger industry (HVAC)
HVAC includes heating and cooling systems for residential housing, and commercial and industrial property. The underlying growth factor for heat exchangers in HVAC, regardless of type, is global construction investment, which is expected to continue to grow until 2020. In time, brazed aluminium heat exchangers, which today account for only a few per cent of the total market, are expected to replace conventional mechanically assembled solutions.
The properties of aluminium foil makes it ideal for food cartons and pouches. For decades, the use of foil has grown steadily. As consumers are becoming increasingly dependent on ready-to-eat foods and beverages, the demand for aluminium foils for consumer packaging purposes will rise.
Another end-market in North America is materials for transformers. In North America, aluminium is becoming more common as winding material in distribution transformers, while copper is more common for large power transformers. Aluminium has significant cost and weight advantages over copper.