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 HVAC industries through demand for lighter weight products and increased efficiency, among other things.
The automotive industry
Demand for heat exchanger material is strongly linked to global vehicle production and the number of heat exchangers per vehicle, which tends to increase in line with requirements for improved performance and enhanced functionality. A higher share of hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and vehicles with different types of advanced features, is also positive for the demand of heat exchanger materials.
Brazed aluminium heat exchangers represent nearly 100 per cent of the market today.
The HVAC industry
HVAC includes systems for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, for instance in private homes, and commercial and industrial buildings. Underlying market drivers for heat exchangers in HVAC, regardless of type, are housing starts, consumer confidence, and environmental legislation. Brazed aluminium heat exchangers account for only a small share of the total market. Gränges is a supplier of material to both brazed and mechanically-assembled aluminium heat exchangers, with the strongest position in the Americas.
In North America, Gränges is one of the major suppliers of aluminium foil for food containers and winding material for transformers. Aluminium foil provides a complete barrier to light, oxygen, moisture, and bacteria. These properties make it ideal for food cartons and pouches. Semi-rigid containers are among the most versatile of all types of packaging and are widely used for pre-packaged foods, easily withstanding great differences in temperature from freezing to heating.
Another end-market in North America is materials for transformers. A transformer is an electrical device used to increase or decrease the alternating voltages in electric power applications. It consists of two or more coils called windings, which are wrapped around a core. In North America, aluminium plays an important role in the design of electrical distribution and large power transformers thanks to its significant cost and weight advantages versus copper. The markets for semi-rigid containers and transformer windings made in aluminium are expected to show stable annual growth.