Gränges Research & Innovation (R&I) is the company’s world-leading competence unit with advanced knowledge about metallurgy and understanding of the production process. The strategic research is managed globally, while the customer-driven development is carried out locally in close cooperation with the production facilities. Gränges R&I has over 60 highly educated employees worldwide working with product development, including metallurgists, chemists, metallographers, physicists, mechanical engineers and technicians – all specialists in rolled aluminium products for heat exchangers and other advanced applications. Several of the employees hold doctoral degrees and regular collaboration takes place with universities and schools of technology.
Adapting the R&I process for best outcome
Fundamental research in key areas is usually carried out in-house, but in selected areas Gränges collaborates with leading universities and research institutes. The objective is to strengthen Gränges’ leading position in the development of brazed heat exchanger materials, to develop new innovative aluminium products, new material technologies and to enter new customer segments. New alloys and alloy combinations are initially tested through pilot casting, rolling and computer simulations at Gränges R&I, before full-scale production takes place. This process facilitates planning of effective highprecision production processes.
The development of new products often takes place in teams with Gränges’ business development units. If critical skills are lacking to run an efficient development process, the possibility of external cooperation and, in some cases, the acquisition of skills, such as from smaller start-up companies, will be considered. As part of Gränges’ new R&I organization, established in 2017, there is a team focusing solely on new material technologies.
Worldwide technical support
Gränges’ product developers and technicians are represented throughout Asia, Europe and Americas, offering advanced technical support to customers and performing a wide range of services. This includes prototype brazing, aluminium braze simulations, brazeability tests, sagging tests, filler flow tests, advanced metallurgical examinations, as well as accelerated corrosion tests such as Neutral Salt Spray Test (NSS), Cyclic Corrosion Test (CCT) and Sea Water Acetic Acid Test (SWAAT), enabling Gränges to offer tailored and optimized aluminium products. To support this work, Gränges has an application centre that can replicate the customers’ forming and brazing processes. The centre, located in Shanghai, is also ideal for testing small units of custom-designed heat exchangers. To explore the applications of brazed heat exchangers within non-automotive air-conditioning and other industries, Gränges builds competence within heat exchanger prototype design, optimization, and performance testing.