Automotive Industries, Fall, 2008 by Nick Palmen
In September 2007, German OEMs belonging to the German Automotive Industry Association (VDA) decided to use natural, climate-neutral carbon dioxide (R744) as a cooling agent.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked ixetic managing director Georg Wolf what effect the introduction of R744 as a cooling agent would have on the market and ixetic.
Wolf: We have spent ten years developing our CO2 compressors. In 1996, ixetic started developing carbon dioxide compressors. We are global leaders in this technical innovation. After years of research and development, the company finalized the concept and completed fleet testing in 2005. The decision by the VDA shows that our original decision to invest in this climate-friendly technology was the right one. The German automotive industry relies on carbon dioxide as a cooling agent and our plan is to build up production in the coming months.
AI: What was the biggest technological challenge in developing the new CO2 air-conditioner?
Wolf: Carbon dioxide is climate-neutral, non-toxic and non-combustible. It places a completely new set of requirements on the system compared to previous cooling agents.
AI: What are the key components in your latest CO2 compressor?.
Wolf: There are several components: a brand new, patented control mechanism, an innovative casting concept, and a reliable shaft seal.
AI: ixetic is the first manufacturer able to go into production with the new technology. What makes your air-conditioner compressor unique in terms of its reliability and efficiency?
Wolf: We have combined excellent control behavior with the ability to run the compressor at temperatures of up to 180[degrees]C without any restrictions in the driving mode.
ixetic’s R744 compressors will increase the efficiency of future Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) systems substantially. The new components enable bi-directional torque management without additional sensors in the system.
AI: At the end of last year, ixetic received a series order for the world’s first CO2 compressor for air-conditioners. What results do you expect from this product?
Wolf: We expect future orders in the coming months. This new business segment is a milestone in our growth strategy.
AI: What will the impact on your market position be?
Wolf: We are planning to have a worldwide relevant market share, as we have in our other major business segments.
In the segment of vacuum pumps, our worldwide market share is 30%. In the segment of steering pumps for heavy and medium trucks we achieved 18% last year. In the segment of MAC compressors our share in Europe will be between these figures by 2015.
Wolf also noted, « This shows that we in Germany not only have our costs under control, but also that we are a reliable partner to large car manufacturers who set ambitious cost optimization targets. » According to Wolf, ixetic is dedicated to the promotion of innovation and the precise advancement of product development. « In the area of research and development, ixetic’s level of investment is well above the industry average. »
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