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SDK Develops New Condenser for Car Air-Conditioners

November 21, 2005

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has developed a new high-performance condenser for car air-conditioners and started selling the product under the trade name of “NRT (new refrigerant tube) III.” NRT III has already been adopted in Suzuki Motor Corp.’s new model Every launched in August this year. In addition, some Japanese and foreign carmakers have decided to install the product in several new models they will launch in and after 2006.

A condenser is a major component of car air-conditioners, consisting of tubes for circulation of refrigerant, headers, and fins for exchange of heat between refrigerant and air. In response to carmakers’ request for smaller, lighter and higher-performance condensers, SDK has developed NRT III by combining good mechanical design, selected aluminum material, and precision fabricating technology to maximize heat exchange efficiency.

In NRT III, the tubes and inner refrigerant paths are produced by folding and joining high-speed-rolled aluminum sheets (roll forming). Compared with conventional products based on an extrusion process, the new product has achieved performance improvement of more than 20%. Specifically, NRT III has the following advantages:

  • 1.As the new process enables formation of refrigerant paths with more complexity and precision, the heat transfer area has been maximized, resulting in higher liquefaction efficiency.
  • 2.The thickness of the tube wall has been reduced to 1.1 mm, resulting in the production of a smaller condenser. Under the conventional extrusion process, the thickness has already reached its limit of 1.5 mm.
  • 3.The internal volume of refrigerant paths has been reduced, lowering the required volume of refrigerant.
  • 4.The load of refrigerant compressor has been reduced as fins and headers have become thinner with higher performance. This ultimately contributes to the production of lighter cars with higher fuel efficiency.

SDK has already developed new types of evaporators and heater cores (for heat exchange between warm water and air) with thinner tubes and fins as well as optimized shapes. This has resulted in performance improvement of 5-10%. Those evaporators and heater cores have been adopted by GM and in the process of being adopted by other carmakers in Japan and abroad.