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Hydro Flexible High Pressure Aluminium Air Conditioning Tube Solution Proves More Reliable and Sustainable

Hydro’s high-pressure flexible aluminium tube solution for “green” air conditioning systems has exceeded the test specifications set by the German Association of the Automotive Industry and is being tested by potential customers.

The automotive market is demanding a more sustainable and reliable product than the few alternatives currently available to meet the need for high-pressure, high-temperature – and flexible – connections between the compressor and gas cooler.

Piflex® is a high-pressure flexible aluminium tube designed for use in automotive R744 (CO2) air conditioning systems, which are less damaging to the environment than the refrigerants used in most vehicles today. With the launch of Piflex®, it is now possible to build an all-aluminium AC system using carbon dioxide (CO2) as a refrigerant.

“The only all-aluminium solution in the market is now ready for serial application,” says Carsten Post, who is responsible for application and development for Piflex P/S. “After the excellent test results with the German VDA, we are convinced that Piflex is a superior flexible line solution in next-generation R744 mobile air conditioning (MAC) systems.”

Henry Petersen, the company’s sales and marketing manager, says that the market interest in Piflex has led a number of OEMs, as well as systems suppliers and AC-lines manufacturers, to test the solution under severe conditions. These tests are ongoing.

“This strong interest confirms that our solution is evaluated as superior compared to the competitive design with stainless steel tubes and other alternatives,” says Petersen.

Piflex was most recently presented in June to some 250 professionals gathered at the SAE Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona. The presentation led to several new test agreements, including one from an OEM headquartered in North America.

Piflex P/S is a joint venture between Hydro and Danfoss, a Denmark-based company that is a world leader in refrigeration, sensors and motion measuring. Both companies are recognized globally for their work in automotive and non-automotive cooling, heating and ventilation.

Green solution
The implementation of R744 MAC systems will begin in 2011 in some of the new car models of German car producers. Full implementation is expected by 2017.

“We believe this ‘green’ solution will be the preferred all-aluminium flexible tube for the new generation of R744 AC systems,” says Petersen. “Piflex P/S is fully prepared to support our partners in the best possible way, particularly in reliability and cost effectiveness.”

Some of the main features of Piflex®:

  • All-aluminium solution
  • Very narrow bending radius (< 35 mm)
  • Aluminium-to-aluminium joints
  • Absorption of torsional movements > 20°
  • No noise issue
  • Burst pressure above > 600 Bar
  • No line routing issue
  • Acceptable pressure drop

In addition, the Piflex® part can be preshaped according to specific requirements.

Hydro, the largest aluminium company in Europe, is the global market leader in providing extruded and rolled aluminium solutions for automotive heat exchanger solutions.

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