LAUDA provides temperature control for test processes for electromobility
The ongoing development and ever greater acceptance of new drives which use electricity or hydrogen poses new challenges for automobile manufacturers. Suppliers and service providers who support established automobile manufacturers with their know-how are a crucial success factor for dealing with electromobility. Bertrandt AG provides its customers with test stands with climatic chambers to test high-voltage batteries from the module level and hybrid batteries to batteries for all-electric vehicles under various climatic and load conditions. The components are exposed to a wide variety of conditions in climate simulations or accelerated aging in fatigue tests. Bertrandt has successfully offered these industry-specific development services for over 40 years and is a globally operating company with around 13,000 employees and 57 locations. This year the company built one of the largest high-voltage battery test centers in Germany in Ehningen. Bertrandt has put its faith in temperature control technology from LAUDA to equip the new test chambers.
High-precision temperature control down to -40 °C
In addition, the company has ordered Process Cooling Units with volume flow control from LAUDA which meet the high demands of customers in the automotive sector. The units are used to control the temperature of test specimens inside a climatic chamber, such as HV storage devices, i.e. high-voltage batteries, which are used in electric cars as well as solar systems. The customer uses two large SUK 400W units for performance tests and ten additional SUK 350W units for endurance tests and simulation runs. The Process Cooling Units precisely control the temperature from -40 to 120 °C.
The special feature: LAUDA develops the refrigeration systems with a water/glycol mixture as the temperature control medium and a single-stage schema cooling circuit. By dispensing with a cascade refrigeration system, LAUDA can guarantee the future-proofing of the design with regard to the European F-Gas Regulation, since a refrigerant with a high GWP value is not required for the second stage. The refrigeration system must have sufficient power reserves, in order to be able to guarantee precise control even at limit temperatures around -40 °C. Each individual Process Cooling Unit must be precisely tailored, since water/glycol mixtures begin to freeze at temperatures around -45 °C (depending on the concentration).
Fully automatic filling facilitates test processes
LAUDA has equipped the Process Cooling Units with fully automatic filling and draining of the test specimen, in order to facilitate the testing processes of the customer in the automotive sector. This technology, which has been in LAUDA's product range for a long time, is now being requested by more and more customers and is becoming the industry standard, explains Manuel Faulhaber, Project Manager at LAUDA Heating and Cooling Systems. Since Bertrandt is a service provider which serves a wide variety of customers, the systems have also been designed with fully automatic filling and draining of the entire system. Bertrandt is therefore able to use a wide range of customer-specific temperature control media for its test procedures without cumbersome manual filling and draining - a massive time saving for the service provider.
LAUDA manufactures high-temperature system up to 400 °C for German chemical company
LAUDA Heating and cooling systems, the plant construction division of the world leader in precise temperature control, specializes in the manufacture of individual solutions based on customer requirements. In this respect, the experts from LAUDA hold sway over a temperature range from -150 to 550 °C which is required for production facilities in the pharmaceutical industry or test stations in the automotive sector. The temperature control specialist has now designed and manufactured a heat transfer system for a long-standing customer, one of the biggest German chemical companies. This was also quite the exception for the experienced engineers at LAUDA.
The customer ordered a system which must reach a working temperature of 400 °C without any problems. The heater is used in the field of materials research, in so-called scale-up tests and for the preparation of reactions which make such a high temperature essential. "Heat transfer systems with a working temperature range up to 350 °C are part of the day-to-day business of LAUDA", says project manager Ralph Herbert. "The range up to 400 °C is in the premier class." However, this is increasingly in demand in the meantime, according to Ralph Herbert, because it allows more effective heat transfer, thereby enabling a higher throughput and optimization of temperature-relevant production processes. Depending on the requisite outflow temperature and application area, these heat transfer systems use various types of thermal oils (silicone oil or eutectic mixtures). Generally speaking, they are electrically heated and generate a temperature-controlled liquid flow which heats the customer application in turn. A cooling option via heat exchanger can be integrated depending on requirement.
In-depth technical expertise essential
The particular feature of the jump from 350 to 400 °C is that the engineers at LAUDA have to deal with significantly higher working pressures. The stainless steel reactors used on the application side also have to withstand a higher load. "The maximum pressure in the heat transfer fluid circuit in normal heat transfer systems with thermal oils is 6 bar, but it increases up to 21 bar in the 400 degree systems, depending on the thermal oil used", explains Ralph Herbert. This requires expertise in pipeline construction and the individual equipment components which not every manufacturer can offer.
LAUDA manufactures heat transfer systems in this high temperature range several times a year – whereby the planning and design are always especially important aspects for the LAUDA experts, confirms Ralph Herbert. The team of engineers at LAUDA is currently planning thermal oil systems with a maximum working temperature of up to 430 °C. The system was completed on schedule for the customer from the chemical industry, inspected and approved in the test bed at LAUDA and then commissioned on site together with the customer.
LAUDA again named world market leader
For the fourth time in a row since 2016, LAUDA DR. R. WOBSER GMBH & CO. KG has been appointed world market leader in the field of "Constant temperature equipment and systems for precise temperature control". The list of world market leaders is drawn up annually under the direction of the economist Prof. Dr. Christoph Müller from the renowned University of St. Gallen. The WirtschaftsWoche business magazine has been awarding this prize since 2016. LAUDA has been a member of the world market leader index since 2015.
»We are very proud to receive this award again,« explains Dr. Gunter Wobser, President and CEO of LAUDA. »The repeated confirmation of our achievements shows us that our two locations in Germany and our twelve foreign subsidiaries mean that we are excellently positioned internationally. By acquiring the laboratory equipment manufacturer GFL, we have further expanded our product range and strengthened our portfolio in the field of laboratory technology.« An important part of the innovation strategy of this family-owned company with around 510 employees is the consistent cooperation with innovative start-ups. LAUDA recently announced a cooperation agreement with ENER-IQ GmbH. The company is developing a data platform based on artificial intelligence to increase the efficiency of heating systems. Since the end of 2018, the company has also been working with a multi-award-winning start-up, watttron GmbH from Freital. Watttron develops and produces intelligent heating systems that enable point- and temperature-accurate heating.
The October issue of WirtschaftsWoche lists LAUDA as one of a total of 456 companies from various sectors that have been recognised as world market leaders – out of just under 14,000 companies with sales in excess of 50 million euros across Germany. In order to be allowed to hold the title of world market leader, a company must meet various criteria. Annual sales must be at least 50 million euros – 50 percent of which must be generated abroad on at least three continents. To determine the world market leader index, the scientists from St. Gallen only use official figures.
LAUDA leadership team meets at the seventh World Jour Fixe
The LAUDA international leadership team completed a week of intensive work, constructive discussion, and strategic decision-making. This was the annual World Jour Fixe, where the managing directors of all the twelve foreign businesses gather to meet with the leadership group of LAUDA DR. R. WOBSER GMBH & CO. KG. This event took place for the seventh time, and, after Barcelona, was back in its traditional headquarters in Lauda-Königshofen.
The aim of the meeting of international leaders is the direct and intensive exchange of information about collaborative projects and the strategic goals of all the LAUDA companies active on the global market. Global strategies were on the agenda alongside an extensive view of the development of the individual business sectors and the planning for the following year. Consistent customer orientation of the international sales and marketing logistics of the global market leader were discussed under the label of GOAL (Global Ordering and Logistics). An additional item at the forefront of this year’s event was the advancing integration of the GFL Gesellschaft für Labortechnik mbH, which was acquired by LAUDA at the end of last year.
The direct exchange between all participants is a significant factor for the company culture of LAUDA. For this reason, the annual World Jour Fixe has a constant entry in LAUDA’s diary. President and CEO, Dr. Gunther Wobser says: “The international meeting reinforces the trust and collaboration between the worldwide LAUDA companies. This year the feedback was staggering and our route to becoming a global company was confirmed” In addition to digitalization, the healthy growth of the company benefited markedly from “intensive personal communication at the level of equals”.
In addition to the strategic tasks, the collegial interchange amongst the participants did not miss out, for example, there was a visit to the Königshöfer Fair and a joint tour of the Marienburg Castle in the neighboring university city of Würzburg.
Innovative founders are hosted by LAUDA
LAUDA DR. R. WOBSER GmbH & Co. KG presented an in-house exhibition with four highly innovative start-up companies at an event held to mark the 80th birthday of the former Managing Director and current Advisor and Shareholder Dr. Gerhard Wobser.
Cloud Software with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Optimization of Heating Systems and Heating Networks is an innovative project of ENER-IQ GmbH (Würzburg/Hamburg). According to the Federation of German Heating Industry (BDH), around two thirds of heating systems and district heating networks are operated inefficiently. The reasons for this include defective components, inefficient control settings and, above all, deficient system tuning due to a shortage of qualified personnel. ENER-IQ's solution approach consists of sensor-based recording of the heat generation and distribution parameters. The collected data is transferred to a cloud application developed by the start-up company. From there, the systems and properties are monitored, the data analyzed, key performance indicators calculated for more efficient management and data supplied for optimization purposes. In the long term, it is used for the AI-supported optimization of the systems and remote adjustment as well as recommendations for action for tradesmen.
MagnoTherm Solutions from Darmstadt develops energy-saving and gas-free refrigerating or heating machines based on magnetocaloric materials. Compressors for refrigeration plants have reached their efficiency limit. Cold and heat are generated using magnetocaloric materials such as lanthanum-iron-silicon instead of greenhouse gases in the device developed by the start-up company. The solid body heats up when it is brought into a magnetic field and cools down when it leaves it. The heat or cold is conducted away from the material and made usable via a water mixture. Significant energy savings can be achieved through the isentropic process. The lower pressures and water as a medium mean that the cooling unit is safe for the end user and requires less maintenance. Since the materials can be adjusted to different temperature ranges, it is possible to create highly individual and energy-efficient applications.
The patented invention of watttron GmbH in Freital near Dresden is an innovative system for industrial heating processes, initially for the packaging industry. LAUDA has been cooperating very closely with this award-winning company in various areas for almost a year now in an atmosphere of mutual trust. The modular heating system enables material savings of up to 30 percent to be achieved in the manufacture of packaging. Different shapes can be realized according to the customer's wishes by linking modules in a sequence. Each module has 64 heating pixels which can all be individually controlled and regulated. This makes it possible to create individual heating profiles which can be selectively changed within seconds. This process allows packaging to be produced more efficiently in a thermal process or with contact heating. For example, the material in areas of a yoghurt pot which require high deformation is heated more, while the areas which are hardly or only slightly deformed are heated less. In principle, the heating process developed by watttron can also be used in many other industrial precision heating processes such as bio, pharmaceutical, chemical and automotive technology.
The Berlin-based start-up company Coolar has developed a cooling system which can make use of adsorption cooling technology based on water as a sustainable refrigerant for the first time. This means that compact refrigerators and transport boxes operated without electricity can be developed without climate-damaging, toxic or highly flammable substances. The first application was a so-called off-the-grid medical refrigerator for off-grid health care facilities which was successfully tested in completely self-contained operation in the field in Tenerife at the beginning of 2019. This solution means that Coolar can offer a low-cost, ecologically sustainable and pollutant-free solution for medicine and vaccines without the need for electricity, batteries or complicated control technology. In addition, the cooling system, whose compactness and simple control system are uniquely flexible, provides a sustainable, water-based alternative for a large number of small to medium-sized fields of application in the cooling technology industry, which is currently undergoing radical change.
"We aim to use these collaborative partnerships to identify and become aware of technical trends and technological developments at an early stage and provide innovative start-ups with cooperation on equal terms," underlined Dr. Gunther Wobser, CEO of LAUDA, speaking at the presentation of the four start-ups and their inventions. "LAUDA has carried out some excellent preliminary work in cooperation with start-up companies," said Robert Tietze, who has been Start-Up Manager at LAUDA since May 2019, talking about his experiences of the first few months. It had become apparent that universities provide a concentration of experts within specific areas of research from which interesting start-up companies arise.