KHARN interviews SWEP Korea at HARFKO

As urbanization continues, especially in emerging economies, energy shortages and trends towards higher energy efficiencies will drive SWEP’s expansion. This will be seen not only in continuing investment in and development of our BPHE portfolio to increase efficiency, but also in new offerings to encourage conversion from older heat exchanger technologies.

Q: What kind of company is SWEP?
A: SWEP, part of Dover Corporation, is the world's leading supplier of compact brazed plate heat exchangers (BPHEs), with representation in more than 50 countries and production in Sweden, the USA, Malaysia, Slovakia, and China.

Q: What global trends are affecting BPHEs?
A: The global market for heat exchangers is being shaped by the environmental impact of refrigerants. This means that there is a greater need for BPHEs to challenge efficiency whilst providing minimal environmental impact. Demands on heat exchanger design are therefore quite diverse. Furthermore, construction directives and trends towards electrification are driving increasingly compact and modular energy systems.

Q: How do new refrigerants impact BPHE development?
A: One global trend is to minimize the global warming potential (GWP) of refrigerants. This is creating a variety of new refrigerants, starting from HFC blends to HFOs and finally to natural refrigerants. Systems using propane are being developed in Europe, for example.

Q: What is SWEP’s position in the global market?
A: SWEP focuses on challenging efficiency, particularly with a view to minimizing charge requirements. The results are apparent in the company’s newly developed products such as the B8LAS, B26, B85, and B86. These are designed for optimal performance with a small refrigerant charge in specific residential heating applications. For larger capacities in HPs and chiller applications, the B/P250AS range has been developed alongside the newly launched dual circuit D650. With CO2 gaining popularity as a refrigerant in certain applications, SWEP has also developed BPHEs that meet the pressure requirements while minimizing the material footprint and dealing with the refrigerant’s specific behavior in transcritical operation. Typical examples are the CO2 product family B9, B17, B18 and B185, which are suitable for CO2 hot water heat pumps and commercial refrigeration systems.

Q: What are the prospects for the BPHE market in Korea?
A: BPHEs will be used increasingly, not only in heat pumps but also in small and mid-size chiller, district energy, and industrial applications. For applications below 150 kW, BPHEs have captured 95% of the market in Europe, but only 30% in Asia (see graphic). With the aim to convert from older heat transfer methods, for example Shell and Tube (S&T), the potential BPHE market in Asia is therefore huge.

        European Market

        APAC Market

Q: The market for heat pumps for high-temperature water has increased substantially in Korea. What are your expectations for that market?
A: For cascade HP boilers in residential applications alone, KEPKO supported the rebate with 7910 units in 2016. The target for 2017 has been set at over 30% higher than in 2016. It means the market will be increased by more than 50% over two years, including a revised supplementary budget and commercial applications. We hope to continuously increase market share over the next 3-5 years and also in export markets. SWEP is well positioned with a reliable high-performance BPHE for not only Carrier but also other companies. The market share exceeds 50%.

Q: What is the global business plan for 2017, and the long-term vision?
A: As urbanization continues, especially in emerging economies, energy shortages and trends towards higher energy efficiencies will drive SWEP’s expansion. This will be seen not only in continuing investment in and development of our BPHE portfolio to increase efficiency, but also in new offerings to encourage conversion from older heat exchanger technologies. Growth will also be driven by legislation and the move towards lower GWP refrigerants. SWEP’s long-term aspiration is to stimulate sustainable growth by continuously investing for growth and innovation, including the expansion of its geographical sales areas to improve service to customers.

Q: What is the 2017 business plan for Korea specifically?
A: Our ambition for Korea is to grow in all areas in 2017, but especially in industrial applications such as circulating chillers, air dryers, ORC, and engine coolers. We also aim to expand in air conditioning, both on our own for heat pump applications and with support from our distributors. We will also explore district heating for potential penetration into this market.

by Joakim Fahlstedt, Ong Chin Shuan and KHARN