New Brazing Process Simplifies Aluminium Joining and is More Environmentally Friendly

Hydro's new aluminium coating process is simplifying the brazing of heat exchangers for automotive applications, and achieving significant environmental benefits at the same time.

The new process is safer than the previous technology, thus reducing the potential for occupational health problems. It also requires less flux, reduces the amount of waste, and does not use as much energy as the previous best available practice.

"Our project team worked closely with suppliers, partners and customers, and conducted trials to meet customer demands," says Salvador Biosca, who is head of Hydro's aluminium precision tubing operations. "This is an innovation that will save our customers time and money, and will improve the quality of their products."

Hydro has registered HYBRAZ TM/®as the name of the process.

Better all around

Passenger vehicles normally contain a handful of heat exchangers, ranging from engine and diesel fuel coolers to climate control systems and the common radiator. Because of the need for a large effective surface area, a heat exchanger contains many fluid channels, fins, headers and other components. To connect all these in one step, brazing is the dominant technology.

Flux, in metallurgy, is a substance that removes passivating oxides from the surface of a metal or alloy. The flux used by heat exchanger manufacturers is typically a fluoride flux, which needed to be applied to the entire surface of the components.

Unfortunately, there are environmental and health issues associated with the use of flux, not least the potential problems that could be incurred due to airborne fluoride-containing particles in the working environment.

HYBRAZ TM/® resolves and simplifies this by applying a special coating to the aluminium before shipping to the customer. This application process – covering tubes, headers and/or sideplates – also eliminates the need for fluxing and flux stations on a heat exchanger manufacturing line.

Hydro is the global market leader in providing aluminium precision tubing for automotive heat exchanger solutions. The company's extrusions and tubes are found mainly in applications such as condensers and evaporators for air conditioning systems as well as liquid lines for air conditioning, heater cores and radiators for engine cooling systems, charge air coolers and other cooling systems.

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