Swedish manufacturer Alfa Laval announced at AHR Expo in Chicago that it will open a new factory for brazed heat exchangers in Richmond, Va.

The new production facility in the U.S. will focus on configuration, assembly, brazing and testing, according to the manufacturer. The facility is planned to start production in the first quarter of 2019.

“This is a key step to strengthen Alfa Laval’s competitiveness in North America,” said Fredrik Ekström, president, business unit, Brazed and Fusion Bonded Heat Exchangers. “Local manufacturing brings us the benefits of flexibility and speed needed to strengthen and grow our local business, and enables us to supply low-volume configured units with short lead times.”

The company currently does not sell many CO2 heat exchangers in the U.S. market. “Japan [and Europe] is driving the move to CO2,” said Pierre Hultbäck, Alfa Laval’s VP Brazed & Fusion-bonded Heat Exchangers – Head of Channel Sales, at AHR Expo held from Jan 22-24. He believes “the U.S.A. will be last on this.”

“We hope that the work U.S. states are doing [like California] on HFCs will push uptake faster.

Pierre Hultbäck, Alfa Laval

Hultbäck estimated only 2% of its portfolio in the U.S. is with CO2. On the other hand, “Ammonia is very present in Industrial systems.”

Alfa Laval hopes that the California Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (SLCP) Strategy, which includes an HFC phase-down plan, will be implemented soon. “We hope that the work U.S. states are doing [like California] on HFCs will push uptake faster,” he said.

Noting the uncertainty surrounding the controversial ruling by a U.S. Court to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from delisting HFCs, Hultbäck thinks “what we’re learning is that California will go ahead no matter what” the Federal government decides to do.

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