An AC air compressor is an engine-driven unit that absorbs heat from the refrigerant and maintains ambient temperature in the passenger cabin. The compressor consists of a piston and crank assembly that allows compression of the refrigerant in order to dissipate heat. The air-conditioner was only required to deliver cooling performance in the recent past. Other attributes such as light weight, low noise, energy efficiency and compactness are presently required, as technology has evolved.
With demand in optimizing engine efficiency by downsizing the engine the market for the Rotary AC compressor is increasing due to its compact size and low operating noise. The wobble plate variable displacement compressors are the most widely used compressors in passenger vehicles, owing to their efficient cooling and low power consumption. The AC compressor market for electric vehicles is projected to expand due to the rise in production of electric vehicles due to stringent government norms and environmental awareness. Schaeffler AG and Continental AG have developed 48-volt technology AC compressors with architecture to run on 48 volt battery.
The price of electric compressor and 48-volt compressor is higher, which is expected to restraint their market.
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The global automotive AC compressor market can be segmented based on type, vehicle, power, and geography. Based on type, the AC compressor market can be classified into scroll compressor, wobble plate compressor and swash plate compressor. The swash plate is a rotating device used to move the pistons to create compression. The swash plate compressor is used in wide range of vehicles ranging from small vehicles to large buses.
The wobble plate compressor has a stationary plate and a rotating cam & piston to obtain the compression. The wobble plate compressor is compact and has low power consumptions and is widely used in heavy duty commercial sector. The scroll compressors are lightweight and run with very low noise. The scroll compressors are estimated to grow in passenger vehicle segment owing to increasing trend of light weighting. In terms of vehicle, the market can be segregated into passenger cars and commercial cars.
The rise in production of passenger cars has fueled the demand for AC compressors. The penetration of air-conditioners in heavy commercial vehicles is increasing, leading to a rise in demand for air compressors. Based on power, the air compressors are segmented as electric and non- electric. The ac compressors run on engine power for a gasoline powered engine. The electric compressors received drive from the belt of electric motor.
The market presently consists of gasoline-powered or non-electric compressors; however, the rise in adoption of electric vehicles is estimated to propel the electric compressors segment of the market in the near future. In terms of geography, the automotive AC compressor market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World (ROW). The U.S is currently a prominent market for automotive AC compressors followed by China and Japan. Germany is a leading manufacturer of AC compressors in Europe.
The Key players include the DENSO AUTO manufacturing a number of rotary and reciprocating compressors. Denso manufactured the world’s first electric compressor for Toyota Prius Hybrid that operates even when the vehicle is stationary. TOYOTA INDUSTRIES CORPORATION based in Japan manufactures a number of air compressors. The company also developed a low-noise and vibration compressor for the fuel cell vehicle Toyota Mirai. The company produces electric and lightweight compressors under its environmental initiative.
The lightweight compressor produced for downsizing of engine has achieved 10% more efficiency than the conventional compressor. Delphi Technologies have developed scroll compressors for fuel cell and hybrid vehicles.TD Automotive Compressor Georgia is a joint venture between Toyota Industries Corporation and Denso Auto, it is the major manufacturer of the automotive air compressors with 40% share of the global market. SANDEN USA manufactures rotary type compressors for General Motors. Michigan Automotive Compressor, Inc. produces automotive air compressors with magnetic clutch. Gardner Denver is also a prominent player in the automotive air compressor market.