voestalpine valve steel for white goods
Photo: voestalpine Precision Strip

Sustainable cooling for our food

Flap-X is a new strip steel that makes it possible to make refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners quieter and more energy efficient whilst providing consistently longer lifetimes. 

The key component in a compressor, that drives refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners, is the inlet and outlet flapper valves. This small steel component is often the limiting factor in the life of these ‘white goods’. 

Thin steel for more energy efficient products

As the name would suggest, the valves flap millions of times throughout their lifetime, opening and closing the valves to regulate the flow of refrigerant. The flapping action constitutes a cyclic loading on the valve, meaning that the main demand on the strip is fatigue resistance.

During the last decade, increased demands for quieter and more energy efficient compressors have focussed designer’s efforts on thinner products, which therefore need superior fatigue properties to be able to maintain an acceptable operating life. 

Collaboration resulted in long-life valve steel

In 2015, Swerea collaborated with voestalpine Precision Strip to develop an understanding of the relationships between microstructure and fatigue life. 

As a result of this collaboration, vostalpine Precision Strip have launched the world-leading long-life valve steel, protected by patents in all major manufacturing countries.

“With the help of Swerea’s knowledgeable people and advanced investigational techniques we managed to further develop the understanding of the mechanisms by which modification of the microstructure through heat treatment, can improve the material’s fatigue strength.” says Alexander Löf, R&D Lab Manager, voestalpine Precision Strip in Munkfors, Sweden.

voestalpine Precision Strip and its predecessors have been supplying high quality standard valve steels into this demanding application under the ‘Uddeholmstrip’ brand from Munkfors, for more than 50 years. 

Agenda 2030 sustainability goals