Electric vehicles (EVs) are characterized by a minimal need for mechanical maintenance compared to petroleum- powered counterparts. No cylinders, low vibration levels, and some components, such as the alternator, are eliminated completely. In contrast, the technical requirements for air conditioner compressors are higher in EVs: Apart from high power consumption that needs to be supplied by the battery, the automotive industry is showing interest in the use of CO2 as an environmentally friendly refrigerant gas. Since compressors are used at several points in the engine, more pressure is needed when using CO2 compared to other refrigerant gases. These demanding circumstances create the need for special compressor seals able to withstand this high pressure. NEC SCHOTT utilizes its signature glass-to-metal sealing technology to produce compressor seals that meet this demand. In this process, metal pins are hermetically sealed into ring openings, providing a conductive connection that is shielded by glass. The shield is reinforced with the compression exerted by the outer metal on the inner parts of glass and metal. No matter the weather, glass-to-metal sealed compressor terminals from NEC SCHOTT enable air conditioning systems to function reliably.
Meeting customers needs
Hiroki Honda, NEC SCHOTT Components Corporation, on the advantages of glass-sealed compressor terminals.
Do electric cars have different requirements for compressor seals?
A compressor in a car with a combustion engine has no motor inside and is driven by a belt. These compressors do not require hermetic compressor seals. Electric vehicles, on the other hand, are equipped with electric compressors that have an engine inside and require a completely sealed construction. To avoid refrigerant leakage, these compressors must utilize hermetic, glass-to-metal sealed (GTMS) terminals.
What are the advantages of seals from NEC SCHOTT?
Compressors are typically used in harsh environments. Internal pressure is also substantial. To perform as required in such conditions with long-term reliability, there is no clearer choice than GTMS compressor seals. We have years of experience producing compressor seals for refrigeration applications, such as air conditioners and refrigerators. With NEC SCHOTT’s experience as a glass specialist, our core skill is glass-sealing technology, which is required to achieve optimal insulation and withstand high voltage.
How closely do you cooperate with the automotive industry or their suppliers?
Since electric compressors for automobile air conditioners are an emerging market, some compressor producers are not yet familiar with GTMS. We can support customers by proposing GTMS designs to accommodate their individual requirements. To make appropriate proposals, we study the use of GTMS in compressors and the effect it has on their longevity. Starting from the development stage, we work closely with customers to meet and exceed their application needs.