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How The Automotive Heat Exchangers Benefit from Metal 3D Printing

Published on May 25 2022 by Exzellenc
How The Automotive Heat Exchangers Benefit from Metal 3D Printing

The global automotive heat exchanger market is anticipated to rise from USD 21.75 billion in 2021 to USD 24.1 billion in 2022, with a CAGR of 10.8%, according to data provided by the business research firm. At a CAGR of 7.4%, the size of the worldwide automotive heat exchanger market is anticipated to increase to USD 32.05 billion by 2026. The global automotive heat exchanger market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 2020-2025, according to the study report "Automotive Heat Exchanger Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact and Forecast (2022-2027)" just published by Mordor Intelligence. The growth rate will exceed 6%, while the compound annual growth rate of the Chinese automotive heat exchanger market is about 8.73%, and the Chinese automotive heat exchanger market is growing rapidly.

The increasing need to reduce the weight of automobiles has led OEMs to replace heavier materials such as iron and steel with lighter materials such as plastic and aluminum. The automotive heat exchanger market is also following this trend. Additionally, previous heat exchanger designs and constructions can cause corrosion, decomposition, sludge settling, and fouling by dust particles, which can lead to reduced heat transfer and efficiency, resulting in higher fuel consumption.

Mordor Intelligence has exclusively released an analytical research report on China's automotive heat exchanger market, covering current and upcoming trends and recent technological developments. The report provides a detailed analysis of various segments of the market by application, design, vehicle, and powertrain type.

High demand on electric vehicles

Sales and production of electric vehicles are predicted to continue growing at astounding rates worldwide. Many nations limit the exhaust gas and greenhouse gas emissions caused on by fuel use by reducing the manufacturing of fuel-powered vehicles in order to reach zero emission regulations. As environmental pollution continues to rise, an increasing number of nations have also chosen to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road.

The Chinese government provides a number of incentives to consumers who purchase electric vehicles in order to accomplish this. Electric vehicle buyers can anticipate extra benefits like price breaks, free parking, tax exemptions, and more. The purchase of regular autos, however, is subject to high taxes. As incentives are increased by regulators and electric car technology advances, it is anticipated that new energy vehicle sales in China will increase even more.


A technological advance in the manufacturing of energy-efficient auto heat exchangers has been achieved by the china strict emission regulations. The downsizing of automotive engines is a well-liked industry trend that has raised demand for two- and three-cylinder engines. Sales of four-cylinder engines are anticipated to decline sharply as emissions regulations tighten (because vehicle weight is directly proportional to emissions). Rising small vehicle demand will fuel need for turbochargers, which will fuel demand for heat exchangers once again, fueling the expansion of China's automotive heat exchanger market.

Passenger cars and light trucks drive the growth

The market for light trucks and cars in China is anticipated to continue expanding, which would lead to a high demand for automotive heat exchanger units there. According to data from 2011, China has 600 automobile heat exchanger producers. Over the past three years, the region's growing needs of cars has been a major factor in the expansion of the automotive aftermarket. The market for vehicle heat exchangers in Asia and the Pacific has grown dramatically as a result.

Due primarily to the diversification of heat exchanger applications and the rising demand for heat exchangers, China's heat exchanger market as a whole keeps high growth rate. The production and demand for autos, as well as current vehicle ownership, all affect the demand for automotive heat exchangers. The need for automotive heat exchangers in rising and developing nations like China is fueled by the manufacture of new automobiles. Additionally, Chinese producers of automotive heat exchangers have started to invest extensively in lightweight automotive materials like aluminum, which is anticipated to considerably increase the region's demand for these components.

Most automakers in China are committed to using aluminum as a lightweight material in the production of components, and revisions to emissions standards are expected to increase the use of heat exchangers. In addition, when lightweight structural design is performed in the automotive heat exchanger, the cost of manufacturing the automotive heat exchanger will be further increased. How to reduce while meeting increasing product complexity is a significant challenge for automotive heat exchanger suppliers.

Metal 3D printing matters in making efficient heat exchangers

Heat exchanger manufacturing has evolved as a result of developments in metal additive printing technology. With the use of metallic 3D printing, complex and free designs that are not possible to produce using conventional manufacturing methods may be achieve with ease. Other benefits of 3D printing include increased heat exchange efficiency and decreases in weight, volume, and production costs.

Unlike traditional heat exchanger design ideas, CAD modeling software usually does not take into account the particularities and advantages of 3D printing modeling, and now new structural design methods relying on algorithms and AI are shining in the manufacture of heat exchangers. New companies focusing on metal additive manufacturing structural design represented by nTopology in the United States, Hyperganic and Conflux in Australia have pushed CAD modeling to be intelligent. By inputting relevant features into the algorithm, the computer will use artificial intelligence according to these characteristics. The product design is output by the method, and the generated design is iterated at a high speed to form thousands of design models, and finally the optimized product design is determined by means of printing test or computer simulation. This derivative design method, combined with the free manufacturing characteristics of 3D printing, makes the product more powerful.

The process parameter optimization, surface roughness control, support structure removal, post-processing requirements, compatible raw materials, and cost competitiveness involved in 3D printing have been controversial compared to traditional mass production methods. But despite the challenges, heat exchanger fabrication of metal, polymer and ceramic materials has been successfully achieved using this technology.

Exzellenc 3D printing has focused on analyzing how the rough surfaces, microchannels, surface area and lattice structure affects on the performance of 3D printed heat exchangers. The current study found that the surface roughness of metal 3D printing is a key consideration affecting heat exchanger performance; the deviation from the expected design is also very significant, especially when the dimensions are close to the manufacturing limit. As metal 3D printing technology continues to improve in terms of final product surface quality, dimensional accuracy, and the realization of smaller dimensional accuracy, the heat transfer performance of heat exchangers could be further improved.


As the core component of the automobile cooling system, the heat exchanger matches the iteration speed of the model. Exzellenc believes that, under the premise of ensuring its basic performance and cost control requirements, heat exchangers in the future must apply new designs, new metal powder materials, and new technologies in terms of structure, materials, and processes to achieve its goal of such compact structure, overall light weight and high performance. This almost perfectly fits the features of metal additive manufacturing.

Undoubtedly, the use of metallic 3D printing to make heat exchangers can significantly improve the efficiency and reduce weight and cost. However, while it outperforms conventional techniques in terms of production optimization and complex geometries, it still requires extensive specific and systematic validation. The current 3D printing technology cannot replace traditional methods yet, but the continuous advancement of metal additive manufacturing will solve these inherent shortcomings, resulting in higher performance heat exchangers.

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