Former Ford parts unit Visteon, a top supplier of automotive climate control products, has developed a new ‘zero leak’ fitting designed to eliminate refrigerant leakage in vehicle air conditioning systems.

The patented metal seal block fitting and seal structure eliminates a significant source of refrigerant leakage, reducing direct greenhouse gas emissions as well as warranty costs associated with recharging vehicle air conditioning systems, the supplier said. The metal seal fitting replaces conventional connector fittings that use flexible elastomeric seals.

Claimed advantages of the metal seal fitting include reduced leakage – to a point that is practically unmeasurable – due to the “superior” metal-to-metal design, minimal pressure drop, due to ‘full-flow’ internal design, “dramatically” reduced seal contamination, assembly and service robustness and protection during handling, as a result of the integrated seal design.

“Visteon’s metal seal fitting technology is generating substantial interest among vehicle manufacturers and is specified for mass production beginning in 2011,” the firm said in a statement.

“Visteon’s metal seal technology provides significant benefits, enabling automakers to meet new legislation requirements in multiple markets,” said Brian Sullivan, Visteon’s fluid transport global product line director. “Recognising that climate system components are often sourced to different suppliers but must fit together, [we] also plan to license the technology to enable adoption of this leading-edge sealing solution.”

Fred Schroeder, Visteon fluid transport technical fellow and co-inventor of the technology, noted, “The metal seal fitting surpasses any requirements we have seen for today’s R134A refrigerant and proposed future refrigerants including R1234yf, as well as the very severe temperature, pressure and leakage requirements of R744 (CO2) systems.”

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