As our industry moves closer to a new refrigerant—whatever it turns out to be—ripples spread through other industry segments.
A recent market analysis by the Freedonia Group, a high level research organization based in Cleveland, notes that overall demand for chemical sensors of all types is projected to increase almost 9% per year, and will become a six billion dollar industry within three years.
In fairness their study looked at all applications, not just our patch, and included medical, manufacturing environmental, security and many other uses. One non-automotive growth point noted for biosensors is a rising need for in-home care or self-administered tests used for checking blood glucose levels and diabetic management.
However, their recently released report also noted “Overall growth will be supported by recovery in automobile manufacturing and process industries; by technological advances that allow for price reduction and greater precision, which will expand the use of chemical sensors into new markets and by new applications within existing markets.”
It is not unlikely that several of those new applications will appear with our new refrigerants, possibly being used for monitoring cabin air quality or watching an evaporator for leaks, or monitoring the battery packs of EVs for any sign of overheat or leakage.
Freedonia Group also took particular note of what they term optical sensors. As a group, these sensors include anything using light waves for detection, and products using any form of infrared, ultraviolet, photo-ionization, laser or chemo-luminescence are on their watch list. Infrared is already being used for refrigerant detection, and some very smart people are probably working on ways to incorporate the other methods as well.
The report recap states that the “large automotive sensor market will post favorable growth due to a rebound in motor vehicle production.” Companies wouldn’t be making the sensors if somebody wasn’t buying them, which means they’ll be showing up at your shop pretty soon.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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