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Molecular Sieve for Automotive Air Conditioning Dryer unit Desiccants

When we talk about "desiccants" and "economic" in the same sentence then naturally we might think, "how cheap is the desiccant". But that is only a part of the "economics picture". When we look at "price" we see a monetary value up front. But when we consider "cost" then we get a much fuller picture.

So with a range of cheap inferior quality desiccants available when compared to our own high quality products, it is important to consider both "price" and "cost". Price is what you pay for your desiccants, and cost is the overall impact of your choice of desiccant supplier. You see, cost takes into account the long term factors resulting from your choice of desiccant, for example:

  • Will it increase or decrease the maintenance and repair demands of your system?
  • Will it increase or decrease the life span of your system?
  • Will it increase or decrease the efficiency and energy consumption (running costs) of your system?
  • Will it increase or decrease the duration between desiccant refills of your system?

Is it Safe to Use Cheap Desiccants in Air Conditioning Units?

At Flow Dry we have manufacturing sites around the globe including China, Europe and the USA so we are able to insist on and maintain a high quality desiccant product irrespective of where it is produced. Unfortunately some suppliers in places like China are producing cheaper products which are also inferior however it can be confusing for customers to understand what the differences are.  So let us look at a scenario for an automotive industry Air Conditioning (AC) manufacturer.

For this example let us assume that the cost of manufacturing each AC unit is $500.00 and the cost of replacing it if it breaks within the 3 warranty period is $1000.00.

Let's assume there are two suppliers in China for desiccants and the desiccant prices (per unit) are:

  • CheapChina.com: $0.50 (This fictitious company represents a typical cheap producer.)
  • Flow Dry Tech: $0.70 (Our Chinese manufacturing producing a higher quality product.)

A production run of 20,000 units is ordered.
Purchase of desiccant from ChinaCom: 20,000 x $0.50 = $10,000.00
Purchase of desiccant from FlowDryTech: 20,000 x $0.70 = $14,000.00

So going with the "cheaper" desiccant from CheapChina.com is going to save $4,000.00 which should keep the accountant happy and the price is $4,000.00 less, and when we consider price alone then this seems compelling. But what have we actually done to the overall cost?

It turns out that unlike the Flow Dry product which has been thoroughly tested, the lower quality product from CheapChina.com is not compatible with the HFC-134a refrigerant used and also reacts with the oils in the system. Furthermore because it is not as mechanically stable, the vibrations in the system cause it to break down quicker releasing dust that plugs up the system and reduces the efficiency of the units. It doesn't have a high water capacity at the start of its life and so it reaches saturation sooner ending its functional life well before the Flow Dry product would have. Within the 3 year warranty period 20% of the AC units will fail due to the poor performing desiccant.

20% of 20,000 units = 4,000 units fail.

Cost of replacing units = 4,000 x $1000.00 = $4,000,000.00

So although you saved $4,000.00 in your initial material price, because of the poor performance of the budget desiccant from CheapChina.com you have incurred $4,000,000.00 losses over three years due to the costs of choosing the budget desiccant. The cost of the desiccant is therefore $4,004,000.00, which is pretty costly!

Now obviously this is a simplification and there are lots of other cost affecting factors but it's a very useful exercise to understand the difference between PRICE (what you pay at the time) and COST (what you pay over time) when making important decisions such as which desiccant to purchase.

We've already talked about how to choose the right kind of desiccant and now we're talking about how to choose the right supplier, like Flow Dry Tech.

In this article we've touched on the use of AD-1 Molecular Sieve desiccants in Automotive Air Conditioning (AC) units. We'll go into more detail in a future article on why that is so important. When you need a desiccant, whether it's for air conditioning or another application like pharmaceutical packaging, our desiccant experts are available for a free conversation to help you make the right choice, because while it's true you can find cheap desiccant product suppliers, the cost of using the wrong product could well outweigh any short term price savings. Not all desiccants are made equal!

Posted by John Logan at 16:32

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