Tubular elements, which were the original technology embraced by the business area, still account for the majority of sales. They are widely used in all sorts of applications, from mass-produced washing machines to one-off process heaters for the offshore industry. The basic technology has long remained unchanged, but the products themselves have been perfected over the years in terms of materials used, performance, quality and manufacturing technology, and are continually being adapted to meet new needs in new environments.
Foil elements, which consist of an etched metallic foil or wound wire laminated with a layer of insulation, are a rapidly expanding product group. Major applications include wing mirrors for cars, medical equipment, underfloor heating and protection for electronic equipment against damp and moisture.
There is still plenty of appetite for investments in the expansion of rail infrastructure and rail transport worldwide. In May 2012 NIBE Railway Components took part for the first time in a trade fair in Asia, namely the CRTS Rail Transit Technology Forum and Exhibition in Shanghai.
One of the strategies behind our acquisitions is to complement the basic range with specialist products to make NIBE Element a ‘one-stop’ supplier of a broad spectrum of components and systems for electric heating. These include high-energy elements (primarily used in the plastics industry) and ceramic elements for the surface-treatment industry, as well as technologies such as defrosting elements, heating cables and diesel heaters that have been added to the NIBE Element range as a result of recent acquisitions.
Thanks to the acquisition of electronics and control technology manufacturer Eltwin, we have also broadened our offer for measuring and steering. This particularly applies to the frequency control of electric motors, where the right solution can lead to significant energy savings.
As the product range becomes more diverse, the marketing and service concept is also being developed to pave the way towards establishing NIBE Element as the leading supplier of components and solutions for measuring, controlling and heating applications for industrial customers in each of the business area’s domestic markets.
One important product segment is resistors, which are used for power electronics in lifts/elevators, rail equipment, wind power turbines, etc. This is a steadily expanding segment for which there is great potential in the energy sector.
Another segment with good potential is vacuum-brazing technology. This has already successfully established itself as an integral part of the production process for the plate heat-exchangers used in various water-heating applications and is now also being used to manufacture elements for medical technology applications. Foil element technology, too, is developing in new directions, including use in a variety of aerials and antennae.