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High-tech heat transfer

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Onda develops and manufactures high-quality heat exchangers for various industrial applications, particularly heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration. In addition, the company serves the marine sector and produces custom-designed heat exchangers for cruise ships, military vessels and submarines. The comprehensive Onda product range includes air heat exchangers, brazed plate heat exchangers, shell and tube heat exchangers, plate and frame heat exchangers and special heat exchangers up to 27 MW which are developed in close cooperation with the customer to meet individual demands.

Onda was established by Giuseppe Sella in 1989. “Mr. Sella already had his own thermo-hydraulics business when he decided to enter the market for heat exchangers,” Managing Director Loris Giancotti, who has been with the Italian market leader since its founding days, describes the company’s origins. Onda soon acquired the first customers and was able to expand rapidly.

In 2005, the company started internationalizing and set up branch operations in Lyon, Moscow, Shanghai and the USA. “Our present export share is 57%, states Mr. Giancotti. “We have customers in over 75 countries, from Europe and North America to India and Australia, and supply all major OEM manufacturers in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and refrigeration industries.”

Onda employs approximately 200 people and generates sales of 31 million EUR. The company has four production facilities: two at its headquarters in Mussolente in the Italian province of Vicenza, one in nearby Lonigo and one in Delaware, Ohio, in the USA.

The plants in Mussolente manufacture brazed plate heat exchangers, plate and frame heat exchangers and large industrial vessels. The Lonigo site focuses on shell and tube heat exchangers and air heat exchangers, while the US facility produces heat exchangers for the American market.

“We started manufacturing in the USA last year,” explains Mr. Giancotti. “Before, our site in Delaware had only been a sales operation.” Altogether, Onda has 23,000 m2 of modern manufacturing space. Most heat exchangers are serial products, but the customers can adapt every device to their individual requirements by changing select parameters such as cooling capacity or dimension.

“It is our excellent flexibility which sets us apart from the competition,” says Mr. Giancotti. “The customer can configure his individual heat exchanger with a broad choice of technical options and auxiliary equipment. And the special heat exchangers we offer are designed completely individually, together with the customer, based on his specific needs and applications,” the Managing Director adds.

To develop customer-specific solutions, Onda is provided with its own laboratory which cooperates with recognized Italian research institutions and technical universities. “The laboratory constructs prototypes which are then tested under all working conditions to make sure they meet the highest quality requirements and all relevant industry standards,” states Mr. Giancotti.

The latest product innovation developed by the laboratory is a new, patented shell and tube heat exchanger: a hybrid film evaporator. “The hybrid film evaporator delivers higher performance and process efficiency with 40% less refrigerant and energy use,” Mr. Giancotti describes the benefits of the innovative development. “It is equipped with a new distribution system which enables perfect control of the refrigerant liquid under all working conditions, at full load and also at part load.”

Onda regularly participates in a number of industry events, such as Milan’s MCE, the leading meeting place for the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, refrigeration, and energy efficiency sectors, and Chillventa in Nuremberg, Germany, the exhibition for energy efficiency, heat pumps, and refrigeration.

The company also advertizes in various trade journals and is actively engaged in the social media. Onda is already among the world’s Top 5 suppliers of heat exchangers and wants to further expand its position in this high-tech market. “Over the last years, we have grown by 60%, and the overall market development is still very promising,” explains Mr. Giancotti. “There is a clear trend towards higher-efficiency, larger vessels, a trend which we have ideal prerequisites to meet, just as we have in the marine and military markets. Our goal is to achieve 50 million EUR in revenues within the next three years and make Onda a global household name for heat exchangers.”

In further growing its business, Onda is benefiting from its close proximity to major producers of chilling and refrigeration equipment in the area. “Another advantage is the University of Padua which is very near, too, and a reliable source of qualified engineering staff,” states Mr. Giancotti. “The only thing preventing us from advancing faster is the slow bureaucracy in Italy and Europe.”

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