SPAL’s high-voltage fans and coolant pumps transforming buses

SPAL Automotive, headquartered in Italy with a manufacturing plant in Correggio, is a prominent player in the production of fans and blowers. Ninan Philip, Director (Sales & Marketing) at SPAL Automotive Technolgy India Pvt. Ltd, provides insights into the company’s extensive product portfolio and its evolution.

We began our journey with brush-type fans and blowers. Over the years, our plant in Correggio has shifted its focus to manufacturing more brushless fans than brush-type, aligning with the growing demand for brushless technology due to its power-saving and noise reduction attributes,” states Philip.

Highlighting the significance of Brushless DC (BLDC) technology, Philip notes, “In the context of electric buses, managing power consumption is a critical challenge. BLDC fans address this challenge effectively by consuming less power, aligning with the imperative of efficient battery usage.

The diverse product range includes BLDC fans ranging from 4 to 16 inches, catering to a wide array of applications. “We have recently introduced a high voltage fan capable of operating on 800 or 600 volts. This innovation aims to eliminate the need for a DC-DC converter, providing cost savings and enabling a direct connection to the battery output,” explains Philip.

Discussing the latest additions to their product lineup, Philip mentions, “In addition to our fan offerings, we have introduced a high-power coolant pump—a crucial component for electric vehicles. With high-power coolant pumps, we offer a solution that can replace multiple pumps, simplifying the design and enhancing overall efficiency.

Addressing the evolving landscape of the Indian market, Philip points out the discernible shift from traditional brush-type fans to brushless. “While brush-type fans provide a cost advantage, we advocate for brushless technology for its trouble-free operation and extended lifespan. Our hybrid fan, assembled locally with an imported motor, offers a balanced solution,” he adds.

SPAL’s remarkable success in the electric bus market in India is evident, with over 95% market share in brushless fans. “Even industry player is now opting for our brush fans, replacing imported Chinese alternatives for superior lifespan and warranty,” says Philip.

Looking forward, SPAL is actively engaged in technological advancements. Philip reveals, “We are currently working on 48 volts technology to meet the evolving needs of electric OEMs, with a focus on reducing power consumption.

Philip emphasizes SPAL’s commitment to research and development in Italy, serving as the primary hub for innovation. “Our second plant in China, with a capacity of 2 million, complements our manufacturing capabilities. In India, we produce locally, contributing to our overall capacity of 0.7 million fans and blowers. Additionally, we continue to import from Italy to meet the burgeoning demand,” he states.

Touching upon future prospects, Philip delves into the realm of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. “The emergence of hydrogen electric buses presents a new opportunity for SPAL. Given their increased cooling requirements, our high-power fans play a pivotal role in ensuring optimal performance and safety,” he affirms.