The future of the automobile industry is electric, and a local company has made a breakthrough.
Instead of using an engine to power an air conditioner compressor, electric vehicles use electricity. And rethinking a traditional air conditioning system is anything but simple. But from its Wylie facility, Sanden International USA has opened North America’s first automotive air conditioning compressor assembly line for electric vehicles with mass production.
On Monday, Nov. 13, a ribbon cutting ceremony at Sanden featured the first compressor off the plant’s new assembly line. The event’s guests included Texas State Senator Angela Paxton, several councilmembers including Mayor Matthew Porter and employees from Wylie ISD and Collin College.
“We are excited to be a part of this historic moment and to support Sanden as their manufacturing line produces the very first Electric Vehicle AC compressors for the emerging U.S. EV market,” Porter said.
Established in 1943, Sanden built its first plant in Dallas in 1980 and established a business office in Detroit before building the Wylie plant in 1989. Sanden won the Deming Prize in 2006 and its Wylie facility produced its 50 millionth compressor in 2016.
Sanden’s current business is dominated by internal combustion vehicle applications. The company has long-term existing relationships with many customers in each industry segment including Ford, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen and General Motors for light vehicles, Volvo, Mack, and Peterbilt for trucks and John Deere and Cat for off-highway vehicles.
But in response to the automotive industry’s shift towards electric vehicles, Sanden invested more than $40 million globally, including $25 million in Wylie, to develop this new generation of compressor and create an assembly line locally. Sanden accomplished this goal in less than nine months with facility modifications and staff training.
“Being first to market in the U.S. is no small task but exemplifies our dedication to supporting our customers with the highest quality, most innovative, and most timely products available on the market today,” President and CEO of Sanden Mark Ulfig said, in a press release. “This achievement demonstrates the fact that Sanden delivers on its promises and is an automotive industry supplier that can be counted on to deliver the most innovative AC compressor products available in the United States. Our designs and manufacturing expertise ensure that our customers always have access to state-of-the-art AC compressors for their vehicles.”
The compressor manufacturer also plans to expand to include “AC systems and components” and an “integrated thermal management system.” Ulfig said he would like to add two more plants to Sanden’s 96-acre lot in Wylie.
Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony, Texas Senator Angela Paxton presented Ulfig with a certificate of appreciation and a flag that was flown over the State Capital.
“We are honored to have Sanden in our community and to assist them in this local expansion,” Wylie EDC Board President Melisa Whitehead said. “Investing in our local companies directly benefits our community and further demonstrates our willingness to help local businesses grow, expand, and flourish in Wylie.”