Israel’s Hanita Coatings has been contracted by Whirlpool to provide the insulation for their refrigerators.
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Appliance manufacturers are looking for more ways to make their products eco friendly and use less electricity by cutting down on their energy needs. This is in part to meet the demands of consumers who wish to cut their electric bills and of environmentalists who want decreases in energy consumption. Refrigerators are one appliance which waste energy when not fully insulated as more electricity is expended to keep the contents cold.
With funding from the BIRD Foundation, (Binational Industrial Research and Development) Hanita has entered into a joint venture with the American appliance giant Whirlpool Corporation to develop a new generation of highly energy-efficient refrigerator insulation, based on vacuum insulation panel (VIP) technology.
Founded in 1983 and located at Kibbutz Hanita in Israel’s western Galilee, Hanita Coatings is a private company owned by the kibbutz and Tene Investments and employs 180 people, some of whom are members of the kibutz and as such are part owners of the company. It specializes in the development and conversion of coated, laminated and metalized films for a range of industrial and commercial applications, including insulation.
Hanita Coatings develops and markets polyester-based filmic products which traditionally service the label and print industry, the appliance market and the field of glass security. Hanita’s engineered films are also increasingly supporting the clean tech sector.
Whirlpool will utilize Hanita’s Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) which are a highly efficient advanced thermal insulation technology up to 8 times more effective than conventional insulation. VIPs are used to enhance the performance of refrigerators; to form insulation containers for transportation; and to insulate buildings.
The lifetime and performance of the VIP depend on the barrier properties of the laminate used for the VIP membrane/envelope. Hanita VIP laminates provide the most effective solution for VIP insulation available on the market today.
In a statement Hanita’s CEO Oved Shapira said “We’re convinced that this collaboration will provide an efficient and cost effective way to reduce appliance energy consumption. The BIRD Foundation has provided Hanita with an exceptional opportunity to develop insulation solutions hand in hand with the leading player in a global market.”
The “binational” part of the Bird Foundation’s name comes from the two countries, Israel and America. It was founded in 1977 to promote industrial research and development cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.
BIRD works with Israeli and American companies in various areas of technology and provides free assistance in locating strategic partners from both countries for developing joint products.
They cover up to 50% of a project’s development and product commercialization costs and work in the areas of communications, life sciences, electronics, electro-optics, software, homeland security, renewable and alternative energy and other sectors of hi-tech industry.
BIRD supports approximately 20 projects annually. The cumulative sales of products developed through BIRD projects have exceeded $8 billion and has invested over 800 projects with leading companies in the U.S., including, General Dynamics, General Electric and the American Red Cross, to name just a few.
It aids projects without receiving any rights in the participating companies or in the projects themselves. The financial assistance is repaid as royalties from sales.
Whirlpool is a Fortune 500 company with an annual revenue stream of approximately $19 billion and is the world’s leading manufacturer of appliances. Its products include Maytag, Kitchen Aid, Amana and Jenn-Air.