Dometic has been a leading company rv refrigerator repair in the absorption refrigeration technology for over 50 years. Since 1922 they have used sodium chromate as a corrosion inhibitor for the carbon steel cooling system in their products, including minibars, RV refrigerators and medical cold equipment.
Research on replacement alternatives has been conducted over decades, but currently there is no feasible alternative to the use of sodium chromate in absorption refrigeration. However, the research is ongoing, and a new compound called inhibitor 7 has shown promising results.
Alternative cooling technologies
Thermoelectric and compressor refrigeration are alternative cooling technologies that use electricity to heat up and cool down the refrigerant, and are Cr(VI) free. Thermoelectric cooling systems use electricity directly from the battery bank, and compressor refrigeration uses air as a refrigerant.
Several companies have offered alternative cooling options for dometic products, including Thermoelectric Refrigerators and Compressor Coolers. They can provide better performance and higher reliability than absorption systems, but they are more expensive.
Removing the use of sodium chromate would be an operational challenge, and the company could face some technical issues, such as a redesign of production equipment. For this reason, the company is aiming to phase out sodium chromate by 2029.
The economic impact of the non-use scenario is estimated to be 36,307,447 EUR from 2017 to 2029. This includes the costs of building up a factory in China for producing cooling units and establishing assembly lines, as well as the transportation cost for products from Europe to China.
The total number of jobs that will be lost by the company is 55 in Germany and Hungary. This is a relatively low number considering that the local unemployment rate is about 5% in Germany and 7.7% in Hungary, and the education level of people working at the two factories.
A large number of these jobs are blue-collar workers, which is a typical segment of the Dometic workforce. These employees are not necessarily qualified for a new position, but it is difficult to replace them and Dometic would need to find people with similar skills in the same field.
The environmental impact of the non-use scenario is estimated at 15,712 EUR to 33,724 EUR, depending on the amount of the substitute substance used and how much of it is used per year. This is lower than the impact of the continued use of sodium chromate, which is estimated to be between 15,712 and 32,347 EUR.
The social impact of the non-use scenario is estimated between 35 and 45 jobs, depending on the country in which the production takes place and whether workers have to be relocated. This is lower than the economic impacts, but it is still significant.
The company is trying to mitigate the negative social impacts of the non-use scenario, which include relocating the factories and finding new jobs for the local workers. This is important to Dometic’s social responsibility principles.