Happy Birthday!


Some 30 years ago, we brought the first A/C service unit onto the market, marking a milestone for the environmentally friendly recycling of refrigerants as well as the birth of a completely new business field for workshops. Let’s walk down the memory lane of air conditioning service units—a lot has happened since 1988.

How it all began ...

The first AC unit SECU 12

Thirty years ago, it was a novelty to find air conditioning in a car. When MAHLE—then under the BEHR brand—presented the first A/C service unit to the public in 1988 as one of the pioneers in this sector, a new business segment for vehicle workshops was born. Until then, the R12 refrigerant that was used at the time was released from the vehicle into the atmosphere using a screwdriver or another opening tool.

Because the environmental damage caused by this refrigerant was already known (ozone loss, greenhouse effect, etc.), a well-known automobile manufacturer asked Behr for the first time whether they’d like to address this problem area. And Behr was willing!

Wolfgang Schmidt and his development team at Behr Service got to work. The result was the SECU 12, a manual device with mechanical valves. The A/C service procedure consisted of several individual, manual steps.

1. Draw off the refrigerant

2. Clean the refrigerant

3. Separate the oil from the refrigerant

4. Generate a vacuum

5. Fill with refrigerant—the fill level could be read from a scale on the glass cylinder

“The first A/C service unit—used not only in workshops but also by automobile manufacturers—was a milestone for environmentally friendly recycling of refrigerants,” explains Olaf Henning, Head of the MAHLE Aftermarket business unit.

Big challenges for the workshop

A/C service units have been under continuous development ever since, which is why today—after 30 years—we can look back over the entire evolution of the equipment.

Today, around 90 percent of vehicles in Germany are equipped with an HVAC system. A/C service has consequently become much more important, and the demands on A/C service units have substantially increased, with three different refrigerants now used in vehicle HVAC systems: the newly introduced R1234yf and R744 (CO2) alongside the well-established R134a. This means that different A/C service units, tailored to the relevant refrigerant, are needed.

Another challenge for workshops is that HVAC systems are becoming more and more compact. They thus contain less refrigerant while the level of complexity of the units keeps on increasing. This means that workshops need to offer a considerably higher degree of precision for the A/C service. The main focus for current equipment development is now on connectivity, fully automated processes, and easy handling.

We therefore built the new ArcticPRO® line of A/C service units from ground up.

A solid basis for the future

The latest AC unit in 2018

In 2018, a new generation of A/C service units from MAHLE celebrates its world debut. These products are all about intuitive operation via touch screen, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with databases and other workshop systems, and new, simple, and cost-effective technology for service units. And as with all units from MAHLE Aftermarket, updates and upgrades will be seamless. Customers can rely on state-of-the-art service. You’ll find out all about the new units soon, here at MPULSE.

Interested in one of the devices or got general questions about workshop equipment from MAHLE Service Solutions?


Mail: info.de@brainbee.com
Phone: 0049 7424-982320


We regularly provide technical tips relating to the powertrain, thermal management, and mechatronics in automobiles.


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