Euroheat: development continues

Posted in: News- Jul 17, 2017

Belgrade-Kragujevac, July 13, 2017 – When you google “plate heat exchangers” in Serbian, Euroheat, a company from Central Serbia, is your top result. It is also one the first ten innovative companies which received financial support of the Innovation Fund within the Mini Grants Program, in 2012.

This program was realized through the Innovation Serbia Project (ISP) which was financed with EUR 8.4 million by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA 2011). It was implemented by the Innovation Fund and administered by the World Bank in the period 2011-2016.

Euroheats’s plate heat exchangers save space while boosting efficacy

Euroheat is located in the heart of the industrial zone on the outskirts of the city of Kragujevac. Neat offices on the top floor overlook the plant. “Our entire production is here. We are 26 now. Several people needed to be hired for the project we did with the Fund and they stayed on. We are all technical professionals,” says Dragoslav Petković, the owner of the company.

Euroheat applied for the Mini Grants Program through the Innovation Fund in order to get the financing for the development of plate heat exchangers. Petković explains: “We needed funds for product development. The new panel exchangers, which were a relatively new technology in the world, were our priority. There were very few producers of such exchangers, especially in Europe“.

The new technology included saving space, and thus plate exchangers were created. The old pipe exchangers could endure very high pressure and temperature, but they were too expensive and bulky. The plate exchangers, on the other hand, saved space and performed greatly in terms of energy exchange, but could not endure high pressure and temperatures.

The innovative quality of Euroheat came to the fore: the new exchangers they developed combined all the advantages of the two types of exchangers – they could take very high pressure and heat, saved space and cost a lot cheaper. Their volume is six times smaller, while their effectiveness is enormous.

The company participated with EUR 20 000 of its own funds, and the rest was provided by the Fund. When the first lot of new panels was launched, the demand soared.

Euroheat owner Petković: We are growing.

“It has been several years since our cooperation with the Fund. In the meantime, we continued to develop our initial product. The panels we make today are 30 times larger than the original one. But all this is based on the initial idea, supported by the Fund, which was clearly full of potential”, says Petković.

In its work, Euroheat relies on cooperation with the R&D sector. They have their own engineering staff, but for some aspects of the work science need to be consulted. They mostly cooperate with the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Niš or Kragujevac. “We have excellent cooperation with them. Whenever a new product is involved, any new development, the private sector naturally gravitates towards the academia for cooperation”, Petković adds.

The development continues. Euroheat has also produced new plate and shell exchangers, with up to 95% efficacy. They are typically used wherever there is need for heat exchange between two fluids – in large heating and cooling systems.

Russians are the main client. “Once a month we receive Russian delegations, they are very interested in our products because they have application in the oil industry, above all. The Russians are demanding customers, and we have been able to keep them happy – something we are very proud of”, Petković says.

The Russian’s favorite: Euroheat’s plate and shell exchanger

He describes the experience with the Fund, the first that this company had with donors, as highly positive in every respect. The financial support that came from the Fund was just one of the benefits. Petković believes that his team benefited a lot from the well-intentioned and constructive suggestions the Fund’s staff made during the project.

“We were fortunate to have worked with such people. Professional, polite,” adds Uroš Pavlović, mechanical engineer and designer at Euroheat. “Procedures, reporting, paperwork… it sometimes proved hard to keep pace since we had no experience with project writing before, and we could fully rely on the Fund’s assistance. If there is one thing that technical people hate, then it is writing,” says Uroš.

To him, the training the companies received was also very useful. “The curriculum was well designed, the concept is excellent. We heard many interesting and useful things, including on IP protection and patenting, and potential sources of financing. We found it to be very relevant,” says Pavlović.

Pavlović: We were lucky to work with the Fund’s team.

The second Euroheat grant ensued in 2014 for the development of flow meters. Although it had enabled the company to take one more step ahead, this amount was not sufficient to complete the production.

“We have continued to tie all the loose ends now using our own money. Developing this new product takes time. We have outgrown these premises, and hope to move to the adjacent plot. We are growing”, a radiant Petković concludes.