About

All members are experienced entrepreneurs and engineers with a profound background in the industry.

Frank
Obrist

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Frank Obrist worked together with Prof. Peter Kuhn on various occasions and acted as chief engineer at the “Wankel Labs” (TES Lindau, Germany). Frank Obrist the founder of Obrist Engineering in 1996 and Executive President devoted his professional career to the design to the advanced machenery.

Frank
Wolf

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Frank Wolf started his career as engineer with international automotive supplier groups in France, Japan, Spain and the USA. In 2002 Frank Wolf joined Obrist Engineering as General Manager and Partner. Since then he has grown together with Frank Obrist the business and has developed the global client and partner network of Obrist Engineering. Frank Wolf is CEO of Obrist Engineering.

Willi
Sonderegger

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Willi has been working in the automotive industry and has a strong background in the area of management consulting. Further on he has founded his own company in the automotive sector. He managed and headed the company sucessfully for many years. After this exit Willi has become remarkable investor in different companies especially in the field of Green Tech. He has invested in several operations in Europe.

Christian
Schmälzle

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Dipl.-Ing. Christian Schmälzle acts as COO of Obrist Engineering. As an employee of Prof. Peter Kuhn at the University of Karlsruhe he joined OE in 1999 being responsible for R744 R&D and validation processes. He was leading several development projects in the field of R744 components and systems as well as devolopments in the field of exhaust heat recovery.

Obrist Engineering

Obrist Engineering is an Austrian technology company specialized in emission avoidance and reduction technologies and in thermal management solutions. 

The company was founded by Frank Obrist as a technology-driven engineering services business in 1996. Obrist Engineering’s technologies are applied in various industrial, commercial and automotive applications. 

Obrist Engineering deploys a fabless business model and is marketing its technology and product licenses globally toward leading industrial corporations and the automotive industry. 

The company is privately held by its founder Frank Obrist, by the CEO Frank Wolf and by the WISS AG. The company’s engineering center is located in Lustenau, Austria – just in the center of the Allemannic quadrangle formed by the states Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany adjacent to the international Lake Constance.

The foundation of OBRIST Engineering GmbH in 1996 marked a milestone in a continuing success story which began with Frank Obrist’s early career as a senior design engineer at TES Wankel ("Technical Development Centre" of the late Dr Felix Wankel) located in Lindau on the shores of Lake Constance.

 Frank Wolf joined as shareholder in 2002, being responsible for Sales, Marketing and Purchasing. Before joining OBRIST, he had worked for major automotive systems suppliers in Europe, Japan and the US.


During the last years Obrist Engineering extended its technological lead in mobile applications based on the natural refrigerant R744. With its stronghold in the automotive industry the growth of Obrist Engineering is accelerated by the recent decisions of leading automotive manufacturers to shift towards environmentally friendly R744-based a/c systems. 

The Company

  • History

    In its early days, OBRIST Engineering had a focus on the development of fuel cell technology for vehicles and on R744 compressors for stationary and mobile applications. Obrist Engineering was among the pioneers regarding the transfer of the natural refrigerant R744 into mobile applications. The first R744-based compressors for mobile a/c systems (MAC) were developed and designed by Obrist Engineering. The first vehicles on the road with R744-based a/c systems on board were built up and tested by Obrist Engineering. 

These technological breakthroughs and the track record of the business were honoured in 2000 and in 2001 when Obrist Engineering was granted the Innovation Award of the Austrian province Vorarlberg and the Austrian State Award. 

    Starting in 2002 Obrist Engineering started to establish co-operation agreements in the US, China, Japan and Korea aimed at promoting Obrist’s compressor technologies. 

In 2007 Obrist Engineering accelerated the roll-out of R744-based systems in Europe. 

In 2009 OBRIST Technologies Inc. was founded in California to provide engineering services to Obrist’s American clients on the West Coast and in Michigan.

    In 2011 Obrist Powertrain was founded in Austria. This affiliate business focuses on the development of the HyperHybrid technologies. 
  • Quality and Safety

    For us product quality and safety is not just about ensuring universal compliance with the international QS 9001 standards, but about making quality happen and about achieving environmental, health and safety (EHS) excellence and about defining test procedures for compressors, expanders and heat pumps under the most severe conditions. It is about investing into fail-safe designs as well as fail-secure designs during the development, about extended testing of the components and about deploying efficient quality management tools. Obrist Engineering operates various test stands for compressors, expanders, heat pumps and other system components. Obrist’s test stands have set the standards for certain applications, so that other industry participants have purchased their testing equipment at Obrist. A strict policy is defined regarding co-operations with external testing services providers. Only service providers compliant with the highest quality standards are awarded business by us.
  • Our Global Footprint

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  • What we do

    Obrist Engineering has emerged as the technology leader for R744-based a/c systems.

    Obrist Engineering develops compressors, scroll expanders and heat pumps that define global benchmarks in terms of energy-efficiency, sustainability, cost-efficiency and usability.

    During the last decade Obrist Engineering has expanded its competencies to other thermodynamic processes next to the air-conditioning process.

    Its thermodynamic competencies include the following areas - Air-conditioning and cooling process - Organic Rankine cycle - Heat pump process - Thermal management of electric drives, batteries, combustion engines and vehicle cabins.

    Next to passenger car applications Obrist Engineering has transferred its thermodynamic competencies to other applications areas as well.

    Global industrial corporations and leading component suppliers are co-operating with the engineering team of Obrist Engineering comprising more than 25 engineers and technicians.

  • Patents

    The R744-related expertise and the design skills of Obrist Engineering have led to a number of innovations in stationary and mobile applications and various improvements with respect to energy and cost efficiency as well.

    Backed by Obrist Engineering its business clients succeeded with a number of innovations in their respective markets during the last years.

    These innovations include the first R744-based vending machines for soft drinks, combined R744-based a/c-heat pump systems for commercial buildings, R744-based transport cooling and supermarket refrigeration systems with minimal operating costs.

    Obrist Engineering has been awarded key patents for its technology and designs, the patent applications have been filed internationally and in most instances with specific countries in the regions of North America, Europe and Asia.

    The international patents of Obrist are licensed to selected partners and are industrialized globally.
  • HyperHybrid

    Obrist Engineering is one of the few technology companies being able to provide thermal management-related engineering services for electrified vehicles and technologies to the automotive industry. Both industry pioneers Tesla Motors and Fisker Automotive worked with Obrist Engineering regarding the thermal management of battery electric vehicles and of plug-in hybrids. 

During the last two decades the executive engineers of Obrist Powertrain have gained extensive experience and profound competencies in the field of thermal management and design of power-train components. Obrist Powertrain develops components for all categories of electrified vehicles. Its range of components include cost-efficient Lithium-ion batteries, battery management systems and cooling systems as well as ultra-compact generator-integrated engines (HICE) and range extenders. In addition to the component technologies Obrist Powertrain provides its clients with an open control system and an integration platform – the HyperHybrid. 

HyperHybrid – the series plug-in hybrid system by Obrist Powertrain– features the advantages of an electric power-train without any compromise on range or road capabilities. Due to its structural modularity, compact dimensions and low weight HyperHybrid system is applicable to all vehicle lines and categories. 

Furthermore Obrist Engineering was able to leverage its expertise in thermal management of vehicles significantly. With the rise of electrified vehicles it became obvious that an improved thermal management of the vehicle’s key components is mandatory to achieve the intended road capabilities and energy efficiency levels. In contrast to conventional – combustion engine-based – propulsion systems electrified vehicles, namely the hybrid-electric vehicles and the battery electric vehicles, do require an integrated thermal management of the batteries, the generator, the engines and the vehicle cabin.

    The growing demand of international OEM with respect to technologies for electrified vehicles has led to the foundation of OBRIST Powertrain in 2011. Its fast growing affiliate OBRIST Powertrain was carved out and comprises all power-train and battery related technologies, patents and competencies of Obrist Engineering.