Subscribing to our award-winning Hub enables readers to receive regular emails with the top articles most likely to interest them

After a visit to Italy, editor of PfM, Dennis Flower looks at Climaveneta

Improved service delivery has been the driving force of the FM sector in many areas for a number of years and this can be seen to be a common denominator with the Mitsubishi Electric business ethos that is continuing to evolve following the recent opening of a new European manufacturing and testing facility.

Another area of commonality is that this was established following the acquisition of the Climaventa business, manufacturer of chillers and cooling products and provider of a range of associated services.

Many readers will appreciate the requirements involved when two well-established companies merge, but the latest developments indicate that this has been successfully completed and now provides expanding areas of opportunity.

Testing facilities

Following the launch of the Mitsubishi Electric Hydronic & IT Systems (MEHITS) division in January 2017, this was followed by the opening of the Belluno facility at the start of this year, and which now complements additional manufacturing, training and testing facilities in the northern Italy region. It has three main areas of concentration covering the supply of comfort, IT cooling and process applications.

As a result, the business is ideally placed to offer a range of chillers, air handling units (AHUs), air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured in specialist factories to the demanding standards of the company and further supported by state-of-the-art testing options.

It operates on a direct-to-market model that avoids the need for external distributors while providing full control of all aspects of the sales process.

Not only does this result in improving the level of feedback received from its clients, the company also finds this method to be a valuable contributor to improving products.

New opportunities

According to MEHITS sales and marketing general sales manager Mauro Montello the ongoing developments are additionally designed to provide the business with significant new opportunities: “Although we are a leading provider of air conditioning products, with a large product range that includes everything from air handling units (AHUs) to chillers of all sizes, this only gives us 50% coverage of the HVAC market.

“So using all our experience and skills we’re now aiming to cover all the HVAC market by 2020,” he says. This can be seen as further evidence of the successful merging of the Climaventa and Mitsubishi Electric business cultures, operations and expertise.

Mr Montello described this as a three-year process that many FMs and service providers will be familiar with.

Having devoted a realistic amount of time to the exercise, FM customers will no doubt take comfort in the recognition that this was not rushed through in order to drive sales as quickly as possible.

F-Gas regulations

Another major consideration for the MEHITS business has been the F Gas regulations and their continuing focus on reducing the use of refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP). In order to assist its customers with complying with the current and future requirements of the regulations, they are now offered a choice of options when ordering their air conditioning equipment.

“We know we need to help our customers prepare for the future, so they can now choose from three main options of refrigerants,” Mr Montello continues. “There are the low GWP refrigerants of XP10 and HFO, which allow them to be ahead of the F Gas requirements as they continue to reduce.

“Then there is the R32 refrigerant, which can be used in a wide range of air conditioning products, and the third option is the HVRF, which is a hybrid refrigerant,” he says.

While conducting a tour of the recently-opened Belluno factory, Mr Montello further explains that all units are manufactured on a bespoke basis to match the needs of each client. Customers are accordingly assured of receiving the equipment that matches their individual needs due to the company’s ability to assemble units of up to 5Mb capacity.

Testing performance

Prior to being shipped for delivery, customers can also choose to have their products tested to gauge their performance, which can additionally be seen to have benefited the company by allowing it to collect unique, in-depth data that then allows MEHITS to support its reporting on performance levels.

Each of the seven manufacturing facilities in northern Italy are additionally able to provide both theoretical and practical training in the operation and maintenance for the products created on site. Offered to customers and staff alike, the training facilities are designed so that all new starters are trained to the Mitsubishi quality standards.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the combining of the Mitsubishi Electric and Climaventa businesses has also resulted in the launch of new products. One of the best illustrations of this is the new Climaventa Wizard AHU that combines the use of Mr Slim Power Inverter heat pump technology, which has continued to benefit from investment from Mitsubishi Electric since its launch in the mid 1980s.

The fact that 5% of the company’s revenues are reinvested in its comprehensive research and development programme provides reassurance that additional new products will continue to be announced at regular intervals in the future. With patents pending on the company’s latest new developments, more announcements can be expected in the months ahead.

Having made the necessary effort and the required level of commitment to merge the cultures and expertise of the Mitsubishi Electric and Climaventa organisations, the MEHITS operation now seems well placed to continue to support its clients with high performance, energy-efficient technology to meet their air conditioning needs in the short term.

When it achieves its aims of expanding its range of products further next year, it will then be ideally placed to extend this to cover all HVAC requirements for many years to come.

Dennis Flower is editor of Premises & Facilities Management magazine