JAPAN: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is expanding production at its joint venture air conditioning factories in Thailand.

The $26m investment will include the expansion of its two existing factories in Ladkrabang Industrial Estate in the suburbs of Bangkok, and the construction of a third factory.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries-Mahajak Air Conditioners (MACO) was established in 1988 with the local firm Mahajak Industry Co to manufacture household and commercial-use air conditioning systems.

MHI says the aim of the expansion is to allow for a flexible response to the rising global demand for comfort air conditioning, as well as growing robust demand and market needs for household and commercial air conditioners, mainly in Asia.

The new facilities are scheduled to begin operations in early 2018, with an expected 30% increase in production volume to 2.7 million units by 2020.

The current plants manufactures components and assembles domestic and commercial air conditioners. The new third factory will manufacture plastic and sheet metal parts. Construction is scheduled to start in the first half of this year.