BELGIUM: Daikin Europe has begun construction of its new €140m EMEA Development Centre (EDC) in Ghent and announced further increases in heat pump production at Ostend.
Scheduled for completion in 2024, the 30,000m2 facility will house 400 engineers – a significant increase on the current 250+ staff – and bring together all heat pump heating and refrigeration R&D activity in one location.
At the same time, the company has announced additional investments in its heat pump production capacity, with another two production lines in Ostend, Belgium. Including the production line that was inaugurated last month, Daikin’s latest investment in the Ostend plant totals €23m.
The new EMEA Development Centre on the University of Ghent’s Technology Park in Zwijnaarde brings together Daikin Europe’s research centre in Ostend and satellite centres in Ghent.
The groundbreaking event today was attended by the Flemish Minister of Innovation, and the Mayor of Ghent, Daikin Europe top management, as well as representatives from industry groups.
First announced in 2020, the building was originally scheduled for completion in Q2 next year. Testing activities are still expected to commence from next year with construction now due to be completed by April 2024. It will comprise 14 office floors and a technical building. One floor of the building will be reserved for innovative start-ups and spin-offs.
The technical building will house 22 test chambers essential to Daikin’s product development and able to simulate operating effectiveness and efficiency under extreme climate conditions. Centrepiece will be a double EMC test chamber to carry out electromagnetic interference tests.
Daikin Europe claims it will be one of the very few companies in the industry in Europe to operate this scale of testing capacity in-house.
“EDC Ghent will become a global R&D hub that builds on Daikin’s own knowledge and experience, but also on the research being done right here at the University of Ghent and the innovations that come from new spin-offs and start-ups,” said Daikin Europe president Toshitaka Tsubouchi.
These latest investments are said to be part of the Japanese manufacturer’s Fusion 25 plan, which will see Daikin Europe investing €840m by 2025, creating 4,000 new jobs in Europe.