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Holy order for 50,000 evaporative coolers

The tented city is home to three million pilgrims during the Hajj

AUSTRALIA/SAUDI ARABIA: Seeley International has supplied around 50,000 Breezair evaporative coolers for Makkah pilgrims during their stay in the Mina Valley tent city, Saudi Arabia.

Mina’s tent city, situated 5km to the east of the Holy city, is a fascinating logistics exercise involving more than 100,000 tents and houses, providing accommodation for approximately three million people in over 20km2.

The enormous bulk order of Breezair units – said to be the world’s largest order for evaporative coolers – was made by the Saudi Government and Ministry of Hajj to provide state-of-the-art cooling

“Our Breezair evaporative air conditioner was found to outperform more than 200 other air conditioning brands and delivered spectacular results against a comprehensive set of criteria that included energy-efficiency, reliability, performance and low environmental impact,” revealed Seeley founder and executive chairman Frank Seeley.

“The three year tender evaluation process saw Breezair and other contenders tested on site over several months, in all conditions and seasons, including comparative tests done during a pilgrimage to assess performance under real-world conditions. The in-built safety mechanisms, economical use of water, ease of control and compact design were critical in Breezair being successfully selected,” he added.

The units are required to perform in the harsh summertime temperatures in the Mina Valley, which can easily reach more than 45°C.

Seeley International sales director, EMEA, Mr Xavier Delaigue, said being awarded the significant supply contract reflected the strength, innovation and durability of Breezair evaporative air conditioning, and provided an opportunity for Seeley International to showcase its ability to deliver on the large scale order within a very short timeframe.

The four-year air conditioner replacement plan was started in 2015 to improve accommodation for pilgrims in the Mina Valley. “Seeley International fast-tracked production and installation so the project is now well ahead of schedule and expected to be completed during 2018,” said Seeley International sales director, EMEA, Xavier Delaigue.

“The issue of energy efficiency is of great importance, and the Saudi Government and Ministry of Hajj want to proactively achieve substantial energy savings. Achieving a 35% energy savings in the Mina Valley thanks to Breezair cooling technology demonstrates advanced technology and a strong commitment to the environment,” said Salman Alsaeed, CEO of local Breezair distributor Alsaeed Trading Group.

Breezair air conditioners feature Mini-cell Chillcel pad technology recently developed by Seeley International. These evaporative cooling pads are fully manufactured in Australia and specifically designed to maximise cooling in harsh climates. The new enhanced small cell design of the revolutionary mini-cell structure is said to provide up to 25% more surface area, dramatically improving cooling efficiency.

$20m manufacturing hub

Last month, Seeley International purchased 4.7 hectares of land for a new manufacturing hub in Wodonga. 

The proposed 12,000m2 state-of-the-art manufacturing hub will include an existing warehouse on the new site, which will further improve logistics and efficiencies in the new facility. The new Wodonga manufacturing hub will use advanced technology and automation processes to produce a range of innovative and energy efficient heating and cooling products for the Australian and international markets.

Mr Seeley said work on the project, which is part-funded by a Victorian Premier’s Job and Investment Fund grant, is well under way to see the new manufacturing facility fully operational before the end of 2019. Early drafts of architectural images of the building exterior have been issued today by Seeley International and will be further refined once final council approval is provided.

The new manufacturing hub will replace the company’s dated, much smaller current facility in nearby Albury. The existing warehouse will be occupied from the 2nd quarter of this year with the factory being in full production by the end of 2019.

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