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Panasonic backs drive to link AC and air quality

JAPAN: Panasonic is to invest JPY100bn ($867m) in its air conditioning and air quality business over the next five years, according to reports from Japan.

Speaking at the launch of its first commercial HVAC equipment to incorporate ventilation, sterilisation, deodorisation, and humidification functions, the Nikkei Asia reports that Panasonic is seeking to capitalise on growing interest in AC systems fuelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Osaka-based company projecting HVAC sales of JPY1 trillion ($8.7bn) in fiscal 2025 – a 40% increase from fiscal 2021 – Panasonic says it will add research and testing facilities to factories in Malaysia and the Japanese city of Kusatsu during fiscal 2022. Capacity upgrades are planned for HVAC equipment factories in Vietnam and China during fiscal 2023, the Nikkei reports.

Panasonic also plans upgrade its residential air-to-water heat pump factory in Pilsen, Czech Republic, that it established in 2018, looking to expand sales in Europe.

Under a new slogan “Vitalize the future with air”, a new organisational structure will see the establishment of a new division, Heating & Ventilation A/C Company. This will be formed by amalgamating its Heating and Cooling Solutions Business Division, that runs the air conditioning business, with Panasonic Ecology Systems Co Ltd, the division responsible for the air quality business including ventilation/air purification equipment.

Integration

The new direction is mirrored in the release on April 1 in Japan of a commercial air quality air conditioning system that integrates air conditioning, ventilation, humidification and sterilisation functions. 

The system links the temperature control function of the air conditioner, the ventilation function of a heat exchange air fan, and the sterilisation, deodorisation, and humidification functions of Panasonic’s Ziaino and nanoe X technology. 

The Ziaino sterilises and deodorises bacteria and odours in the air, using hypochlorous acid generated inside the unit. In addition, the nanoe X suppresses PM2.5 and pollen, and also suppresses the growth of mould bacteria inside the air conditioning indoor unit. In addition, it is equipped with an electrostatic HEPA filter that circulates indoor air and collects dust.

The ventilation volume is controlled via a heat exchange air fan, according to the CO2 concentration. 

Said to achieve the industry’s top class year-round energy consumption efficiency, the system is equipped with a comfortable energy-saving operation function based on humidity. Panasonic’s “centrifugal crushing humidification technology” finely controls the amount of humidification required to humidify the dry air in winter so that the sensible temperature feels warm even if the set temperature is lowered. This can reduce energy consumption by up to 52%, says Panasonic.

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