Something that became apparent during this year’s AHR Expo was that the next generation of HVAC equipment is smarter, more connected and more cloud-enabled than ever before. This was clearly on display in the product announcements and news at the Expo, which brought much of the HVAC and industrial/commercial equipment communities together in Atlanta to discuss and demonstrate the cutting-edge innovations that are driving their industry forward.
Who benefits from this smarter, more connected HVAC equipment? The end users, certainly.
Today’s advanced HVAC solutions utilize advanced sensor technology that analyzes factors such as room occupancy to increase efficiency. These solutions can eliminate waste by spending less energy and resources cooling and heating rooms that are unoccupied. They can also enable remote monitoring and management of HVAC solutions – in addition to lighting systems, safety systems and other essential systems – from centralized, user- and mobile-friendly portals.
But the benefits of making smarter, more connected devices don’t end at the user. There are benefits to the OEM, as well. To learn more about how these trends are reshaping the HVAC industry, we spoke with Michelle Robb, the Director of Marketing at Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US.
Here is what she had to say:
Modern Equipment Manufacturer (MEM): Can you tell our readers a little bit about Mitsubishi Electric Trane’s products? Where and in what kinds of buildings will you find the company’s solutions in use?
Michelle Robb: Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US (METUS) offers an array of high-quality, energy-efficient HVAC systems for residential and commercial use. We have a system solution for any home, any building, any size, anywhere.
Specialized product lines for residential, light commercial and large commercial applications allow HVAC contractors to provide the most effective, appropriate and efficient system for any application – including schools, office spaces, churches, banks, hotels as well as homes.
MEM: Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US came together in a rather interesting way – a joint venture between two companies. Can you tell our readers a little bit about how the company was founded, and why these two organizations chose to work together?
Michelle Robb: Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US came about through a joint venture agreement between Ingersoll Rand and the division formerly known as Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating.
We recognized the incredible benefits that would be gained with this agreement, including the ability to bring Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems and split-ductless technologies to more customers through expanded distribution channels.
Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating first entered the U.S. market in 1980 and is recognized as the industry leader in VRF and split-ductless and ducted technology.
MEM: The HVAC and industrial/commercial equipment communities recently descended upon Atlanta for the AHR Expo. What did you think were the big technology trends at this year’s conference?
Michelle Robb: We noticed a lot of companies, Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US included, want to emphasize their systems’ performance capabilities in extreme conditions. Our Hyper-Heating INVERTER technology allows our M- and P-Series systems to perform at 100 percent capacity at five degrees Fahrenheit and CITY MULTI down to minus four degrees Fahrenheit. Several other HVAC companies are striving to reach the same results.
We also saw a trend of smaller footprints, especially for rooftop units, as usable rooftop space has become more in-demand among architects, building owners and facility managers. METUS responded to this demand with a new N-Gen CITY MULTI outdoor unit that has a 30 percent smaller footprint than previous models.
We’ve also responded to the trend of customers wanting more control options. There is a strong desire among facility managers to have operational controls — including HVAC, lighting, carbon monoxide detectors and more — accessible in one central, user-friendly access point.
Homeowners want comfort control at their fingertips. Through our Diamond Controls Solutions and kumo cloud mobile app for facility managers and homeowners, respectively, we are able to offer advanced control opportunities to address these customer needs.
MEM: What exciting news or announcements did Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US have to share at the Expo?
Michelle Robb: Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US introduced the new CITY MULTI N-Generation outdoor unit at AHR Expo. The unit has a 30 percent smaller footprint than its previous generation and offers more design flexibility due to improvements in vertical piping limits. The unit delivers increased heating capacity with a four-sided heat exchanger. The combination of the unit’s advanced heat exchanger, compressor and fan design improve nominal and seasonal efficiency levels by up to 27 percent over previous generations.
We also introduced several new residential products, including a 16 SEER heat pump, a 115-volt heat pump and a universal outdoor unit that really round out our residential product offerings.
MEM: We’ve increasingly seen a movement towards smarter industrial and commercial equipment. Is this a trend that Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US is embracing? How is the company embracing IoT and advanced sensors to make its equipment smarter?
Michelle Robb: Smart controls with built-in sensors are changing the efficiency game. The 3D i-see Sensor from Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US, for example, continuously scans a room for occupancy, reading the space’s thermal profile and can be programmed to automatically turn the HVAC system on and off or adjust the temperature based on occupancy. This results in reduced energy waste that comes from conditioning an unoccupied room, therefore providing cost savings to homeowners and facility managers.
MEM: With all of the news and innovations coming out of the AHR Conference – what does the future of equipment development, equipment ownership, equipment maintenance and equipment operation look like? How will these things evolve as new technologies develop and are implemented?
Michelle Robb: METUS continues to innovate and strive to bring new products to market. We are always looking to improve existing products and develop the next generation of systems. As a leader, the industry looks to us for innovation. In order to maintain impeccable customer service, we have to focus equally on innovation and training for the technology that we offer.
We place a lot of emphasis on training – both internally for our staff, and for our HVAC contractors who represent Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US across the country. It’s important to us that our employees, distributors and HVAC contractors understand the products that we sell, including any equipment updates and developments and how the equipment is properly installed and maintained.
We offer a variety of tech-tips tutorial videos on our online training portal and provide in-person training courses through certified distributor networks across the country and at our headquarters in Suwanee, Georgia. New innovations mean an influx of new information, so ongoing training is necessary as we work toward our ultimate goal of providing the best in comfort, efficiency and quality.
To learn more about Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US and their range of Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems and split-ductless technologies, click here.
For additional information about how cloud-enabling equipment can generate benefits and increase revenue for equipment manufacturers, click HERE to download a complimentary copy of the ABI Research report, “Equipment Manufacturers Turn Cloud Connectivity into Competitive Advantage.”