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“Heat transfer components are a vital part of any heating, air conditioning, or refrigeration system,” said Ed French, Heatcraft president. “Heatcraft is committed to researching and finding the most advanced heat transfer solutions for both Lennox and our customers.”
As to its approach with this new division, French noted, “The whole concept behind this is the technology of the product and the process.” This includes looking at “heat transfer efficiency issues,” the capability of “manufacturing with more cost-effective methods,” and “process-oriented methods that give you reliability and control.”
The Advanced Heat Transfer Division will consist of Livernois Engineering Co., acquired by Lennox International in May 1999, and a newly formed Advanced Technology Group. Any future operations dedicated to new and expanded heat transfer technologies will also be included in the division.
The new division is “a collaborative effort,” French said. Some people will be physically part of the unit, while others will be virtual members connected via the company’s worldwide communications network. The division will also tap into other resources such as universities or consulting firms.
The initial organization will be in the range of 100 to 125 people. Employees for the new division will be based at several Lennox International locations.
Tom Booth, currently vice president, business development, for Heatcraft and a member of the Lennox International board of directors, has been chosen to lead the new division.
“We are confident that there are still major advances to be made in the field of heat transfer technology,” said French, “and this new division will focus all of its time and energy toward making those advances.”
Regarding federal initiatives to improve appliance efficiency, French believes the division “can provide a benefit not only to our company but to others.” But, he added, “Heat transfer is such a core competency of our business that we feel it’s important to invest in it even if there wasn’t a national standard.”
As far as selling new technologies to customers who may be competitors, he said, “We do make available to our customer base quite quickly the technologies that we have.” He stated that at this point, it’s “a work in progress as to how we release some of these technologies. But through time, we would make these new technologies and products available to the marketplace in some manner.”
Looking at benefits to the contractor and the end-user, French said that the new division will add value throughout the supply chain, including contractors and end-users. Advancing reliability and efficiency, he maintained, will yield tangible benefits to all.
Besides equipment, the division will also be looking at what refrigerants are being applied and making sure the company is in sync with those refrigerant trends.