Look Mom, No Ducts! Manufacturers Expand Markets

January 30, 2002
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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Many ductless cooling manufacturers in the U.S. will tell you that ductless systems are still seen as a niche market and as an application reserved for only unique situations where a regular system will not do.

But several ductless cooling companies were on hand at the 2002 International Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), not only to display the latest developments in the technology, but to show attendees how ductless is set to become a major heating and cooling alternative.

EMI featured its new CNR Corner-Mounted Air Handler at the AHR Expo. The design allows contractors the opportunity to place the system in a corner of a room.

THE DUCTLESS MARKET

EMI (Rome, NY) manufactures a variety of ductless split systems. According to Sam Vivirito, national sales manager for ductless products, the company’s main focus is on the light commercial market.

Vivirito says that ductless systems are ideal in office settings and high-rise buildings. He says that the systems can heat or cool a particular office or space, instead of an entire floor or an entire building.

At the expo, the manufacturer showcased its new ductless model, the CNR Corner-Mounted Air Handler, which fits directly in the corner of a room, utilizing wall space that usually is not used. The unit can be used with EMI’s single-zone condensing unit (SCC/ SHC) or either of the multizone outdoor units (MC2/MH2 or MC4/MH4).

Fujitsu General America (Fairfield, NJ), meanwhile, is looking to establish itself in the commercial market. Bruce Hazen, associate vice president, detailed some of the new developments the company will be making on its ductless products.

The company will be releasing a cassette-type heat pump. The application allows for the system to be built into a ceiling so that it is out of view, unlike other systems that hang entirely on a wall or ceiling. Fujitsu also will be releasing a new tri-zone system in the coming months.

PRACTICAL BENEFITS

Sanyo Air Conditioning (Chatsworth, CA) displayed its Dual-Zone residential heat pump, which can control the heating and cooling in two separate rooms. The company says the system is “whisper quiet” and comes with a remote control for each wall unit.

On the commercial side is the Eco-Multi system, which the company says makes it possible to connect a series of multiple indoor evaporator units with a capacity of up to 135% of the outdoor condensing unit’s maximum capacity.

The system also uses a standard compressor and newly developed, dual-cylinder power control compressor. The twin-compressor design provides the advantage to respond to requirements in capacity by modulating the output of the compressor, realizing an eight-step compressor capacity control. Operating capacity of the power control compressor can be stepped incrementally using a 16-bit microprocessor.

Sanyo also introduced its “Concealed-Duct Type” evaporator, which can be used with 2- and 3-ton standalone heat pump systems, as well as the Eco-Multi.

Samsung Air Conditioning (Whittier, CA) says it will be releasing a new multi-system this year. The Digital Variable Multi (DVM) system air conditioner is operated by a variable-capacity compressor and is accommodated by multiple indoor units. Its applications will include offices, hotels, schools, and other commercial facilities.

According to John Miles, director of technical support, the DVM will allow for 16 indoor units to run off one outdoor unit. Indoor units include a “1 Way” cassette (single flow), “4 Way” cassette (multi flow), ceiling type, duct, and floor standing type.

The manufacturer says that one outdoor unit is directly connected to several indoor units and there is no need of cooling-heating the working fluid with an additional refrigerant and boiler. Also, the zone control of the several indoor systems allows for energy savings.

GAS ENGINE HEAT PUMP

Mitsubishi Climate Control (MCC) (Rancho Dominguez, CA) introduced the natural gas-engine-driven heat pump (GHP) and a multi-indoor-unit climate control system.

According to MCC, the GHP has been in operation in overseas markets since 1995. In October of 2001, the manufacturer received ETL Testing Laboratories’ certification and has launched the system in the California-Arizona-Nevada markets.

The system uses natural gas or propane to provide the zone control from individual air handlers. According to MCC, this causes a reduction in peak electric demand. The units are available in single- or three-phase designs, with 11- and 15-ton capacity. Low-profile, ceiling-recessed, and ducted air handlers are available in 1- and 4-ton capacities. The company offers product training for contractors and engineers on application, installation, start-up, and service.

Other highlights include self-diagnostics and constant airflow volume for better temperature distribution. Accord-ing to the company, up to 20 indoor units can be connected to one outdoor unit.

Mitsubishi has also developed its Inverter KX, an inverter-driven multi-indoor-unit climate control system. This commercial air conditioner uses an inverter-driven scroll compressor and microcomputer-controlled operation. The Inverter KX has self-diagnostics, and the outdoor unit can be connected to 16 indoor units in a combination of capacities and types.

Publication date: 02/04/2002

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