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Globalisation driving demand for HVAC testing laboratories, says SKM Air Conditioning

CFO outlines company’s level of investment towards accredited HVAC; shares plans to develop Training Academy and key focus areas for R&D

| | Oct 17, 2018 | 1:16 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 17 October 2018: Following the recent opening of SKM Air Conditioning’s psychrometric testing lab, Ahmed Fahmy, Chief Financial Officer, spoke on how the growing demand for a competitive, independent and credible testing facility spurred the company to offer external testing services and highlighted SKM’s level of investment towards new facilities and R&D initiatives. “The globalisation of trade is driving the growing demand for HVAC testing laboratories,” Fahmy said, citing competitive advantage and compliance with increasingly stringent regional and international regulations as key factors affecting demand. As such, Fahmy said that investing in the expansion and upgrades of the testing lab represents the company’s clear and focused initiative to strengthen the SKM brand, efforts of which have shown a rewarding ROI.

Ahmed Fahmy, Chief Financial Officer, SKM Air Conditioning

“From my point of view, one of the most important factors driving adoption of testing laboratory services are the high, tangible and intangible, costs associated with failure in the product quality,” Fahmy said. “In addition to the escalating cost of internal product failure, before it reaches the production stage, there is also the external product failure after it reaches the customer, which can damage brand reputation, business competitiveness and [lead to] loss of shareholder value.” Fahmy said that SKM began investing in testing labs for its own products. “Following all mentioned factors, SKM Testing Lab also took an extra leap by opening its services to other prospective customers, with the aim to ease the HVAC manufacturer’s burdens and provide reliable and efficient testing facilities in the region,” he added.

Fahmy said that the SKM Testing Laboratory is an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory by Emirates International Accreditation Center (EIAC) and has a strong focus on performance testing of Package Air Conditioners, Air Cooled Packaged Chillers and Non-Ducted Air Conditioners. “It also has full capability to support requirements for testing, inspection, verification and certification services for HVAC products that require ESMA, SASO and all other international and regional certifications,” he said. “That said, we have undertaken many equipment upgrades and confirmed that our equipment is working effectively and our testing facility is set to test HVAC units as per the required standards – ESMA SASO, ASHRAE, and AHRI – accurately.”

Fahmy emphasised how the testing facility is integral to product development processes and ensures a guaranteed accuracy of data and performance. “It can also be used for witness tests to provide customers with complete peace of mind prior to installation,” he said. “The testing facility has been designed to test the performance of air conditioners underrating conditions and under customer-defined parameters. Prototype and commercial products can be evaluated under a range of conditions.”

Fahmy said that further expansions are set to be completed by the end of 2019 to add more testing functions in a new lab structure that will cover a total area of 5,000 square metres and include testing laboratories for commercial and industrial equipment, including VRF units. “The UAE Testing Lab is set to lead in testing and certification requirements in the local market and the rest of the GCC region,” he said. “With the growing demand, this will be followed by setting up similar labs in other GCC countries, starting with Saudi Arabia, then [we will] expand to other countries.”

Fahmy also underlined SKM’s R&D initiatives, describing it as the “heart that pumps past, present and future innovation”. He said, “SKM invests 3-5% of its revenue in R&D yearly, to keep its products ahead of the competition regionally and internationally.” In line with this, the company is proactive towards “developing more energy-efficient products, designed specifically for high ambient conditions and for sophisticated applications, such as, but not limited to, working with international companies to utilise solar clean renewable energy and the implementation of the same with SKM products as a target of ultra-energy efficiency levels.” Fahmy said that the company also has continuous development of products with variable speed inverter compressors to enhance the part-load efficiency levels, in addition to growing adoption of energy-recovery systems to enhance system efficiencies.

Fahmy said SKM has leveraged its experience with the region’s high ambient conditions in cultivating the expertise of its engineers and technicians. “This is an essential aspect for us, as we believe in the investment in our people’s talent,” he said. “With the right talents, we certainly increase our market value and therefore get closer to our customers.” In line with this, Fahmy said, SKM is also establishing a Training Academy that will offer theoretical and practical training sessions. “The Training Academy aims to act as a foundation for those with some basic understanding of HVACR methodologies, processes and activities,” he said. “Students will also have the opportunity to use the latest industry technology and tools to develop a better understanding of real-world and theoretical applications in HVACR.” The academy, he added, can also help develop bespoke training programmes for organisations with specific requirements.

“We owe all this success and growth plans coming to life to the UAE government’s support, our major shareholder and MD Mubarak Al Besharah, the grandson of the founder, the late Mubarak Al Hasawi and, of course, all our customers and partners.” With such projects on the horizon, Fahmy stressed that the “sky is the limit for us when it comes to quality, innovation and customer satisfaction”.


Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com

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