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Lack of personnel skilled in VRF maintenance, says Hitches & Glitches

Company CEO highlights investment in training; shares air conditioning trends based on customer demand

| | Oct 3, 2018 | 2:13 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 3 October 2018: There is a gap in the market for personnel skilled at handling new models of air conditioners, said Markus Oberlin, CEO, Hitches & Glitches, a company specialising in air conditioning maintenance and installation under the Farnek Group. Oberlin said this is especially true with regard to VRF technology. “VRF is supplied by dealers like Daikin, LG, Mitsubishi, and any major problems with the units can only be repaired by their technicians,” he said. “That said, the Farnek Group has invested to become Daikin-approved technicians, so we can also fix their technology. We are also working with other brands, and partnering with them, to reduce the downtimes and system failures with regards to software-related problems.” Oberlin said, though there has not been a significant uptake in demand for maintenance of VRF technology yet, gleaning from the company’s experience, he has seen a shift in the market towards the system.

Oberlin said that the benefits of VRF, as compared to multiple units, include energy savings and lesser moving parts, as there will only be one outdoor unit to maintain, which means reduced breakdowns and call outs. While the disadvantage can be that the AC stops everywhere when switched off,” he said, “and it is quite costly to begin with, though it is worth it in the end.”

Outlining trends from customer demand, Oberlin said currently a significant portion of older commercial offices and most residential developments have traditional DX systems. “But we’re seeing a shift towards VRF as people in the United Arab Emirates are being more cautious and well informed.” he said.

Drawing a comparison between inverter and non-inverter splits, Oberlin said non-inverter splits continue to dominate, and that inverter-type splits are seen installed in specialised environments like data centers, or “where you need multiple indoor units with one outdoor unit.”

Oberlin also touched on refrigerant recovery protocols under the company. With R-22 the most common refrigerant used in traditional DX systems, Oberlin said most of the compressor replacements and major coil maintenance would require the refrigerant to be recovered, failure of which can cause serious damage to the ozone layer. “We recover the refrigerant, but not many people do,” he said. “Our maintenance practice helps in reducing the cost [incurred in the replacement of spare parts] being paid by the end user, and is also a part of our sustainability initiative.”

Oberlin said that newer investors, developers and consultants are well informed about the latest technologies and their impact on a facility’s operations. This, he said, has helped the market recognise the value of initial investment to reduce the need for maintenance throughout the asset’s lifecycle.

Providing a summary of the company’s profile of activities, Oberlin said Hitches & Glitches covers planned, reactive, corrective and emergency installation and maintenance for residential and commercial facilities. Highlighting the benefits of Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) under the company’s Annual Maintenance Contracts (AMCs), Oberlin said they advise tenants to maintain assets as per SFG20 standards, the standard maintenance specification for building engineering services, which, he said, can be incorporated into the PPM Job Plans in Computer-aided facility management (CAFM) systems, if approved. Oberlin said PPM ensures efficiency, increases asset lifespan, reduce reactive maintenance repair cost and provides cleaner and fresher air maintained inside villas or apartments, with reduced likelihood of system failures.


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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