DUBAI, UAE, 1 June 2022: Midea launched the VRF V8 series as a major global initiative, citing Dubai as the best place to demonstrate the toughness and reliability of the system in facing up to sandy and dusty conditions and to high relative humidity and high temperatures. It said the V8 can work in temperatures ranging from 55 degrees C to minus 30 degrees C, making it ideal for operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, characterised by high temperatures, including higher ground temperatures.
Henry Cheng, General Manager, Midea Building Technologies, said the V8, which will go into production this month, is about reliability. “We want the product to be more reliable, so there is no need to repair it or spend that much time on maintenance,” he said. He spoke of the V8 having innovative features, including its shield box, which protects the incorporated printer circuit board (PCB) from getting affected by the outside environment, including sand, dust and moisture. “Water will damage the PCB, if it touches,” he said. “The PCB is in an isolated space, and no water will touch it. So, it can work safely for a longer time.”
Speaking on the other features, Cheng highlighted the V8’s hyperlink approach to connecting the wires. Elaborating on how in the past, installers had to connect the wires in series, he highlighted the inherent disadvantage of that approach, where if one unit stopped working, the entire system would stop working. The V8, he said, allows for the wires to be connected with greater flexibility, which improves reliability, eases the installation process and helps installers save time.
A third feature of the V8, he said, is the high degree of comfort it allows through its constant airflow. “No matter where you are in the building, the airflow is constant,” he said.
Cheng also spoke of the V8 having 19 sensors and a visual sensor technology. If the real sensors stop working, the machine will duplicate to give virtual sensors – digital twin – which will continue the sensing process and simultaneously send a message to the maintenance personnel informing them of a problem with the real sensors for them to rectify. “This way, the system is able to work 24×7, so there is no shut down problem,” he said. He also spoke of the V8 featuring the ‘Midea Doctor 2.0, which would allow for using cloud for self-diagnosis. “So, with the V8, we have many leading technologies in the industry,” he said. “With the V8, we are the leader in the product.”
Addressing the issue of aftersales service, Cheng said Midea works closely with its partners, including Taqeef, which he added has a strong aftersales capability, including training and service centres. “We also support our partners in increasing their aftersales service,” he said. “We have our technical engineers to support Taqeef, and we provide funds to partners to improve their service capability. As Midea we also have the TSP feature, and so partners can place orders for spare parts through the TSP and also through the cloud. So, we are enhancing our capabilities on aftersales. But, if we have a highly reliable product, you don’t need as much aftersales. We use high-end components, so we have fewer problems, and we would need less aftersales service.”
Cheng said Midea would continue to invest in the GCC region. But when asked if the company has plans to open a factory in the Middle East, he said it does not have any at the moment. “We have to look at the right partners and at the policies from the government,” he said. “We have had a discussion on this with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office.
Tariq Al Ghussein, CEO, Taqeef, speaking on Midea’s global growth, said that the very fact that the company has changed its name from Midea CAC to Midea Building Technologies reflects its ambition to provide comprehensive solutions to the building construction industry, including HVAC and elevators, to name two. “They want to supply all the components and software,” he said. “They continue to surprise us with how fast they are moving.”
The V8 features the refrigerant, R-410a, whereas it has R-32 for mini VRF systems. To a question about the possible use of refrigerants other than the two, considering that R-410a has a GWP of 2,088 and is facing calls from certain quarters for its phaseout and that R32 is classified as an A2L refrigerant, owing to its mildly flammable nature, requiring safety in handling, Cheng said Midea is one of the biggest manufacturers in the world and that the company is looking at all possibilities and will need to see the trend. “Different manufacturers are promoting different gases, and there are debates on regulation,” he said. “We will be ready once there is clarity.”
To a question about the global semiconductor crisis, and Midea’s response to dealing with the problem, Cheng said the shortage of chips is a global problem and one that affects all sectors and not just the HVACR sector. “From our perspective, we have learnt that we have to develop strategic partners on key components and to also strengthen our own capability,” he said. “And in China, we have set up our own chip factories in a small scale, and now we are accelerating to a big scale. We will enhance our capability in this area. There are many newcomers, who are planning to manufacture chips, and I think the problem will be solved very soon.”