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issue: July 2007 APPLIANCE Magazine

China Refrigeration 2007
Green Refrigeration in Guangzhou


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by Viloet Han, China Correspondent

The Chinese HVAC expo showed an industry moving in new directions. Underlying every industry change: addressing the environment.

Haier representatives said overseas orders exceeded Chinese orders at the 2007 China Refrigeration Expo.

Being a city in South China, Guangzhou was not sweltering as many imagined April 4–6. On the contrary, visitors to the city felt a little chilly in the drizzle outside.

Like the unexpected weather, the expo lost some of its liveliness compared with 2006’s gathering in Shanghai. Opening day visitor traffic was huge, but overall visitors were reduced. Data from the show organizer showed the total number of visitors was just over 40,000, or about half the number who came to the Shanghai expo.

However, Gong Zhan, with exhibitor Peter Bearing Company, based in the U.S., saw it as a successful exhibition. “I think most of the visitors are professionals, not the old ladies who collect materials to sell as waste papers,” he said. “Our exhibition purpose was reached.”

He also noted that the number of visitors was proper for such an expo. “We have attended previous refrigeration expos, but since there were so many people around the exhibiting pavilion, we could not care for them and exchange with potential clients.”

Some industry insiders told APPLIANCE that, since the CR timetable put it near to the Chinese export commodities fair, which was nearby, many foreign exhibitors and attendees considered attending CR expo before the Canton Fair.

A More International Venue?

Moving to Guangzhou was seen as a remarkable step for this expo, which in past years was always held in Beijing or Shanghai. Guangzhou is a growing and dynamic city, embracing various cultures, and that gave the expo an added international flavor. While the number of exhibitors and visitors from South China increased, foreigners made up almost one-third of all visitors.

A Haier representative told APPLIANCE that, unlike previous expos, this year Haier’s overseas orders exceeded domestic orders obtained on-site at CR. One European client signed an order worth about 12 million yuan (approx. US$1.6 million) with Haier after seeing the X-Multi series air-conditioners on the expo floor. After-expo orders were forecast to be even higher.

Peng Lu, on the staff of the expo organizer, said visitors came from 105 countries, with 939 companies from 30 countries and regions exhibiting their new technologies. Domestic Chinese exhibitors included Midea, Gree, Haier, and King Refrigeration. Global suppliers such as Emerson and Danfoss were also on hand.

Air-conditioning OEM Trane exhibited EarthWise CenTraVac chillers at China Refrigeration 2007. Models CVHE and CVHF are available in design capacities ranging from 170 to 2000 tons, and when larger tonnages are required, the model CDHF Duplex chiller can provide up to 3950 tons. The CH530 Control Panel Adaptive Control keeps the chiller online when other chillers may shut down. An EarthWise Purge provides “near zero” refrigerant loss benefits for the environment that operates when the chiller is off. The unit is designed to have the lowest total refrigerant emissions rate in the industry—so low that Trane says it is essentially a closed system.

Emphasis on Energy

Domestic and foreign refrigeration producers all highlighted the energy-saving capabilities of their equipment, and some manufacturers even launched entire series designed to be energy-saving solutions.

Midea displayed its new water-cooled centrifugal chiller, as well as an attention-grabbing digital central air-conditioner/water heater, which combined home heating and cooling with hot water generation. Midea said the water-cooled chiller could save more than 48% of the energy used by a typical centrifugal chiller. The combination comfort conditioning/water-heating appliance used heat pump characteristics to achieve high energy efficiency levels.

The technology came about as the result of Midea’s central air-conditioner technology initiatives, which began five years ago. The OEM established independent development projects for R&D, manufacture, and distribution, and today its aim is to reach a production value of 1 billion yuan (approx. $130 million) in three years. Midea Central Air-Conditioner sector General Manager Wang Feng told APPLIANCE that the theme of the company’s participation in expo was “energy-saving, environment-friendliness, and advanced technology.”

Gree’s latest technology was a digital, multi-mode, sub-cooled “storage and water heat accumulation air-conditioner” and “multi-connected water heater,” designed to integrate the household central air-conditioner and water heater. Gree’s prototype models at the CR expo also included a two-stage centrifugal cool water unit, maglev centrifugal cool water unit, and a superlow-temperature digital multi-connected unit, all developed to be energy-saving products.

Energy saving has become a common focus of HVAC producer R&D. Emerging refrigeration OEM Chigo displayed its new CMV “intelligent frequency conversion” central air-conditioner, a ducted air-conditioner, and an air-source heat pump water heater. Long-established Chinese refrigeration brands also showed their vitality. Shanghai Electromechanical Co., Ltd. introduced a new series of heat recycling cold/hot water units. This unit could provide hot water and air-conditioning for hotels and restaurants, as well as for industries.

Industry suppliers displayed advanced energy-saving products. Carel Electric (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., a business venture of Italy’s Carel Company, showed its latest energy-saving E2V series electronic expansion valve. During manufacturing, E2V’s specialty material (AISI316L) makes expanded use of laser welding technology and uses high-quality plastic with good energy-saving performance.

Compressor producer Embraco set up an on-site demonstration pavilion, introducing its high energy-saving frequency conversion compressor, which has already launched in the European market.

One of the most consistently crowded exhibits belonged to Emerson Copeland. At times the traffic flow was so heavy it was difficult to see the products displayed on the walls of the exhibit. Attendees told APPLIANCE that they were most interested in seeing Copeland’s low-temperature heating scroll compressor.

Heating air-conditioners has become a major trend. Midea showed its fourth generation heating digital scroll central air-conditioner. This product was designed for regions of China north of the Yangtze River, where there is little central heating in the winter. This system adopted an EVI compressor to increase the heating performance by 20% even when outside temperatures dropped to –15°C or –20°C.

Intellectual Property Issues

Last year, one of the big concerns on the minds of expo exhibitors was the issue of intellectual property rights (IPR). In 2007, like many other international exhibitions, the CR expo set up its own special office charged with handling IPR issues.

Two of the biggest global suppliers of environmentally friendly refrigerants, Honeywell and DuPont, announced separately during the expo that they were launching IPR initiatives.

Mark S. Baunchalk, global business manager, DuPont refrigerant products, described to APPLIANCE how the company managed to secure mid-term bans on some refrigerant distributors in Malaysia. Just two days before the start of CR 2007, Malaysia’s Superior Court ordered two refrigerant distributors to stop selling or importing R-407C to Malaysia. The refrigerant, sold by DuPont as Suva 407C, is an HFC that can be used as a replacement for R-22 in positive displacement systems, such as residential and commercial air-conditioners and heat pumps.

Honeywell announced a high-profile R-410A authentication plan during CR. Honeywell sells the refrigerant under the brand name AZ-20 and it too is a replacement for R-22 in many applications. With the help of a third party authentication company such as SGS, products using the patented refrigerant will be certified for sale in EU markets. Chinese OEMs Haier, Midea, and Changhong were among the first to achieve authentication on their appliances. The purchasing directors from all three OEMs spoke about how respecting IPR gave their appliances a competitive advantage when exporting them to markets beyond China.

Despite the efforts of CR organizers and the refrigerant patent-holders, there were some indications from industry insiders of IPR violations at the expo. Clearly, however, such violations are being driven into the shadows and contradict the internationalization trend of the entire China Refrigeration expo. 

Making CR Easier for International Visitors

One director from a Korean company exhibiting at China Refrigeration told APPLIANCE magazine, in English, that he hoped the next CR expo would consider making better accommodations for international exhibitors.

“Especially the requirements of language,” he said. “I see many Chinese signs without corresponding English explanations. It’s difficult for me to join the exhibition. Most visitors speak Chinese, so I can’t exchange with them. It would be better to prepare some interpreters.”

 

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