by Mike Eby and Terry McIver
If you’re going to launch a new product in the HVAC market and want to make a statement, there’s no better place to do it than in Las Vegas. That’s exactly what the Daikin Air Intelligence team did on September 25th at the Cosmopolitan Hotel on the Vegas strip, when they announced the introduction of Daikin Fit™, a new, sleek and compact low-profile condensing unit for residential applications, to a select group of channel partners and professional contractors, and trade media.
Daikin spokespersons say Fit is a smart HVAC system that melds the best features and performance of ductless-style condensing units with the ability to connect to traditional ducted systems. This brings homeowners the advantages of Daikin technology, including high-performing inverter compressors with cabinet designs that are smaller, lighter and quieter than traditional unitary outdoor condensing units.
The Daikin team explained that as lot sizes decrease and building envelopes grow in many urban areas, homeowners can now free up backyard space, while enhancing their outdoor experience with a compact, quiet Daikin Fit unit. Smaller, lighter Daikin Fit cabinet designs provide several installation and service benefits for zero lot-line homes, condominiums, and on rooftop terraces in dense urban settings that would typically require a crane.
Daikin Fit is easily installed in replacement applications using existing ductwork and existing line sets. Requiring only 4-in. of clearance, the Daikin Fit system is ideal for locations where installation space is limited, they said.
Sources report that because of its compact size, four or five Daikin Fit units can fit into a van or truck, as compared to one or two traditional systems.
Its size also makes Fit units easy to transport from the delivery vehicle to the installation site and install on pad — a single Daikin Fit condensing unit can be transported with a dolly by a single HVAC technician.
Sources claim that with efficiencies up to 18 SEER, Daikin Fit provides a cost-competitive condensing unit, in the mid-efficiency category, with clear design and performance advantages over traditional unitary, non-inverter condensing units.
“By introducing Daikin Fit, we provide a differentiated solution to our Daikin Comfort Pros,” said Kelly Hearnsberger, vice president residential product marketing.
“In a market saturated with the ‘same old’ equipment, Daikin Fit is a mid-range efficiency, competitively-priced system that includes all the benefits of inverter technology combined with ducted furnace and coil combinations, and is a game changer for our Daikin sales network and for consumers,” Hearnsberger said.
The described superior performance of Daikin’s inverter compressor — over traditional unitary compressors —requires less condenser coil surface area. That, in turn, allows for much smaller cabinet sizes with a side discharge fan design — eliminating the need for typical large, wrap-around style condenser coils.
Daikin claims the Fit system has an advantage over traditional unitary systems during non-peak cooling periods. Daikin Fit’s condensing unit is powered by a Daikin-engineered and manufactured proprietary,
variable-speed swing inverter compressor that gently ramps up and down, using only the energy needed to cool the space, thereby saving money during non-peak load periods, compared to traditional unitary, non-inverter condensing units.
Available in 1.5- to 5-ton capacities to meet most needs, the Daikin Fit system is compatible with Daikin’s line of communicating gas furnaces, with furnace efficiencies ranging from 80- to 97-percent AFUE and evaporator coils available in upflow, downflow, horizontal right and horizontal left configurations, with standard Electronic Expansion Valve (EEV).
With the Daikin Fit system, homeowners can easily compare and choose a more compact and quieter outdoor condensing unit, as compared to traditional unitary condensing units with similar tonnage and efficiency. This provides homeowners, installers and builders far more flexibility with locating the outdoor equipment, plus the added benefit of reducing noise for backyard enjoyment.
With this introduction, Daikin continues to assert itself as a company that thrives on constant innovation.
“We’ve invested $7 billion dollars in the North American marketplace,” said Doug Widenmann, senior vice president of sales. “We’re here to shake the market up and be a mover in this marketplace.”
In 2002, the company had zero dollars in revenue. Today, it has more than $5 billion in revenue.
“Daikin has an innovative approach to the market right now that no one else has,” Hearnsberger told the crowd. “We want to open up the marketplace and aim squarely on the inverter piece of the pie.”
That pie continues to be sliced in various ways, as unitary products companies have themselves entered the inverter arena, by co-branding with established ductless products manufacturers.
Kelly Hearnsberger said the marketing message for Daikin Fit's is easy to communicate.
“We’ve organized the sales story around a simple message, Hearnsberger said: ‘It’s as easy as learning your A-B-C-Ds.’ This simplifies the sales process for you as you meet with your customers.”