Andrew Faulkner: 3D printing has revolutionised prototyping and manufacturing.
Innovative product features and emerging technologies have catapulted the growth of the heating and cooling industry and transformed the way in which new products on the market can improve people’s lives. Within the last year the industry has seen the introduction of new technologies to keep people cool and comfortable, but what customers need and want is continually changing. It is important for manufacturers and businesses to drive forward their research and development teams to continue to innovate and deliver solutions for the ever-changing market.
Home Automation and Smart Technology
The rise of smart technology has been warmly received by technology enthusiasts and has now become a part of everyday life even for the less tech savvy users. Connected systems and phone apps now allow people to control all areas of their home from lighting to entertainment. When people are looking to update their TV or mobile, it is a must for the product to be equipped with smart features.
Over the last few years we have seen the introduction of smart technology into the heating and cooling industry. New air conditioning units can now be controlled and managed through smartphone apps, improving the overall user experience for customers.
It is inevitable that in the future these smart technologies will continue to evolve and become integrated into people’s homes – this year voice activated technology has boomed in popularity and we foresee that future air conditioning units could be controlled through simple voice activation commands, allowing people to control their home comfort levels with ease.
Also, the rise in popularity of companies using Chatbots, a computer programme which conducts conversations with people using a natural language processing system. Chatbots are typically used for customer service and information acquisition and we predict the use of these will continue to boom. We anticipate this technology will continue to change the way potential buyers ask questions on new products and expect to see an increase in manufacturers and dealers using these programmes.
Having a house that looks stylish (both inside and out) is high on the majority of homeowner’s priority lists at the moment. Historically if you were having an air conditioning unit fitted the size and design of the product wasn’t something that people had much say over and would often result with obtrusive boxes being fitted on the sides of buildings and units with large unappealing vents fitted inside.
Over the last few years, the heating and cooling industry has taken on board this lifestyle trend and units are starting to get smaller, lighter and more attractive, with a much larger choice on the design of the unit. It is now possible to choose systems of different colours and shapes to better match the overall design of a building.
Not only is this beneficial to homeowners but this extends to businesses to when the look and feel of the brand is so important – so everything from the furniture to the air conditioning unit needs to fit into the values and design of the brand.
In the future, we anticipate that emphasis will remain on products becoming smaller with more design options to fit in with trends, multiple colours and personalisation so they seamlessly fit into the pre-existing design of buildings.
With new materials and methods available 3D printing has revolutionised prototyping and manufacturing – changing the world of design. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that air conditioning units could be created in this way in the future.
3D printed parts could become readily available and this technology could be developed to significantly reduce repair time and costs.
One such company using 3D printing as part of their R&D process to speed up innovation is Samsung. The brand-new Samsung AR9500M is a Draught-free cooling system, allowing users to stay comfortably cool without feeling cold. Key features include the World’s first 8-pole motor (instead of a 4-pole motor) in the compressor of an outdoor unit, so there is less torque fluctuation.
The unit has a range of different modes covering a varied level of cooling. Firstly, the normal cooling mode cools the room. When it reaches the desired temperature, people can then activate the Draught-free mode which maintains a comfortable level of coolness for people without the unpleasant feeling of a cold wind. Cool air is gently dispersed through 21,0000 micro air holes, so people aren’t left feeling too hot or too cold.
For people who want to cool down quickly, users can activate the fast cooling mode and the AR9500M will cool every corner of the room much faster working at maximum speed. When it reaches the target temperature it will automatically change to Draught-free mode to maintain the desired conditions- keeping people comfortable without feeling cold.