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ABB decides to tackle the HVAC market directly

01 March, 2002

ABB decides to tackle the HVAC market directly

ABB has decided to handle the growing UK market for heating and ventilation drives directly, ending a longstanding arrangement under which Alldales served this sector with badged ABB drives. ABB is investing £500,000 in the new business and hopes to double its share of the UK HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) market to around 20% within two years.

Although ABB is the global leader in the drives business, its penetration of the building automation sector has been limited, despite the fact that this sector accounts for more than 12% of global low-power drives sales - the largest single segment - and is forecast to be the fastest-growing part of the drives market over the coming five years. The one exception is the US, where ABB already has more than 30% of the HVAC market.

"ABB is lacking a global presence in HVAC," admits Ian Rennie, president of ABB`s UK automation technology products division. "We`re about to change that."

Following market research which revealed that HVAC specifiers and users wanted to deal with personnel who understood their sector, ABB has set up a dedicated HVAC team. The group is headed by Mike Carman, who led Control Techniques` HVAC group before leaving to set up Invertek Drives and subsequently joining ABB at its Finnish headquarters. Second in command is Graham Abbott, previously HVAC business development manager at Danfoss.

ABB is launching an HVAC drive optimised for pump and fan applications. The drive, called the ACH, is based on ABB`s ACS 600 family and will be succeeded later by a model based on the new generation ACS 800 drives.

"No other UK drives supplier can offer, in HVAC, the level and depth of expertise and coverage that we now give," declares James Haigh, ABB`s senior vice-president responsible for drives in the UK.

The UK HVAC initiative will serve as a pilot for similar moves in other countries. ABB hopes to occupy first or second slots in all European HVAC markets within two years.

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