Following Panasonic’s acquisition of major US manufacturer Hussman Corporation for US$1.545 billion in late 2015 (R744.com; 21/12/15), its growing reach in Asia – and globally – was clear to all on the first day of the event.
After launching more compact second-generation CO2 condensing units in 2015, Panasonic plans to continue its aggressive global expansion with a variety of new natural refrigerant solutions in 2016. An expansion to its cloud-based service will be central to this.
During today’s market trends session, Tetsuro Homma outlined the company’s big plans for the food service industry, including the development of a 30 HP condensing unit to help bridge the application gap between smaller convenience store (CVS) solutions and larger supermarkets in regions like the US, Europe and Australia.
Food service sector among Panasonic’s ‘core business areas’
“The food service sector is one of our core business areas and we’re trying to contribute to the industry with cutting edge natural refrigeration technology,” Homma said.
Currently, the company offers 2, 10, 15 and 20 HP units. This means larger end users would in some cases be required to install up to 20 of them for one large retail space, making them more practical solutions for CVS and smaller supermarkets instead.
Production of the 30 HP CO2 unit, along with other variations of the company’s CVS solutions, will commence in 2016 and can “can provide new natural refrigerant solutions for every customer,” according to Homma.
We are really proud to announce this news as a manufacturer with over 1,400 stores operating successfully in Japan with natural refrigerant products – and we think 2,000 by the end of 2016.”
Globally, Panasonic already has 2,000 stores equipped with natural refrigerant solutions, including a first trial in Thailand and the first CO2 transcritical store in Taiwan (R744.com; 02/02/16). In addition, the company will target smaller store formats in Europe for the first time in 2016, with trials in Denmark.
As part of the Japanese Ministry of Environment’s (MOE) energy saving initiatives, Panasonic yielded over 20% in power consumption reductions (compared to the average nationwide figure in Japan) in 2015 after adding glass doors to its showcases. These figures were compared to conventional synthetic-based refrigerant systems. Overall, Panasonic saved in the region of 30-40%.
The next technology steps for the company will include vending machine, dispensers and even cooking equipment.
Panasonic will formally commence its partnership with Hussmann in April 2016. The companies will actively promote natural refrigerant solutions together.