In a bid to enhance innovation in advanced controls, energy efficiency and Internet of Things (IoT), Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning on Friday inaugurated a global development centre (GDC) at the joint venture's Kadi plant in Gujarat.
"This is a crucial step for Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning to further strengthen our global positioning. This new GDC will play a critical role in developing new and exciting products, particularly for South-East Asia, the Middle East and Europe to enhance our ability to meet diverse market needs in these regions," said Franz Cerwinka, CEO, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning.
Inaugurated by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani on Friday, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning's GDC at Kadi is fourth for the company globally, after two in Japan and one in China. Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning is a global joint venture for design and manufacturing of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) products. The JV has invested around Rs 157 crore or $22.5 million for the new GDC.
According to Gurmeet Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd, the Indian arm of the global player, the GDC at Kadi will act as a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for innovation in advance controls and IoT applications in HVAC. The GDC is aimed at meeting design and innovation needs of not just the Indian market but also of South Asian, South East Asian, Middle East and African markets.
The GDC has been set up within an existing residential and commercial air-conditioner manufacturing facility, which already has a capacity of manufacturing 900,000 split air-conditioners in a single shift. Singh said the company's Kadi plant has enough capacity to cater to the Indian market for the next five years.
The manufacturing facility not only caters to the Indian market but also exports roughly five per cent of its overall turnover to SAARC countries and Africa.
The GDC at the facility is equipped with research and testing laboratories, such as reliability labs, annual performance factor labs, electromagnetic compatibility labs, electronics labs and semi-anechoic labs besides capabilities to create designs, simulation, controls, project management and engineering information systems. Singh said that from 18 such labscurrently, the company intends to eventually take the number to 40 going forward.
In the domestic market, the company looks to strengthen its positioning in the south, where it has a thin presence, while it also aims to increase its business from the commercial segment. Selling air-conditioners under the 'Hitachi' brand in the Indian market, Johnson Controls-Hitachi Air Conditioning India Ltd currently has a 80:20 ratio of residential versus commercial products. However, Singh said that the company is investing in commercial air-conditioning, which could result in a shift in the ratio going forward.
The company's India operations contribute roughly about 10 per cent or $350 million to the global operations at $3.2 billion.