Panasonic opens air-con R&D centre in Malaysia

  • December 18, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Panasonic has started operating its new R&D building in Malaysia responsible for developing air-conditioning equipment for Asean and Europe.

The building is equipped with modern facilities, including the company’s first multi-purpose laboratory for simultaneously testing water heaters and air conditioning equipment, designed to shorten the lead time for developing air-conditioning equipment for the global market, mainly in Asean and Europe, and allowing it to accelerate development that meets local needs.

In Asean, as the population increases, the construction of large structures, including buildings is progressing, and demand for commercial air conditioners remains strong. Global market expansion also continues in the product fields of air conditioners that use highly energy-saving heat pump technology, A2W (air-to-water) and hydronic systems for commercial use.

The company will, as part of its response to these developments, enhance its research and development capabilities through the operation of the new R&D building. It has three floors and a gross floor area of 10,900m2. Offices are on the third floor in preparation for future increases in staff members, and a range of laboratories are on the first and second floors.

The multi-purpose laboratory in the building enables the simultaneous measurement of the operating efficiency of air conditioners and heat pump systems. Previously, it was necessary to conduct separate experiments for each type of equipment. However, conducting both types of measurement simultaneously reduces the development lead time.

Advances are also being made in air conditioning equipment to improve the management efficiency and reduce energy consumption by using the IoT. To confirm legal compliance in terms of electromagnetic waves emitted by such types of equipment during communication, a semi-anechoic chamber is used, in which radio wave absorbers are attached to the surfaces of the inner walls.

Measurements of equipment that uses water, such as A2W and hydronic systems, have up to now been carried out by external organisations. By installing its first semi-anechoic chamber equipped with water supply and drainage equipment, the company will build a system for conducting rapid in-house verification and hopes to accelerate the speed of product development.

In addition to these efforts, the number of laboratories in the current and new buildings has been expanded by 60% to enhance research and development capabilities.

As well as broadening of the line of multi air conditioners for buildings to reflect local living environments and needs, the company will also enhance the incorporation of inverters into air conditioners for offices and stores, and develop indoor units, including duct-type, cassette-type and wall-mounted units.

For the European market, Panasonic will develop fan coil units, which are indoor units for commercial hydronic air conditioners.

In May 2023, Panasonic ( launched the A2W, which adopts R290 natural refrigerant for the European market. To expand its product line in the future, Panasonic will set up laboratories that enable the verification of R290-based equipment in actual usage environments to ramp up product development in collaboration with the company’s new R&D centre in Milan, Italy.