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AC manufacturers push forward with R410A phase out

CIAT UK said it has effectively phased out split air conditioning products designed for R410A, while Mitsubishi will this year launch new higher capacity ranges designed for R32

Several appliance manufacturers such as CIAT and Mitsubishi Electric have further expanded their R32 range of split systems as part of ongoing efforts to fully phase out R410A equipment.

CIAT UK, part of Toshiba-Carrier UK, said it has now effectively phased out its R410A split products with the introduction of a new range of air conditioning systems. The appliances are designed for applications that includes light commercial and residential use.

Technologies such as high-wall splits, floor-mounted consoles, under-ceiling units and a range of multi-split outdoor condensing units are all covered as part of the R32 range, according to the company.

R32 is a lower flammability refrigerant that has a lower GWP when compared to R410A, making it an important solution to address the aims of F-Gas regulation.

CIAT UK told RAC Magazine that there were currently no further plans to expand its R32 range beyond its split products. A spokesperson for the company added that the shift away from using non-flammable gas to an A2L product such as R32 in its split systems has required careful design and component selection.

The company said, “However, the principles are now well established and CIAT systems adopt best industry practice.”

“There are limits to the application of R32 in terms of charge size, and this has implications for the type and size of equipment it can be used in. CIAT split systems are well within these restrictions.”

The company said that it would therefore be offering market support to its customers in the form of several training events around the UK focused on handling R32.

Higher capacity ambitions

Mitsubishi Electric has meanwhile announced that it has moved the majority of its split systems, which have a range of between 1.5kW and 14kW, over to R32. Additional launches planned over the course of 2019 are expected to further expand the manufacturer’s offering of appliances designed for the gas to include high capacity technologies.

A spokesperson for the company said, “We have just completed our R32 line-up with our M Series Wall Mounted air conditioning units, transitioning another range completely under R32. Currently, the main focus for R32 is with our HVRF technology - we are expanding the capacities of our outdoor units between 22kW – 56kW later this year.”

The company has told RAC Magazine that a significant challenge with R32 innovation has been the limits on how the gas can be used in higher capacity cooling applications.

Mitsubishi Electric said, “Changes to the 6th edition of IEC regulation 60335-2-40 have widened the usage for refrigerants including R32, but the EN378 safety and environmental standard has not been amended in line with these changes.”

“This means that some of the challenges to expanding use of the lower flammability refrigerant to higher capacity systems are still there. However, with good design and by following the regulation guidelines, high capacity R32 systems can be designed and installed in most commercial applications.”

According to the manufacturer, growing experience among consultants and air conditioning installers with using lower flammability A2L refrigerants was expected to widen the scope for higher capacity cooling technologies using these gasses.

Life beyond R32

Mitsubishi Electric said that its factories and research departments were always focused on looking at potential new technologies to the market that would include considering any potential next generation refrigerants and cooling solutions. This focus has been seen in its work to shift to lower GWP products as such as R32 in line with the requirements of EU F-Gas regulation.

The company added, “Although the R32 technology and refrigerant will likely be around for several years before further changes need to be considered, we will continue to ensure our products meet the demands on the market as and when these changes take effect – over the next twelve months and beyond.”

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