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GE restarts US manufacturing of commercial air conditioning units after 19-year gap

Competitive hotel market drives decision to bring back production to Louisville, Kentucky after 29 years of overseas manufacturing

US giant GE Appliances is adding air conditinoning units to its stable of refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and the like manufactured in Louisville, Kentucky. GE Zoneline, a through-the-wall heating and air conditioning unit, mainly used in the hotel industry, will start full production in the first quarter of 2016.

GE Zoneline PTAC (Packaged Terminal AC) models were made at Appliance Park in Louisville from 1961 until 1987 when manufacture of the product was outsourced overseas.

An investment of $40 million has been used to build the new Zoneline production line, GE said. One hundred operators will man the line, 75 of whom will occupy new jobs.

Liz VerSchure, product general manager for consumer comfort, said: “The existing Zoneline products have served our customers well, but as the hotel/motel industry becomes increasingly more competitive, customers are looking for every advantage to ensure their guests have the best experience possible, We have taken the most important aspects of heating and cooling the traveler’s room into account with our new design, so both the guests and our customers can rest easy at night. Plus, with new design and appearance improvements, it looks great.”

The company said the new Zoneline is engineered to be more reliable, quiet, energy efficient, and easier to install and maintain, all features that are critical to hotel/motel customers. Hospitality industry data shows that when guests are not pleased with the noise or temperature of their room, two-thirds are not very likely to return to the hotel and one-third are not very likely to recommend a hotel.

GE said the number one priority for hotel owners when it comes to PTACs is having a reliable, dependable unit. If the unit isn’t working, the room cannot be sold, which means a loss of revenue for hotel owners. GE has millions of installed Zoneline units with an excellent service record. The new design will build and improve on that legacy.

GE Zoneline is also claimed to be the quietest PTAC compared to leading competitors, has the best noise insulation and lowest dBA, as verified by an independent, nationally accredited certified acoustics lab.

GE’s Zoneline units are on average eight per cent more energy efficient than leading competitor units. For a 100-room property, this can save a hotel owner thousands of dollars annually on their utility bill.


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