How do you see the market shaping up in 2017 and why?

The construction sector is the main driver for the Middle East HVACR market followed by transportation, water and waste water projects. Oil price is a key driver for the construction market, and it’s currently under pressure due to the reduction of the GCC countries’ oil revenue. We expect the market to slowly recover, but until then we expect lower spending and slightly fewer new and current projects in the region.

Despite this slowdown and according to analysts at BMI Research, the Middle East’s construction market is expected to grow at a faster pace than any other region in the world this year, with buoyant markets in the UAE, Oman, and Egypt powering an overall growth of 6%. This is up from 5.3% last year and poses a great opportunity for Danfoss; however, it also allows for more competition in the HVACR industry to arise.

What can we expect from Danfoss in 2017 in terms of its penetration and market strategy in the Middle East market?

Despite the economic challenges in the region, Danfoss experienced strong growth in 2016, particularly in the HVACR industry. We expect moderate growth this year as the construction market begins to slowly recover. We are planning to grow our presence in the region, including the UAE, as well as expand and improve our project hit ratio in Kuwait, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, we launched our first technical support office in Saudi Arabia to show commitment to our clients on the ground there, which has already proven to be successful.

What are the current trends in the HVAC sector in the Middle East?

Digitalisation in the sector opens up new business opportunities. The transition towards more connected and smarter products is a catalyst for driving increased customer value. It’s a catalyst for developing and creating value. For Danfoss, the digital fast lane leads to even more flexible production and faster design of new technologies.

Applications are becoming increasingly digitalised and more connected via apps and computers. I believe that we’ll see more electronics than mechanics, leading to smarter, more energy-efficient solutions in the HVACR sector in the future.

Where are the opportunities for growth and why?

There are various opportunities for growth in the market, particularly in the energy demand field in the buildings sector. In order to meet the global population requirements by 2030, another 70,000km2 of new residential floor space is needed.  In the Middle East market, particularly in the GCC, there are many projects being announced with key events fast approaching such as the Dubai EXPO 2020. With this imminent rise in projects and investment comes opportunity for HVACR solutions providers.

What are the main challenges in the market and why? How will these be overcome?

Buildings represent nearly 40% of global energy consumption and account for about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, buildings are vital to achieving our climate and energy goals. To do so, it’s going to require a holistic approach to developing smart, connected buildings. In the short term, we need to implement progressive policies that encourage the use of available, proven energy-efficient technologies, low-energy building design, and building renovations that can achieve 25-50% reductions in energy demand from new and existing buildings. This includes technologies like variable speed, energy recovery, combined heat and power, and renewables.

In the long-term, the greatest potential for improving energy productivity will come from smart and sustainable cities with connected infrastructure where water, wastewater, heating, cooling, and electricity are integrated into one system.

Pressure independent balancing and control valves (PIBCV) are a major influencer in the effectiveness of chilled water systems for green buildings in the Middle East region. Most large-scale projects face the problem of low deltaT syndrome, or in simple words, extremely bad control of flow and air conditioning systems, which obviously gives a loss of electrical, mechanical, and chilled water energy.

The PIBCV from Danfoss called ‘AB-QM’ is a solution to the problem of low deltaT. The AB-QM gives precision control of flow which in turn helps in getting an optimum valve of deltaT for chilled water. The result is energy savings on electrical, mechanical and chilled water within the range of at least 15% to as much as 50% depending upon the severity of the situation. Incorporating AB-QM in the design of the chilled water circuit of new projects catalyses the optimisation of your system and increases the life and efficiency of the system. Retrofitting old buildings with new technologies such as the PIBCV will undoubtedly transition us all to a better tomorrow with significant energy savings.

What new products have you launched in 2017?

Products such as the Danfoss NovoCon actuator can be considered as a prime driver of smart and intelligent control for HVAC applications. The Danfoss NovoCon was launched this year and it is a digital actuator that is tailor made to fit the AB-QM valves. The smart, digitally connected actuator uses a BACnet or Modbus, creating a perfect connection between superior hydronic performance and building automation.

The year 2017 also saw the introduction of the new VLT BACnet/IP MCA 125 option which enhances the VLT HVAC drive FC 102. The option allows quick and easy integration of the VLT HVAC drive into building management systems (BMS) using the BACnet/IP protocol or by running BACnet on ethernet. It can read and share data points and transfer actual and requested values to and from the systems.