In 2006, roof-top products became available above 200 kW. Together with other recent technology developments, this has allowed rooftop systems to start to penetrate the traditional chiller/air handling unit market. The rooftop product can perform all the requirements of these conventional systems in one box, so it will benefit from applications of low capacity and were plant space is limited.
Air handling units
The total market size for air handling units recovered in 2006 to the level last seen in 2004. The market grew by 13 percent in volume and 14 percent in value in 2006 over 2005. Modest growth is expected in 2007 as a number of manufacturers reported significant sales on the back of further growth in the UK construction industry, particularly in the office sector and the chiller market as a whole.
Manufacturers and suppliers are currently experiencing high demand for close-control equipment, enabling companies to place a price premium on their products. The growth is being driven by a number of factors including:
- USA and European accounting Directives
- Development of virtualisation software
- Online broadcasting and video streaming
- High-density blade servers.
Growth is expected to decline after 2008, as there are a limited number of merchant banks and other end-users requiring data centres to be built. This will also affect increases in the average price in 2008 and beyond, when pressure on price is expected to be down.
The market will continue to experience shifts in compressor type, refrigerant and size. There has also been growth in recent technologies such as the Turbocor and inverter screw-compressors.
Scroll compressors are continuing to erode the market share of screw and reciprocating chillers through further developments of larger capacity units with R410A refrigerant. But as with screw compressors, scroll compressors are facing increasing competition from VRF systems, especially in refurbishment projects.
Reciprocating chillers have lost significant market share. Many manufacturers are no longer including them within their portfolio and they now account for less than three percent of the market.
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