World HAC&R Compressors – Japan and APACMay 2021

BSRIA is publishing the fifth and final report in its series on the Global market for compressors used in applications for Air Conditioning, Heat Pumps, and Refrigeration. The set of reports covers world regions: Americas, EMEA, China, India, Japan and rest of Asia. One global overview report will also be issued. The Japan and RoA report presents quantitative and qualitative data and illustrates the current trends in the market.

“The APAC region experiences a shift of production to SEA countries. Efficiency standards drive the uptake of inverter compressors, and refrigerants with low GWP.”

This study includes compressors aimed at three applications: Air conditioning, or comfort cooling, heat pumps for space and water heating, and refrigeration. This includes stationary applications only.

Japan and APAC countries are part of the RCEP, the world’s largest free trade agreement, which will boost economic gains from free trade on 90% of imports between the signatories. Compressors manufactured in one country can now be exported tax free to other countries in the region. The US-China trade war has also encouraged the transfer of manufacturing to SEA countries.

The manufacture of rotary and to a lesser extent scroll compressors has shifted to countries such as Thailand, or Malaysia, and South Korea. This is encouraged with the growing production of AC units in these countries. Imports of compressors from China have also increased.

Screw compressors in AC are squeezed between scroll, that now reach outputs up to 40 HP, and oil-free centrifugal on the other side. As a result, sales of screw compressors for AC experience a drop.

While there is virtually no market for heat pumps in countries with a tropical climate, these are mostly present in Japan, where the Eco Cute CO2 water heating heat pump is popular. This incorporates mostly rotary compressors, and some scroll for the commercial applications.

As demand for refrigeration units is rising in the region, so is the market for compressors. Rotary compressors have now extended their range of applications to cater for refrigeration. However, there are as yet hardly any scroll compressors in this sector, although they are expected to increase their presence too. There is a sizeable market for small hermetic reciprocating compressors, as SEA countries account for an estimated 10.6% of the global production of refrigerators and freezers.

While some countries still rely on R22, there is a major shift to R32 in split AC units, or HFOs for chillers. For refrigeration, R404A is now a substitute, while R410A is promoted in Japan.

Figure 2 - Trends and forecasts for rotary Air Conditioning compressors by type, by volume (units), 2017 - 2023 [AC]

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