Mitsubishi Electric Corporation is marking 20 years of air conditioning manufacturing in Scotland and looking to the future with the opening of a new world-class research and development facility.
They recently launched two highly instrumented test houses, built on site next to the factory, following the recent relocation to Scotland of the UK Branch of the Mitsubishi Electric R&D Centre Europe (MERCE) which is part of a longer term plan for the creation of a centre of design excellence outside Japan.
With its R&D, design and manufacturing teams operating together at the same location, the Scottish site is unique within Mitsubishi Electric globally and is now better placed to respond to the demands of the European market. In addition, the company is committed to investing £20 million in its Scottish base to continue its expansion and development of new products in Scotland.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Fergus Ewing said: “It is great news for Scotland that Mitsubishi Electric has placed a world class R&D centre here in Livingston. Mitsubishi Electric Air-Conditioning Europe (M-ACE) at Livingston makes a considerable contribution to the Scottish economy and we welcome their continued commitment to manufacturing here. “The Scottish Government strongly supports the introduction of renewable heat technologies as they can make a huge contribution to our national emission reduction targets. The Scottish Government’s target of 100% of electricity demand to be met from renewables by 2020 makes Scotland an ideal proving ground for advanced renewable energy technologies.”
As part of its global growth strategy, Mitsubishi Electric is increasingly shifting production from Japan to key areas throughout the world. The company employs 450 people in Scotland and has been producing air conditioning units from its Livingston base since 1993. In recent years it has evolved its product range to include renewable heating products as it strives to lead the way in sustainable innovations.
Mr Hiroyuki Umemura, Executive Officer and Group President of Living Environment & Digital Media Equipment Group, says: “Sustainability is one of the most important issues for our company. We aim to be industry leaders in the production of environmentally friendly, high efficiency, high quality products and services to our customers. In order to achieve this, our site in Livingston will play a very important role as a supply base in Europe for air conditioning and renewable energy heating products and this 20th anniversary is an important milestone.”
A world leader in air conditioning systems for residential, commercial and industrial use, the primary markets for Mitsubishi Electric products manufactured in Scotland are continental Europe, Scandinavia, Middle East and southern Africa. The new range of renewable air to water heat pumps will give increased opportunities for the company to tap in to the domestic heating sector in these markets as well.
Dr Kazuhiko Tsutsumi, Executive Officer and Group President of Corporate Research & Development Group, added: “The ability for close co-operation between research and manufacturing will speed up the product development cycle in Scotland. We are also engaged with key UK and European universities, including Heriot-Watt and Cambridge, and we anticipate that Scotland’s excellent universities will provide a highly educated pool of talent that we hope to attract to support our future expansion.”
Embedded in the local community, Mitsubishi Electric maintains strong links with West Lothian College through its Engineering Apprentice Training programme and has partnered with nearby Heriot-Watt University, which boasts world class expertise in the area of building thermal comfort and low carbon homes.
The new R&D facility will be known as the MERCE House-type HVACS Evaluation Facility and consists of two custom-built three bedroom detached houses, along with a bespoke experimental control room. Each house is modified by the installation of a vast array of sensors, both for measuring the detailed environmental conditions (temperature, humidity) and for in depth monitoring of the operation of the heating systems.