March '16

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78 • RV PRO • MARCH 2016 rv-pro.com Airxcel is in the process of developing a point-of-purchase display right now for its line of air-conditioners that will measure about three feet by three feet and will be available to dealers later in 2016. Both companies offer training on their units through industry shows and through their own trainers, and Airxcel's Kaufmann says, "They're all similar, once you learn how to service them." It's that similarity of product that Advent Air, a division of ASA Electronics, is really relying on for its still-modest place in the RV air conditioning market. "We guess that 85 percent to 90 per- cent of the air conditioners installed by the manufacturers are either going to be 13,500 BTU units or 15,000 BTU units of standard height, and that's what our product is, so that's our focus," says Rick Carver, RV aftermarket division manager. "Our entire focus in the air conditioner industry is taking care of the dealers and giving them products they need to easily swap out a defective unit." Carver adds that the company manufac- turing Advent Air's products is the second- largest air conditioning manufacturing company in the world when computed by both components and finished products, and its units are engineered so that dealers can easily remove units from other manu- facturers and install an Advent Air one. "We've engineered them so you can simply plug it into their electronics," Carver says. "In a couple of instances, we've had to create clever little adapter pigtails so it could plug into our control wire and then plug into their control box. "Our main goal is to set things up so the dealer doesn't have to go into the RV and change out wiring and change out thermostats," he adds. "All he has to do is change out the top unit and that saves the RV owner hundreds of dollars in labor." He agrees with the others that OEMs are looking for performance and quiet operation, but when asked what the RV owners want, Carver expands the list to include value and a dealer they can trust to promote the best value to them. The ASA reputation for customer ser- vice and its warranty also adds value to the Advent Air brand, he says. Not that Advent isn't concerned about performance. He notes that the company's engineers have worked diligently to meet the requirement that Freon be replaced with R-410A as a coolant while still turning out the required number of BTUs. "We focused on ways of improving effi- ciencies," he says. "The engineers found ways to do that by improving air flow – adding more surface area to the air-conditioner – to the evaporator coil and the condenser coil and putting in more copper tubing." Advent also has included three fan speeds on its models, as opposed to just two, and has added a thicker gasket where the unit attaches to the room, and mounting pads throughout the base to cut down on noise. The company has a low-profile model in development and would like to take on the OEMs at some point, but Carver says that's a tough nut to crack. Given that it's decided to market strictly to dealers (it recently added AMP Distribution and its centers in Florida and Texas to help with that) the company has captured as much as 30 percent of the aftermarket, according to Carver. "It means they know about our cus- tomer service or they weren't happy with their current customer service," he says. "We think it's an impressive story. The dealers like our product, the distributors like promoting our product, so that's where our focus is now." Above: ASA's Advent division is focused producing air conditioners that are either 13,500 BTU or 15,000 BTU units of standard height, which the company estimates comprise the vast majority of the market. That makes it easy for ASA to offer a replacement for OEM units. Below: Dometic's next-generation Blizzard product for the North American market features a composite base pan as opposed to stamped steel. The composite base pan has been designed so that all of the components drop into place, which means the company can use less fasteners, and Dometic also has designed in structural elements to the design to add rigidity.

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