USA – The US manufacturing giant GE Appliances has announced that it has decided to restart manufacturing air conditioning units in its Louisville plant in Kentucky, 29 years after their last US based production. The company stated that the competitive domestic hotel market had been one of the major factors in taking the decision to bring back production to Louisville after 29 years of overseas manufacturing.
GE Appliances currently manufactures refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and similar in its Louisville plant, while the GE Zoneline, a through-the-wall heating and air conditioning unit, mainly used in the hotel industry, will commence full production in the first quarter of 2016.
Previously, GE Zoneline PTAC (Packaged Terminal AC) models had been manufactured at Appliance Park in Louisville from 1961 until 1987 when the decision was taken to outsource the manufacture of the product overseas. The company revealed that a $40 million investment has been made in order to build the new Zoneline production line. GE also stated that one hundred operators will man the line, which means the creation of 75 new jobs.
Liz VerSchure, product general manager for consumer comfort with GE Aplliances, announced “The existing Zoneline products have served our customers well, but as the hotel/motel industry becomes increasingly more competitive, customers are looking for every advantage to ensure their guests have the best experience possible, We have taken the most important aspects of heating and cooling the traveler’s room into account with our new design, so both the guests and our customers can rest easy at night. Plus, with new design and appearance improvements, it looks great.”
In a corollary to the announcement, the company also declared that the new Zoneline has been engineered to be more reliable, quiet, energy efficient, and easier to install and maintain, which are all critical factors in the hotel trade. This drive for energy efficiency and quieter units is in response to hospitality industry data showing that when guests are not pleased with the noise or temperature of their room, two-thirds are not very likely to return to the hotel and one-third are not very likely to recommend a hotel.
GE are on record as stating that the number one priority for hotel owners when it comes to PTACs is having a reliable, dependable unit. A dysfunctional unit means that the room cannot be sold, which in turn results in a loss of revenue for hotel owners. GE claim that their Zoneline unit is the quietest PTAC compared to leading competitors and has the best noise insulation and lowest dBA, as verified by an independent, nationally accredited certified acoustics lab. GE further boast that the Zoneline units are on average 8 % more energy efficient than other leading competitor units.