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Home » Toshiba releases new VRF system into South Africa

Toshiba releases new VRF system into South Africa


The SMMS-u model is the latest addition to the companies VRF technology range and addresses many element-improvements over the prior SMMS-e model introduced back in 2015.

The Super Modular Multi System (SMMS), was first developed by Toshiba in 1986 and the ‘u-version’ marks 35 years of technology advances and system improvements. Toshiba also manufactured the world’s first inverter-based air-conditioner and has been mastering inverter technology since.

The research and development that has gone into this new unit has taken a lot of factors under consideration.

For this latest release, that is also Eurovent certified, the notable highlights include a space-efficient design, configuration flexibility, improved energy efficiency, a new triple-rotary compressor design, an improved twin-rotary compressor design, and intelligent controls. All designed and manufactured in-house.

The SMMS-u series also won the highest honour at 2020 Energy Conservation grand prize award of Japan. This marked Toshiba Carrier’s 30th honour of the prize, including prizes won under the 21st Century-oriented Energy Efficiency, and Conservation Equipment and Systems award. The award highlights the following elements:

  • World’s first and best technologies for high energy-efficiency and compact chassis.
  • Industry-first ‘new-old unit mixing control’ for flexible planning in replacement budget and schedule.
  • Kobetsu defrost technology to address challenges in defrost and fresh air ventilating operations.

“The industry segments we are targeting for this technology will naturally include all comfort cooling applications and due to the nature of flexibility, a focus towards applications that include combination-system solutions with third party AHU and controls suppliers. Our technology will also cater to special applications for example hospital theatres and cleanrooms for agricultural and pharmaceutical processes – basically any applications that involve a more complicated solution above the regular comfort installations,” says Jaco Smal – sales, service and marketing director at AHI Carrier Toshiba South Africa.

The research and development that has gone into this new unit has taken a lot of factors under consideration. To name a couple, firstly, cutting down on the amount of refrigerant per system, and secondly a focus on meeting larger capacities in a smaller space.

The amount of refrigerant per system has been a talking point for quite some time as the transition has occurred between older and newer refrigerant types. Reducing the

refrigerant within a VRF system moves towards compliance with the recognised ASHRAE regulations and recommendations.

The new U-model also increases the maximum capacity per circuit to 120 horsepower (equivalent to 336 Kilowatts) on one system. This is achieved by connecting five individual chassis – each having a capacity of 24 horsepower – creating the condenser bank. Indoor capacity range also increases with the smallest indoor unit capability being 0.3HP, 0.84kW or 2866BTU.

“We have further simplified – down from three chassis sizes to two. So, we’ve essentially achieved a smaller footprint size with higher capacities which has its obvious advantages. With the added benefits of a free combination option, we can now offer the specific horsepower solution that is required. The idea behind this particular benefit is because variable system combinations allow different outcomes. A higher heating capacity could be an example, or a significantly smaller footprint may be required. Today catering to exactly what a client needs is a priority as energy efficiency become more and more prevalent in the local environment,” adds Beswent Bester, specifying engineer and head of technical at AHI Carrier Toshiba South Africa.

The Toshiba VRF SMMS-u cut sideview. Photo by SANEDI

The SMMS-u can now accommodate capacity of 128 indoor units on one refrigerant circuit where previously this used to be 64 indoor units. The new design has also been changed to a three-sided condenser coil that has more surface area and ties into the units improved energy efficiency. The three-sided option also allows easier access to the condenser cavity and new triple-rotary compressor option. These newly developed compressors offer bigger capacity, energy efficiency, low vibration/sound and durability which are mandatory to implement in advanced VRF systems such as this.

Toshiba is, in fact, one of the few suppliers in the market that has adopted twin and triple rotary compressors specific to VRF systems and supplies this technology to other OEMs. This particular technology has also developed to the point to offer a 120cc compressor capacity, adding to the features enabling the increased unit capacity that is currently configured around R410a refrigerant.

The compressor capacity drives further advantages through longer pipe runs (1 200 metres) as well as vertical height differentials between indoor and outdoor units at 110 metres, while the intelligent VRF control methodology applied distributes the load requirement between the condenser units linked in the bank – thus prolonging the equipment performance lifespan.

Toshiba also notes a 10-year spare parts manufacturing policy after any product is discontinued, with a central warehouse in England stocking parts after a discontinued generation. This offers clients additional comfort that after sales service and maintenance requirements can still be met on their equipment over this period.

“Remote connectivity and controls have also become important for many clients and through our connectivity tools we can accurately pinpoint any linked indoor or outdoor unit that may be giving a problem, look at the refrigerant flow, the temperatures, system conditions and so on, to assist a technician with troubleshooting and suggestions through the simple use of their smartphone. The coronavirus has unfortunately disrupted a lot of the ways we would traditionally have brought this product to market through in-person events and engagement, but we have a lot more information to share and so we invite all interested parties to get in touch to discuss all of the technical details of the SMMS-u VRF unit with us,” concludes Smal.