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Sustainability > Key Activities 2012 > Feature: The Embodiment of Daikin CSR Development of Urusara 7

Feature: The Embodiment of Daikin CSR Development of Urusara 7

Human Resources: Concurrent Development System Transcends Company Divisions Shiga Plant Manufacturing Brings Together the Power of Human Resources

First True Test of Daikin's New Development System

A new development system came about because employees wanted to preserve the Daikin spirit of manufacturing. The new system's first target was revolutionary: achieve annual performance factor (APF) 7.0, a target that would require pooling the talents and energies of employees transcending company divisions.

Our Group Philosophy states that "the cumulative growth of all Group members serves as the foundation for the Group's development." This belief formed the basis of a revision of our development system as we embarked on a project that brought together employees from all relevant divisions under a new concurrent system.

Free and Open Discussions Overcome Technical Barriers

Rather than just involving employees in the development and design divisions, we decided from the start of the development process that we needed to make everyone— whether they were from production technology, procurement, the factory, or marketing—a part of the manufacturing process. This allowed all employees to work as a team in preparing for and solving all challenges in all processes (for example, design, assembly of parts based on blueprints, and marketing). By looking ahead through the entire process until final product delivery, we were able to come up with entirely new ideas through constant discussion and debate.

By sharing the ideas and hopes of employees in all divisions in a customer-oriented process that brings out the collective ideal, we were able to both nurture employee talents and create products we could truly be proud of.

A Word from the Project Leader

All Employees Set a Revolutionary Target To Demonstrate the Strength of Japan's Monozukuri

APF is normally raised by between about 0.1 and 0.2 points each year, and this year we felt around 6.6 was a reasonable figure. However, we didn't believe that this was high enough to demonstrate the strength of Japanese manufacturing. We therefore set an extremely high target of APF 7.0 for the Urusara 7 and went about reaching this by revamping all facets of our development culture so that employees in all divisions, be it design, production, procurement, or marketing, could work as one unified team in re-thinking all aspects of the air conditioner— from refrigerant to indoor and outdoor units—from the ground up.

Takahiro Okamoto
Product Development Group, Air Conditioning Manufacturing Division

Takahiro Okamoto Product DevelopmentGroup, Air Conditioning Manufacturing Division

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Environment: Creating a New Design Structure through Ground Up Development New Refrigerant and Structure Achieve Outstanding Air Conditioning Energy-Savings Performance

World's First Product*1 Using New Refrigerant R32

Recent events in Japan like the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011, along with trends like the increase in living rooms larger than 20 square meters, have created a need for air conditioners that heat and cool spacious rooms while achieving low electricity costs. What eventually came out of this need was the use of the new refrigerant R32. Not only is R32 superior in energy savings, with 1.5 times the heat-carrying capacity of conventional refrigerants; it is also effective in mitigating the effects of global warming, with a global warming potential that is one-third that of conventional refrigerants. The difficulty, however, lies in controlling R32. Daikin utilized microfabrication technology to allow optimal control of R32 and developed a heat exchanger that takes full advantage of R32's characteristics. The result was the market release of the world's first air conditioner to use R32 refrigerant.

*1 For residential wall-mounted room air conditioners as of date of release (November 1, 2012).

*2 For residential wall-mounted room air conditioners (40-kW, 5.6-kW class) as of date of release (June 26, 2013).
Seasonal power consumption: AN40PRP model: 1,145 kWh; AN56PRP model: 1,840 kWh

Completely Revamping the Indoor Unit Design Structure to Increase Efficiency

Conventional air conditioners that draw air from the upper part of the unit do not allow sufficient utilization of the heat exchanger on the back of the indoor unit. By redesigning the interior unit from scratch and giving it a specially developed, industry-first*1 flap with dual intake structure so that it sucks air from below, we boosted the efficiency of the heat exchanger.

This quest for energy efficiency resulted in the release of the Urusara 7, an air conditioner with an industry-best*2 APF 7.0. For this revolutionary improvement in energy efficiency, Daikin was honored with the Minister's Prize, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in the Fiscal 2012 Energy Conservation Grand Prize.

Dual Intake Structure

A Word from the Mechanical Design Manager for Indoor Units

Pursuit of Energy-Savings Gives Birth to Circulating Airflow and Even Room Temperature

With conventional air conditioners, cool air tends to stay at floor level. We solved this problem with the new dual intake structure, which although developed to give greater energy savings also ensures greater comfort by evenly distributing the airflow. Using new flaps employing the Coanda effect in which airflow clings to a nearby surface, we succeeded in creating a circulating airflow that draws in air from underneath and sends it quickly along the ceiling to all parts of the room. Air is efficiently circulated, even in spacious living rooms, to enable comfortable air conditioning in half time at even the temperature.

Masanao Yasutomi
Product Development Group, Air Conditioning Manufacturing Division

Masanao Yasutomi Product Development Group,Air Conditioning Manufacturing Division

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Quality and Customer Satisfaction: Giving Consumers the Comfort They Want Performance and Design Reflect the Desires of the Market

Analyzing comfortable airflowAnalyzing comfortable airflow

We conducted multiple simulations of the productin homes and stores to find out what end users and dealers thought about the design.We conducted multiple simulations of the product in homes and stores to find out what end users and dealers thought about the design.

The Urusara 7 was chosen from among 4,662 entrees from 56 countries in the Red Dot Design AwardsThe Urusara 7 was chosen from among 4,662 entrees from 56 countries in the Red Dot Design Awards

Customers Testing and Retail Installation Verification

Daikin listened closely to the opinions of customers and dealers as it verified the performance and design during product development.

We designed the indoor unit of the Urusara 7 to have higher energy efficiency and give users greater comfort. However, these changes also gave it a dimensional depth of 37 cm, which was greater than previous indoor units. We did our best to make the design unobtrusive and conducted tests to learn what users thought of a thicker indoor unit. After installing this thicker unit in showrooms and asking user opinions, results showed that most people understood the energy efficiency and airflow benefits and did not care about the thickness as long as it offered energy-efficient performance. This provided the impetus for us to continue development with this thicker indoor unit. We also installed units in retail stores to get the opinion of dealers.

Working with Researchers to Recreate a Natural Breeze Effect

We also strove to make sure the wind from the Urusara 7 was comfortable on the human body. Working jointly with researchers from the Prefectural University of Kumamoto to analyze the characteristics of wind in nature and improve our airflow control technology, we successfully developed a new flap that can instantly change the direction of airflow, just like natural breeze. All participants in the university experiments said that the new cooling breeze airflow that we developed felt good on the body, even over long periods of time.

As a result of the collective work of many people, the Urusara 7 was an immediate hit in helping Daikin boost its air conditioner sales. It was also lauded for its looks as it took home a prize in the product design category of the prestigious Red Dot Design Awards 2013.

Top Four Reasons Why People Purchased an Urusara 7 Air Conditioner Energy efficiency and comfort made the sale

What Users Are Saying

  • Although it seemed big when I saw it in the store, after having it installed, I found it quite attractive. (30-year-old woman)
  • I've only used the heating function so far, but it keeps my feet warm and it can humidify, so I don't need a separate humidifier. (50-year-old woman)
  • The airflow control and motion sensor give greater comfort than I expected. (60-year-old man)
  • I'm very satisfied that it heats the room evenly, has sufficient heating power, and quickly makes the room comfortable. (30-year-old man)
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