© KD Navien

Korea’s Number One gets Fired Up

Heating technology manufacturer KD Navien wanted to develop a condensing boiler that could work reliably even under the most adverse conditions. With technology from ebm-papst, they have reached their goal.

Kyung Dong Navien, or just KD Navien, is in many ways the number one company in its industry. Founded in 1978, the heating technology company, which is headquartered in Seoul, was the first manufacturer to develop and produce gas condensing heating in all of Asia. Now, it is the biggest-selling producer of boilers in Korea, in terms of both domestic and international sales. In addition, KD Navien has the most patents out of all companies in this sector in the country, and maintains the largest research and development team. It is also taking the lead in terms of green technologies. With all this in mind, KD Navien has every reason to look to the future with optimism. Especially as the government, like many other countries, has set itself the goal of making Korea climate-neutral from 2050. Therefore, since 2020, only environmentally low-impact condensing boilers have been permitted for re-installation. This is also good news for the Korean market leader KD Navien, who can now hope for even greater demand.

Blowers for all extremes

With the NFB-C condense boiler, KD Navien has developed a device that functions efficiently and reliably even under adverse conditions. (Photo | KD Navien)

The company became successful by manufacturing boilers for private households. To tap into new markets, KD Navien decided to expand into the commercial sector as well. Schools, gyms, small companies and large residential complexes also all require heat from efficient devices.

So the engineers got busy developing a boiler for the power range of up to 120 kilowatts. It should also work reliably in harsh conditions – in other words, it must be able to cope with extreme cold, high altitudes, and voltage fluctuations in the grid so that it is also suitable for export to China, Russia and the USA. One part is still missing – a blower for the gas/air composite system that is suitable for these conditions.

Normally, KD Navien insists that all the components be produced in-house. But given the lower batch sizes in this power range compared to the boilers in the private sector, the developers took a different approach on this occasion and decided to work with ebm-papst.

Double-tested keeps better

This worked out well for Kun Sub Lee. The Managing Director of the Korean subsidiary of ebm-papst has long been trying to go into business with Korea’s number one boiler manufacturer. Now, his chance had finally arrived: “With the RG 148 fan platform, we had exactly the right product for the application. And we already had the UL certificate that is so important for the US market.” With this, a major obstacle to exporting to the USA had already been cleared. Yet although the fan had already proven itself in practice time and time again, the engineers at the Korean manufacturer wanted to get to know it more closely. Therefore, they subjected the component to tests once again, including temperature, humidity and vibration tests, which ebm-papst had already performed as standard. It is perfection that has made KD Navien successful, and that means leaving nothing to chance. The RG 148 lived up to its promise, so Lee won the contract.

KD Navien is the No. 1 among Korea’s heating technology manufacturers and has developed Asia’s first gas condensing boiler. (Photo | KD Navien)

Since, alongside China and the USA, Russia is an important target market for boilers, ebm-papst modified the electronics to make them less susceptible to interference. Lee explains: “The power grids there are much less stable than in Europe or North America, for example, but this must not impair the fan’s reliability.”

 The boiler is now on the market under the series name NFB-C. If a higher heating power is required, several units can be connected in cascade mode. Until now, the fan in the boiler has performed very well in practice without any problems. KD Navien is therefore also planning to use ebm-papst’s products again for the next-highest performance class.

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