© 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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