‘Ikhtibar’: First independent climate control lab testing company in Middle East launched
The first independent laboratory for testing climate control solutions has been launched in Saudi Arabia by Zamil Air Conditioners (ZAC), a unit of Zamil Industrial Investment Company and a leading Middle East and international manufacturer of air conditioning systems.
‘Ikhtibar’, located in the Eastern Province city of Dammam, offers air conditioning manufacturers and importers a comprehensive range of performance tests for consumer and commercial air conditioners and chillers. It also has a key role in supporting research and development (R&D) initiatives in the Heating Ventilation and Air conditioning (HVAC) industry in the Middle East.
According to Ahmed A. Al Zamil, President, ZAC, the launch comes at an opportune time in the development of the HVAC industry in the region and in particular with the Kingdom’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“There is increasing commoditization of air conditioning products in Saudi Arabia as well as across the entire region that don’t comply with the requirements of these markets. This is being driven by an acceleration of imports of inferior products and we believe this will be further compounded by the eradication of import restrictions following our entry into the WTO along with various Free Trade Agreements currently being signed and in various stages of implementation region-wide. With Ikhtibar-tested products consumers can be secure in the knowledge that the air conditioners they use meet the most stringent local and international quality standards and this directly relates to performance integrity, reliability and ultimately investment protection.”
Ikhtibar’s specialized testing and inspection services are available for all ranges of local and imported consumer and central air conditioning products as well as chillers. In compliance with local and international certification programs its tests cover operating performance, cooling capacity, energy consumption, air flow, sound level and durability. It also inspects all internal components according to the requirements of the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO). In addition, its certification programs also include the American Refrigeration Institute (ARI), Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) and Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), among others.
The independent Ikhtibar already has a long legacy having previously been part of Zamil Air Conditioners (ZAC) as its Air Conditioning Technology Center (ATC). Built in 1982 by Intertek Testing Services (ITS), the US global leader in testing, inspection and certification services, the lab has been instrumental in helping ZAC command its position as a leading Middle East and international manufacturer of air conditioning systems. The strategic value of the ATC in testing ZAC-manufactured products and its contribution to the company’s R&D efforts have enabled the launch of new innovative and regionally relevant products, all of which conform with the highest quality standards.
Following the success of the ATC, and despite increasing competition, ZAC began offering external clients the opportunity to use the services of its ATC as part of the company’s commitment to the region’s communities to ensure - as far as possible - the air conditioning products they use are of superior quality. To date, over SAR 20 million has been invested to expand and upgrade the lab’s premises and capabilities.
“Ikhtibar is already well respected, having earned a sound reputation not only within Zamil Air Conditioners and by our stakeholders but also by competitors who understand and respect the leadership of our products. This has been largely driven by the contribution of the ATC and this will continue into the future with Ikhtibar,” concluded Ahmed Al Zamil.