Tech Talk

A cool path to success

Since David Saliba and Lino Debono launched their first Coolabah air conditioning unit into the market over four years ago, the business has celebrated a number of milestones – and with lots of exciting developments currently under way, the future is looking very bright too. 

The past 12 months have included everything from reaching a major sales milestone and offering an increased warranty, to developing new products, including one that should be on the market before the year’s end.

Saliba and Debono have been in business together for over 25 years and were fitting air conditioning units by other manufacturers for many years. Their business, MVM Auto, first began fitting air conditioning units to trucks in the 1990s.

Saliba soon became the go-to product developer for many air conditioning companies. He helped to design and build models that included the Viesa Compressor and Koolkat.

Around five years ago, the timing was right for the duo to develop their own brand, and with that Coolabah was born. Unlike some other units on offer, the Coolabah unit heats and cools.

After producing the first Coolabah unit at their facilities in Newcastle, Sydney, it underwent rigorous testing for about 12 months before going into full-scale production.

Coolabah Lithium batteries warranty now increased to five years.

By April 2021, they had sold 1000 units. Fast forward five months, and sales now sit at over 1300 units and counting.

“Business is continually improving. Customer retention and customer recommendations have been great. What we’re seeing is that customers who have our unit are recommending it to others in the industry, and then they’re also jumping on board,” said Saliba. 

From September, Coolabah has also increased the warranty of its lithium battery, which has gone up from three years to five. “We’ve been able to come up with a new technology that looks after the battery better. Obviously as technology improves, the battery life also improves,” explained Saliba.

“We’ve included an active balancer in our batteries that makes sure the cells are always balanced. Because of active balancing, we can now offer our customers a better warranty.”

With the success of the Coolabah unit, Saliba and Debono are looking to expand their product offering, with a rear wall unit called the Koala set to be next in line. 

“We’re in the process of testing a rear wall unit that mounts on the back wall of the truck cabin. We have a couple of prototypes out there that we’re testing at the moment and they’ve been going great. We are hoping for full production to start by the end of November,” said Saliba. 

He added that Coolabah is also in the process of developing a lower cost unit targeted at larger fleets. “The price of the standard unit can deter some of the larger fleets from coming on board because there are some simpler and cheaper units coming in from overseas. The controller on our normal unit is very sophisticated, whereas this would use a standard thermostat and controller instead. So we’re creating a simpler model to cater to this segment of the market.”

To add, Coolabah now has a 30-amp dual voltage charger in the mix too. “We used to have separate chargers for 12 and 24 volt trucks, but now we have one charger that can do both. And it’s a much more reliable unit,” Saliba said. 

Summer is just around the corner and is the busiest time of year for Coolabah, so book in quick before the heat of summer takes hold. 

For more information, please visit coolabahdcac.com or call 02 9833 1900.

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