It’s not often that a completely new business enters the boiler market. KD Navien, a global manufacturer based in South Korea, is bringing its combi boilers to the UK, offering installers an alternative to the traditional brands. HVP visited its factory to find out more.

Many countries are known around the world for excellence in a particular sector. Germany is known for its automotive engineering, for example, while Italy is famous for its fashion design.

South Korea, meanwhile, is known across the world for the quality of its electronics, with companies like Samsung

and LG being market leaders in their various fields. Now another company, KD Navien, is looking to add boiler technology to the list of product sectors that the country is known for in the UK.

Established in 1978, the company was the first in Asia to introduce condensing boilers, and has been developing that technology for the past 30 years.

Now, KD Navien exports boilers and water heaters to 35 countries. These include sending water heating technology to both Russia and the United States, where the company is the market leader for condensing water heaters.

Having established itself as a quality manufacturer across four continents, the company has now brought its gas combi boilers to the UK market, as it looks to expand into Europe.

“As the second largest condensing boiler market in the world, the UK is one of the most important markets for KD Navien’s global strategy,” explained managing director Harrison Kim. “The UK has the largest condensing boiler market in the world, and that’s an area where we are very strong globally.”

Navien’s manufacturing facilities are certainly impressive. With four large, automated factories across Korea, combined the business can produce over

2.7 million boilers each year. Manufacturing its own components is something that Navien UK believes improves the reliability of its products, as well as enabling it to respond to installer feedback faster, as it develops new product ranges to cater for the specific needs of UK installers.

Navien in the UK

The company opened the Navien UK subsidiary in 2014, starting with its SEDBUK A-rated NCB gas combi boiler range.

Despite its large global presence, KD Navien is taking its time to get to know the UK market, gradually developing its merchant distribution network and working with installers to introduce them to the brand and its products.

Currently, the NCB range is available in branches of independent plumbers’ merchant HPS across London and the south east of England, as well as in a number of branches of Plumbase in the Midlandsand the north of England.

While Navien acknowledges that the UK boiler market is a congested one in terms of product, the company believes that it can offer something different to installers, by providing a high-quality product at a highly competitive price.

Graham Parkes, Navien UK’s sales and marketing director, who has previously worked at both British Gas and for other UK boiler manufacturers, explained: “We believe UK heating engineers are ready for something different,” he said.

“I was always taught that the best way to tell the quality of a boiler is to weigh it, because the heavier it is, then the more metal it has inside – brass and steel weigh more than composite plastic. Our boilers contain brass components and both the primary and secondary heat exchangers are constructed of stainless steel.

“I think there’s a real desire for change within the industry. People want something different and we can offer them that – a premium brand at a mid-range price, backed up by quality from the Korean manufacturing.”

Since it first entered the UK market, Navien UK has been busy establishing its in-house sales team to help support installers. All are former service engineers, who collectively have years of experience fitting boilers across the UK and so can offer technical advice to installers as they try Navien’s products for the first time.

Talking tech

The Navien Condensing NCB gas combi unit offers flue lengths of up to 110 metres, as well as an IPX5D rating for total siting flexibility.

Available as a system boiler with outputs of 20, 23, 28 and 33kW, and in hot water capacities of 24, 28, 34 and 40kW, the NCB-40LSWE combination boiler model provides a turndown ratio of 10:1 for efficiency.

To provide a straightforward user interface, the NCB boiler features a blue touchscreen for total control of heating and hot water temperatures. The screen also provides service engineers with details of how efficiently the unit is performing.

Constructed in stainless steel and brass for reliability and high efficiency, the NCB range is suitable for use with both natural gas or LPG fuels straight out of the box, without the need to purchase a conversion kit.

The NCB also comes Open Therm-ready, to give users instant access to the latest control technology.

An optional outdoor weather compensation sensor enables the boiler to run in condensing mode for longer, while there is also a Quick DHW supply function and an ECO button for water and energy savings.

The boilers are supplied with a six-year warranty, while the long flue lengths mean it can even be installed outside if necessary.

The boiler can be combined with Navien’s other product ranges, which include water heaters, smart controls, cooling products and microCHP systems, to provide the UK heating industry with a wide range of solutions for both domestic and light commercial applications.