Seeley: Adelaide's Air Conditioning Innovators

Seeley: Adelaide's Air Conditioning Innovators
7 Oct, 2020

When it comes to Australian air conditioning brands, what name comes to mind? In fact, when you think of air conditioning Adelaide, is there a name that jumps into your brain?

There should be. Seeley International.

In 1972, Frank Seeley decided to leave the world of portable evaporative cooling sales and star manufacturing his own.

Starting from his garage in Adelaide, Frank built an internationally recognised company which is Australia’s largest manufacturer of heating and cooling systems.

After 45 years Seeley is still based out of Adelaide as well, and Australians can all thank Frank for the plastic evaporative cooling units perched atop many households.

An Adelaide Air Conditioning Salesman Becomes an Innovator

Frank Seeley’s opening into the industry was as an Adelaide air conditioning salesman. In the early 1970s, he sold portable evaporative coolers, a slight luxury during a time where fewer homes had cooling.

While others would be fairly keen to get out of air conditioning sales, Frank actually believed he could improve the industry.

Working out of his own garage, Frank decided to leave sales and begin building evaporative coolers himself in 1972.

It was a bold move which would quickly pay off. Within his first year, he had built 1,000 portable evaporative coolers!

However, Frank wanted to do more. He had noticed one glaring fault with air conditioners at the time.

They were made of metal and those parts corroded quickly, impacting the efficiency of evaporative air conditioners.

But Frank knew there was a simple solution. It was an idea other manufacturers knocked back, yet he powered on.

The First All-Plastic Evaporative Cooler

Starting out with portable evaporative air conditioners, rooftop coolers were the next step.

It proved to be a global breakthrough by Seeley, helping the Australian air conditioning market turn a corner and make a great leap forward.

A local South Australian manufacturer was suddenly producing high quality air conditioners which rivalled international competitors.

Seeley’s all-plastic evaporative cooling units ignited a national boom which saw rooftop cooling ownership increase by almost 600 per cent.

Frank’s creation became the norm and raised the bar for decades to come.

21st Century Adelaide Air Conditioning

Adelaide can still claim Seeley International as its own. Frank’s company still manufactures a wide range of heating and cooling products in the southern suburb of Lonsdale.

Nationally, Seeley also operates out of Albury in New South Wales, with a pair of US manufacturing plants in Denver and Sacramento. Global exports are spread across more than 120 countries.

Almost 50 years since Seeley originated in the garage of an Adelaide salesman, the air conditioning giant remains a leader in the industry. Across four factories it produces over 80,000 heating and cooling units and 1.5 million parts.

It’s still family owned, too. And recognised with a range of brand names, including Breezair, Braemar, Coolair, Climate Wizard, Convair and Coolerado.

Seeley International’s Latest Exploits

Seeley has its fingers in many cookie jars. Evaporative cooling, gas ducted heating, split systems and ducted cooling are all products they produce.

With a team of over 20 engineers, they continue to develop energy efficient systems, too. For example, the Coolerado uses up to 80 per cent less energy than the average reverse cycle air con.

The desire to keep improving is why Frank, who remains Executive Chairman of Seeley, believes the future is bright for Adelaide air conditioning.

During a chat with Innovation SA, a South Australian Government initiative, Frank said:

“Innovation is not something that you do once.

“There’s a great future for South Australian manufacturing providing we do two things.

“We have to innovate, and innovate like there’s no tomorrow.”

At Metropolitan Air Conditioning we love to innovate and use Seeley International’s globally acclaimed products.

We service and supply all of their top range residential brands, including Braemar, Coolair and Breezair.

As two companies which originated in Adelaide, Metropolitan Air Conditioning is proud to stock Seeley products.

When you need evaporative cooling serviced or gas ducted heating maintenance – and everything in between – you can call the team here at Metropolitan Air Conditioning!