EXCLUSIVE: Airxcel Brands Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

A picture of Anthony Wollschlager, Airxcel Group President

Airxcel wrapped its two-day December Product Showcase on Thursday after hosting its largest OEM crowd in the event’s nine-year history.

Group President Anthony Wollschlager said about 220 representatives pre-registered for the Elkhart, Indiana, showcase. By the time the event closed, he said more than 300 people came through the building to see new products, product improvements and product extensions.

“I was really proud of each of our teams,” Wollschlager said.

Wollschlager said Airxcel leadership challenged each brand mid-year to determine core competencies within the business and whether those skills could be applied to new products in new categories Airxcel had not previously offered.

“We challenged each of our teams to get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” Wollschlager said.

The result was product developments in solid steps, baggage doors, awnings and travel trailer chassis frames—all categories in which Airxcel has not previously offered products.

Wollschlager explained how Suburban identified the steel manufacturing abilities the business has to create water heaters, furnaces and appliances. The team transitioned the competencies to create Suburban Steps.

“A solid step fits within their core competency, and hence they were able to deliver a solid step at the showcase,” Wollschlager said. “We did that with all our teams and the results were fantastic.”

Cleer Vision Windows brought its strengths in bending aluminum to make window frames to create baggage doors. Wollschlager said the company took its primary skill set and used FRP from Vixen Composites and Elkboard from Elkhart Composites, both sister companies, to create the baggage doors displayed at the showcase.

“Going from windows to a baggage door was not a stretch,” he said. “It was exciting to see the team do that.”

Velarium awnings came from Airxcel’s leadership team, which Wollschlager said has more than 100 years of combined experience in awnings. Velarium will be a standalone business within Airxcel, with its own business leader and operational team. The awnings will be assembled in a Velarium manufacturing plant in Elkhart.

A picture of a travel trailer chassis frame outside the Airxcel building in Elkhart, Indiana. A sign on the chassis frame says Manufactured by Airxcel

Airxcel also displayed a travel trailer chassis frame outside the showcase building. Wollschlager said the frame was a sample of what the company could make. Building chassis frames would answer customer requests to get into the category, he said, while adding Airxcel would release more information about frames in the future.

Aqua-Hot displayed a new forced air heating and water system aimed at Type B and Type C motorhomes called Gen 1. Wollschlager said the development was a huge win for Aqua-Hot to enter a category the supplier previously had not been in.

Work on next year’s product showcase begins almost directly after the showcase ends, Wollschlager said. Airxcel is considering moving the event from its traditional December slot to a time in October next year to better align with OEM product placement timelines, he said.

Now, however, Wollschlager said the team follows up with manufacturing representatives and works to build on the showcase’s momentum to gain product placement.

“We are accelerating our sales focus and investing in our sales team,” he said. “We truly believe with the new opportunities, based on our product development, we need that horsepower to bring those opportunities to fruition.”

Suburban Steps

Suburban Steps will be available in narrow (26 to 30 inches) and wide (30 to 36 inches) sizes. Stair trends feature a non-slip surface. Slots enable rain, dirt and gravel to fall to the ground.

“Our goal is to provide a full line of entry step solutions for our OEM partners,” said Troy Nusbaum, Airxcel’s vice president of OEM sales. “As we continue to evolve the design of Suburban’s steps, we are striving for steps that are lighter in weight and easily latch into place by locking in the door frame.”

Among Suburban Steps’ key features is quick adjust leveling feet. Consumers can adjust to their preferred setting with one hand. Steps retract with a button push rather than a pin removal.

“We are designing steps that require less pull force to lift when folding them for storage,” Nusbaum said. “We are listening to what our customers and OEMs are telling us is important to them and that is driving our product design.”

Suburban’s steps are made in the U.S. and have 2-step, 3-step, and 4-step options. To arrange a demo or to learn more, email John Eaton at [email protected].

Cleer Vision Windows Baggage Doors

Cleer Vision’s baggage doors are constructed from single-piece frames that improve structural integrity and reduce leak points, Airxcel said.

An exterior picture of Cleer Vision Windows' new baggage door

“We wanted to bring this product into the market to offer OEMs and our customers a superior baggage door that matches the same integrity and quality as our windows,” said Marc Disher, Cleer Vision sales manager.

The baggage doors are made with a focus on leak resistance, like Cleer Vision’s windows, Disher said. With a new flange design, Cleer Vision baggage doors ease installation.

“Our baggage doors are built with an improved seal that ensures a better fit to prevent water penetration,” Disher said. “The doors have a new slam lock design for easy open and close and a strong seal.”

The new RV baggage door line will be available in mid-2023, Airxcel said, and will be produced under Cleer Vision Doors. To arrange a demo or to learn more about Cleer Vision’s baggage doors, email Disher at [email protected].

Aqua-Hot Gen 1

Aqua-Hot’s Gen 1 Compact Forced Air Heating and Water System provides 10 liters of hot water and creates a comfortable interior environment, Airxcel said.

A picture of Aqua-Hot's new Gen 1 forced air heating and water system

“The introduction of the Gen 1 marks the entry into a new market for Aqua-Hot,” said Mark Davis, business unit manager for Aqua-Hot. “It can be installed on most types of RVs including styles of Class C motorhomes, Class B camper vans, travel trailers, fifth wheels, truck campers, and other comparable sized vehicles.”

Warm air flows to the vehicle’s interior spaces through four air outlets. Air is distributed efficiently to ensure a comfortable climate, Airxcel said. Gen 1 is available in three versions – diesel, gasoline, or propane.

“Gen 1 builds upon Aqua-Hot’s legacy as a trusted partner for luxury comfort heating systems,” Davis said. “These units are competitively priced with other similar products on the market and are designed for easy integration into a new RV or to replace an existing system.”

Gen 1 uses RV-C Open Source technology to integrate control functions into the RV’s general control panel.

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