Tasaki is not a name one would readily associate with air conditioners, but behind the name is a company responsible for many familiar names with a reputation as Thailand's leading air-conditioning innovator.
Bitwise products go through the quality control process.
That's because Bitwise (Thailand), which has established the Tasaki brand, tends to focus its efforts on government contracts, hotels, buildings and industrial uses, not on retail sales.
"We don't want to compete with our original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) brands on quantity," said Somyos Keeratichivanant, Bitwise's founder and managing director.
It all started when Mr Somyos graduated from Prince of Songkla University in 1976.
"After graduation, I took a job at a small refrigerator importer as head of the service department with four others who were mostly sales staff. As the sole engineer, I learned how to fix the fridges myself," he said.
Back then, there was a Sanyo factory in Thailand but with minimal output, so most refrigerators came from Singapore.
"A Singaporean firm planned to open a new factory here, so they asked me to manage their new facility and to train there," Mr Somyos recalled.
"Singaporean firms are very sensitive to political instability, so the failed coup in Thailand by the Young Turks in 1981 made them reconsider their commitment."
Unwilling to let his training go to waste, he convinced his sales manager to invest in a factory.
"I was in charge of production during the day, and in the evening I was doing design work. Basically, I was both the factory manager and the engineer," said Mr Somyos.
In May 1982, Tycoon Engineering was founded, and 90 days later the first air conditioners rolled off the production line.
"Refrigerator manufacturing requires a lot of starting capital because the machinery is expensive. But costs are cheaper for air conditioners, so we decided to do that," said Mr Somyos.
As the only engineer, he worked 12-13 hours a day, seven days a week, for four years. Eventually, a different business philosophy began to emerge.
"Many from a sales background tend to invest heavily in advertising rather than productivity and innovation, and in a way they were successful," he said.
So he left and formed Bitwise (Thailand) in 1988 with 30 staff.
The company is now Thailand's leading producer of air-conditioning products as an OEM and an original-design manufacturer. It also produces Tasaki products.
Looking at the lessons Bitwise has learned from the past, Mr Somyos said the 1997 financial crisis was perhaps the most difficult one.
Suddenly, 80% of OEM products sold on the domestic market disappeared, and exports alone were not enough to sustain the company.
"It was the only time I ever considered lay-offs as an option," Mr Somyos said. "We did the only thing we could, which was to reduce working days and try to find new export markets."
The process took Bitwise three months to accomplish, but the crisis brought a new opportunity.
"Tasaki was introduced after the 1997 financial crisis, when we realised if we did OEM for other brands and their sales fell, we did not have our own brand, and that could be a problem," he said.
Mr Somyos said innovation is the key to coping with the influx of cheap Chinese products that many industries face.
"Industries need to adjust," he said, adding that Bitwise has shifted its focus to specialised needs for customers.
"Thailand cannot compete in labour-intensive industries any more, as other countries have lower labour costs. But if you learn how to design a brand, then in the long run you will be able to compete."
Innovation is not something that happens overnight. It is a long-term process that requires investment in people and technology. If there is no innovation, then companies will always be playing catch-up, said Mr Somyos.
Bitwise collaborated with the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center from 2006-10 to become the first manufacturer to produce inverter air conditioners.
"I'm a firm believer that a good engineer should not remain at the table because you won't learn anything. You need to work in the field," Mr Somyos said.
Part of Bitwise's culture is to keep an open mind to innovations and disseminate the knowledge to industry peers and educational institutions.
"You won't see any ads for Tasaki, but we're the strongest producer of air conditioners in Thailand in terms of employees, machinery and innovation," he said.
By focusing on innovation, the lack of exposure has not hindered Bitwise's reputation.
"Many in the industry already know who we are thanks to our products. There was a client looking for a server room cooling system, and he asked people in the industry in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. They all recommended Bitwise," said Mr Somyos.
'I delegate most design work to the engineers so that they can learn how to solve problems themselves. If I micromanage too much, they won't learn."
Bitwise has annual sales of 2 billion baht and 500 staff including 30 engineers. The company is still located in the same building in Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district that Mr Somyos built by hand 25 years ago.
Mr Somyos reminisced about how far Bitwise has come. "I could always attribute it to chance," he said. "But I think it was being in the right place at the right time."
Parts are left to dry after having been painted.