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Convenience Store Decisions: Gaining Operational Efficiency from BMS Insight

ronchapek_2 Ron Chapek | Director of Product Management, ProAct Enterprise Software Services

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

As convenience stores continue to evolve to adapt to changing customer demands and infrastructure and facility requirements, operators are under increasing pressure to gain operational efficiencies. Of growing importance in this effort are the intelligent applications that allow operators to effectively use the data gathered by building management systems (BMS) and environmental monitoring systems (EMS).

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The challenge of building intelligent applications is to effectively convert rapidly expanding and disparate data sources into visually insightful, prescriptive, actionable and value-adding graphical interfaces across multiple stakeholder departments with a diverse range of usage and persona types. Historically, the static application data was gathered or delivered late, making it hard to determine the action to take. Now with intelligent applications, you have the ability to make decisions and take actions faster on more current data.

Before you can take advantage of these new intelligent applications there are four building blocks to consider putting in place:

  1. Modern Data Architecture that delivers access to a wide variety of data at high velocity and scale.
  2. Advanced Analytics, the science of using a wide variety of data to understand factors that impact customer experience.
  3. Smart Devices all gathering data and sending it through the architecture.
  4. Real-Time Business making decisions in real-time.

Before you take the first step in your intelligent application, think about the business value. Then you will be in a position to effectively use the data to increase operational efficiencies.

For more information, read the full article in Convenience Store Decisions online here.

[New E360 Webinar] Using Technology to Help Meet Modern Refrigeration Challenges

benpicker Ben Picker | Copeland Units Project Manager

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Join us for our next E360 Webinar, “Using Technology to Help Meet Modern Refrigeration Challenges” on Thursday, December 7 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you’re a supermarket, restaurant, mixed retailer or convenience store operator, successfully navigating today’s commercial refrigeration landscape is no small feat. From regulatory complexities, new refrigerant considerations and energy-efficiency targets to food safety requirements and servicing frustrations, today’s operators face a perfect storm of refrigeration challenges.

The silver lining in this scenario is that these complexities have ushered in a new era of refrigeration technologies. In the past several years, equipment and component manufacturers have made great strides in developing modern equipment and system technologies that address many of these concerns.

In our next E360 Webinar, I will take a closer look at a wide range of technologies and explain how they can be used to solve today’s countless operator challenges. Examples include:

  • Electronic controls for temperature tracking and smart defrosting
  • On-board compressor diagnostics for improved servicing
  • Energy-efficient scroll compression technology
  • Multi-refrigerant compressor capabilities

As we’ve discussed previously in our E360 webinars, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to refrigeration system design. But, as the industry continues its transition to the next generation of refrigeration architectures, many of these technologies will become integral to these systems.

So, if you’re interested in learning how you can leverage these technologies to reduce operational complexities and address your specific challenges, please join me on Thursday, December 7 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

Mining Apprenticeship Opportunities to Bridge the Refrigeration Gap

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Apprenticeship Opportunities.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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Through our E360 Outlook magazines and E360 Forums, my colleague Bob Labbett and I have talked at length about the growing technician shortage facing our industry; it’s something we refer to as the refrigeration gap. After facilitating many conversations with stakeholders to address this challenge, we have formed the basis of a solution that focuses on four key areas: awareness, recruitment, training and retention. But we are always looking for creative ways to achieve these objectives.

A recent announcement by the Trump administration about doubling the budget of the federal apprenticeship program piqued our curiosity. Not only were we largely unaware of the program, we were intrigued about its potential for addressing our industry’s technician shortage. To learn more, we put two summer interns at The Helix to work on researching feasibility of the program. Here’s what we dug up.

Relatively low HVACR participation

After poring through the Department of Labor’s (DOL) apprenticeship section of their website, one of the first things we discovered was that HVACR participation in the program was quite low. While there were more than 200,000 active participants in Registered Apprenticeship (RA) programs in 2016, HVACR only accounted for 3,135 of these. Electricians topped this list with 41,489 active apprentices. We quickly realized that our industry has a runway of opportunity that is largely untapped.

Federally funded, state operated

Another key fact we uncovered about the program is that “the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) works in conjunction with independent State Apprenticeship Agencies (SAAs) to administer the program nationally.” What this means is that RA programs are enacted at the state level after meeting the DOL’s apprenticeship standards. What’s more, an individual employer, group of employers, or an industry association can also sponsor an RA program, sometimes in partnership with a labor organization.

Technical schools and colleges play a vital role

The OA is also focused on helping educators build college-to-career pipelines in a variety of occupations through the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium (RACC). RACC is a national network of post-secondary institutions, employers, unions and associations working to create opportunities for apprentice graduates who may want to further enhance their skills by completing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

Even high school-level vocational institutions and career centers can get involved in pre-apprenticeship programs to help students explore career opportunities and become an apprentice while they’re still in high school.

The Internet of Refrigeration

Dean Landeche_Blog Dean Landeche | V.P. of Marketing , Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I contributed to an article published in Condenser magazine. The focus of the piece was to analyze how networked equipment is aiming to improve safety and operations.

 The Internet of Things – an increasingly massive network of electronically connected systems, devices and people that enables cross-platform data sharing – is creating a large, connected ecosystem across many industries, including refrigeration.

woman choosing ice cream at grocery store freezer

There is continuing growth in remote monitoring with all types of refrigeration equipment, driven largely by the need to safeguard consumers and food, manage energy use, and provide a consistent, effective maintenance program.

Retail groceries have long recognized the importance of connected refrigeration systems, and have high adoption rates of connected devices. Previously, the primary focus was operating alerts and alarms to indicate problems. Now with more points of connection, more sophisticated data from embedded sensor and controllers and advanced analytics capabilities in the ‘big data’ world, the focus has changed to creating more insights that drive specific decisions and actions.

There is much more interest and use of information to prompt action in advance, based on opportunities and trends identified in data patterns rather than reacting to failure modes and alerts. Applied at the system, site and enterprise levels, those types of insight-driven actions have huge implications for cost-saving, labor productivity, maintenance improvement, food safety and more.

Through remote monitoring, equipment owners and their service providers can often detect problems, as they emerge rather than after-the-fact in an emergency breakdown. Major food safety risk and food loss is often avoided, and system operation can be maintained through proactive efforts. The adoption of remote monitoring for refrigerant leak detection is also becoming more common. Advanced data can often identify small leaks up to 30 days prior to discovery by leak detectors.

Today’s smarter systems are making it easier, faster, and highly reliable to implement equipment monitoring and performance processes.

Read the full article here.

 

[E360 Webinar Recap] Achieving Capacity Modulation With Digital Retrofits

anijayanth Ani Jayanth | Director, Product Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

 

VIEW our latest E360 Webinar on demand, “Utilizing Digital Retrofits to Achieve Capacity Modulation.”

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The integration of a digital compressor into an existing rack to achieve capacity (or load) modulation is a technique often referred to as a digital retrofit. In our most recent E360 Webinar, “Utilizing Digital Retrofits to Achieve Capacity Modulation,” Chris Raffel explained the principles behind digital technology and its potential benefits.

In theory, digital capacity modulation can improve any system with varying load requirements, including: supermarket and foodservice refrigeration; commercial AC; walk-in coolers/freezers; refrigerated warehousing; and process chillers and air dryers. A recent emphasis on deploying systems with lower global warming potential refrigerants is prompting many supermarket retailers to make changes to their existing refrigeration systems — thus presenting digital retrofit opportunities.

Why go digital?

Digital compression technology addresses many of the challenges of traditional refrigeration systems by enabling the benefits of capacity modulation:

  • Reduced compressor cycling
  • Increased contactor life/system reliability
  • Enhanced system load match capability
  • Tighter suction setpoint range
  • Improved energy efficiency

The relationship between suction pressure and energy efficiency is particularly noteworthy. We estimate compressor power consumption is reduced by approximately 2 percent for every 1 PSI increase in suction pressure. When the suction pressure is held tighter, as is the case in digital retrofit systems, the suction setpoint may also be raised. It’s here where significant energy savings from digital capacity modulation can be achieved.

Principles of digital modulation

Both Copeland Scroll Digital™ and Discus Digital™ compressors work according to a similar principle: varying the percentage of time that the compressor is loaded and unloaded to achieve the desired load requirements. For example, if the required capacity is 50% during a 20-second period, the compressor may be fully loaded for 10 seconds and completely unloaded for the remaining 10 seconds.

Regardless of the load/unload state, the speed of the digital compressor speed remains constant. During the unloaded stage of the compression cycle, the flow of suction gas is completely closed off to the cylinders; no gas is compressed and power consumption is significantly lower. A solenoid valve controls the gas flow; when it is deenergized, the suction gas resumes flow into the cylinders and normal compression resumes.

When to make the move to digital

System redesign, refrigerant changes or a compressor replacement are all viable opportunities to install a digital compressor to act as the lead compressor in a rack. In doing so, retailers will not only significantly improve refrigeration system performance, but also potentially prolong the life of the other compressors on the rack. I demonstrated this concept in the webinar with data that showed a clear reduction in compressor cycling — in one case going from 900 starts per day to 12 starts in four days.

To learn more about digital retrofits with capacity modulation, view this webinar in its entirety

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