Skip to content

Archive for

Equipment Investments for Increased Customer Engagement

I was recently featured in an article for the Grocery Headquarters 2016 Equipment, Design and Operations Handbook. Below are some highlights around in-store equipment investments.

Grocery Headquarters EDO Handbook 2016_cover

We know that the demands of today’s consumers are increasing while their time is decreasing. Food retailers are addressing this trend by focusing their efforts on fresh, specialty and convenient offerings – which has prompted a need to think about the impact on store-level equipment.

In this Grocery Headquarters article, the editor discusses the criticality of the “fourth wall of retailing” – a term coined by the theater industry about the separation between the audience and stage. Grocers are aiming to break down the wall with consumers by focusing on their senses. They want to create “a more interactive, community-centric shopping experience.”

More supermarket consumer engagement is happening in perimeter departments, especially where fresh foods are on display. Safe, efficient equipment is needed and downtime is not an option.

We’ve seen that when retailers use a “cost-focused” mindset to procure equipment at lower prices, it may not last. Grocers should use a lifecycle approach in reviewing equipment to retain its value and achieve better operating levels. With attention on maintenance and upkeep, equipment performance will be extended and staff training costs can be reduced.

To read more about how grocers are investing in equipment and lighting to better engage with shoppers, read the full article here (subscription required).

 For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

Paul Hepperla
Director, New Solutions Development & Enterprise Product Management
Emerson Climate Technologies

 

Wear Green To Celebrate Safety

June is National Safety Month and at Emerson, safety is at the core of our values. We strive to maintain a safe work environment for all of our employees through leadership, employee engagement, a thriving safety culture, and robust safety practices.

Safety is important in our daily activities within Emerson but safety month allows us to highlight this core value in different ways. This year, we asked our employees around the world to wear green to show their support for safety. By doing so, they show that safety is not just a “manufacturing” initiative, it must be an “us” initiative. Everyone must be committed to work safely.

Safety-Month-Emerson

Over the next week, we will highlight more from our safety month celebrations and we want to hear from you on how you work safely.

#WearGreenForSafety

Keith Thomas
Global Safety & Security Leader
Emerson Climate Technologies

Europe’s Propane Refrigeration Proliferation

As R-290-based refrigeration becomes more commonplace in the E.U., is the U.S. far behind?

The use of propane (R-290) as a refrigerant in commercial refrigeration is the subject of much debate in the U.S. Its A3, flammable classification conjures up negative connotations in the minds of operators, technicians and public officials alike — beliefs that when examined closer are largely unfounded. But in Europe, the use of R-290 based equipment is well into its second decade and continues to play a big role. Some leading retailers are even making it a cornerstone of their refrigeration portfolio. How this may influence R-290 perceptions and its subsequent adoption in the U.S. remains to be seen. We can, however, evaluate R-290’s early adoption in Europe and speculate on its path toward commercialization in the U.S.

Europe-Propane-Refrig

When it comes to adherence to environmentally sound practices, the European Union (E.U.) and its member countries have consistently been ahead of the curve. The E.U.’s F-gas regulations were among the world’s first actions to phase down hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants in favor of low global warming potential (GWP) natural alternatives. At the same time, consumer, OEM and retailer preferences for sustainable goods and eco-friendly systems contributed to driving compliance with these regulations. It’s no surprise then that Europe has led the way in the adoption of natural refrigerants in commercial refrigeration — including R-290.

From an environmental perspective, R-290 is among an elite class of viable green alternatives to many of the industry’s most common high-GWP refrigerants. It’s a naturally occurring hydrocarbon (HC) with a GWP of 3 and 0 ozone depletion potential (ODP). R-290 is a highly refined grade of the fossil fuel propane, and although flammable, it is non-toxic in nature.

R-290’s green potential doesn’t stop there. Its excellent thermodynamic properties — such as pressure, low back pressure, volumetric capacity, capacity and coefficient of performance — are very similar to R-22, even outperforming it in certain parameters. In Emerson Climate Technologies’ test labs and published studies alike, R-290 consistently outperforms R-404A in energy efficiencies.

In the U.S., the R-290 picture is quite different. The U.S. is generally much more hesitant to view the IEC standard for the 150g charge limit as a rubber stamp to move forward with R-290 commercial refrigeration installations. In the absence of national R-290 safety standards, even applications with small charge limits are subject to the authority of state and local governance, as well as fire marshal jurisdiction — and these differ drastically from region to region.

As a result, commercial adoption has been limited primarily to the most established grocers, foodservice outlets and small format retailers who are 1) willing to absorb the cost required to achieve requisite safety assessments and certifications, and 2) seeking to meet corporate sustainability objectives.

In recent years, the U.S. regulatory climate has brought R-290 back into industry and public awareness. First, in 2011 the EPA listed R-290 as acceptable, subject to use conditions, for use in certain commercial refrigeration regulations, keeping the IEC recommendation for a 150g charge limit. More recently, the EPA also instituted the phase-down of R-404A and other common refrigerants over the next several years. On a parallel timetable, the DOE has mandated significant energy reductions in commercial refrigeration equipment, thereby favoring the use of systems and refrigerants that produce high energy efficiencies.

The combination of these two regulations is motivating OEMs and the entire refrigeration supply chain to try and meet both objectives in a single design cycle. While R-290 is one of the few approved refrigerants capable of satisfying both regulatory actions, the lack of a national safety standard is still a barrier toward wider U.S. adoption.

Efforts to establish national standards are in motion, not only for R-290, but potentially for a new class of A2L, (mildly flammable) hydrofluoroolefin refrigerant blends — some of which have yet to be EPA approved. UL, ASHRAE, ISO and IEC are all working to develop and evolve their standards to align with market trends, some of which may be finalized in the coming year.

Even with the existing barriers to R-290 adoption, the EPA approval of R-290 in 2011 prompted some of the larger foodservice and small format retailers to work through their OEMs to introduce light commercial equipment to the market. And with the promise of a true national standard, more OEMs are in the process of developing complete lines of R-290 based equipment.

As the E.U.’s international standards continue to evolve, the industry is appealing for the option to increase the 150g refrigerant charge limit to much higher allowable charges. Should this become enacted, there’s no question it will influence the emerging standards in the U.S., where the possibility of increasing the charge limit to 300g is already being discussed. This would add flexibility to system design and help transition R-290 to larger commercial applications.

One very important question remains to be answered: will the U.S. refrigeration industry allow the many benefits of R-290 to outweigh its perceived risks?

This blog is a summary of the article Europe’s Propane Refrigeration Proliferation from our recent edition of E360 Outlook. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Allen Wicher
Director of Marketing
Emerson Climate Technologies

 

 

 

Connect to E360 and Continue the Dialogue

In 2014, we set out to create an industry-wide dialogue that would address the four “E’s” impacting commercial refrigeration: energy, environment, equipment and economics. We call this initiative E360 for two reasons: 1) Because it takes a 360-degree view of these four key concerns, and 2) It invites the participation of the entire channel of OEMs, wholesalers, end users and contractors.

E360_Graphic

For this initiative to be successful, we sought each of your diverse perspectives to shape and drive the conversation. Thankfully, you have answered the call and engaged in many E360-sponsored events. Here’s a snapshot of your participation to date:

  • E360 Forums: nearly 700 attendees have joined our five events across the U.S.; 1,700 watched these sessions on-demand through our YouTube channel.
  • E360 Webinars: close to 5,500 of you have attended a live Webinar, with another 2,600 viewing these events on YouTube or on-demand at our website.
  • E360 Outlook: we’ve distributed roughly 5,000 printed copies of our first five editions; an additional 2,600 were downloaded from our website.

The shifting regulatory landscape in the past two years has made this industry dialogue even more critical as we build consensus on the path forward. We will continue to seek your insights as the conversation continues and E360 evolves. If you’re not able to attend any of our events, we encourage you to connect with us via any of the following methods:

  • YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/EmersonClimateTech. Here you’ll find video playlists from both our E360 Webinars and Forums.
  • LinkedIn group: simply log into your LinkedIn profile, search for E360, and join the group to catch up on recent industry news, information and topics of discussion.
  • E360 section of our website: com/E360: From this portal you can download or view previous E360 Outlook editions, archived Webinars and Forum session presentations.
  • Twitter and Facebook: twitter.com/emersonclimate and www.facebook.com/emerson.climate.technologies. Connect with us here for the latest updates and join the conversations.

And, as always, feel free to reach us through our E360 email address at e360.climate@emerson.com with questions, ideas and contributions. We all have quite a bit of work to do to prepare for the road ahead. It’s more important than ever that we keep the lines of communication open and collaborate toward our common goals.

This blog originally appeared in our recent edition of E360 Outlook. Click here to read the issue in its entirety.

Don Newlon
V.P./G.M. Refrigeration Marketing
Emerson Climate Technologies

 

Five Advantages of Connected Technology for Contractors

I recently wrote an article featured in Contracting Business discussing a prominent industry trend: IoT and connected technology.

The adoption of new connected technology has a ripple effect in various areas of the industry. No one knows this better than contractors installing and servicing HVACR equipment. From supermarket to convenience stores and foodservice operators, connected technology can help to improve facility operations, reduce maintenance visits and ultimately lead to lower costs and more satisfied customers.

Fahlgren_Emerson_1_8_16-104

This technology is now being called the Internet of Things (IoT) — a network of products like ovens and refrigerated cases that collectively gather and exchange data — which provides valuable insights to make retail businesses more nimble. In turn, contractors can use this technology to provide better service.

Here are five key advantages:

  1. Quicker, more accurate installations

Many facilities currently use similar systems for HVAC. Including additional connected technology and IoT for kitchen equipment can streamline their capabilities. IoT will save money and time as well, as the technology can provide data about activity and maintenance needs to the contractor. The equipment can then be configured automatically.

  1. Improve customer satisfaction and the bottom line

For regional and national products, IoT will decrease installation time from months to minutes. Instead of contractor visits or program disks or flash drives, IoT allows remote installation. This will ultimately ensure consistency and accuracy across regions. Maintenance will be more virtual as well, and technicians will no longer make onsite adjustments because contractors can monitor and update software remotely.

  1. Achieve efficiencies with remote monitoring and management

In cases when technicians must be dispatched, issues will be triaged and sent to those who can interpret them. This will save time by allowing technicians to bring correct repair equipment, instead of relying on store associates to analyze the problem.

  1. Extended service for additional opportunities

IoT provides service information to ensure that parts are replaced based on their use, not a pre-determined schedule. Detecting service issues early will also prevent them from escalating into more expensive repairs. Finally, the longevity of the client-contractor relationships might allow other item or service needs to be met.

  1. Making insights actionable

The increasing use of connected technologies offers powerful solutions for convenience stores and grocery retailers, and IoT is also causing contractors to become mainstays in the industry.

You can read the full Contracting Business article online here.

For more than 20 years, Emerson Retail Solutions has been helping businesses like yours safeguard food, reduce energy consumption, protect the environment and optimize business results. To learn more about our technology solutions and services for retailers, visit our website.

 Paul Hepperla
Director, New Solutions Development & Enterprise Product Management
Emerson Climate Technologies

%d bloggers like this: