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Magnitude of Industry Changes Discussed at Latest E360 Forum

Emerson recently wrapped up its fourth E360 Forum of 2016 on Oct. 12 in Tucson, Ariz. The daylong event was attended by more than 100 industry stakeholders — including wholesalers, equipment manufacturers, contractors and end users — and featured expert-led breakout sessions in food retail, foodservice and commercial AC market segments.

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Emerson’s Don Newlon, vice president and general manager of refrigeration, kicked off the Forum by discussing the sheer magnitude of changes that confront the refrigeration industry today. Between now and 2020, it will be faced with nine regulatory requirements related to energy reductions and refrigerant phase-outs. Achieving compliance will require unique strategies for reach-ins, ice machines, walk-ins and supermarket refrigeration equipment. Don explained how the industry is surmounting these challenges by balancing the four variables of the E360 platform: energy, environment, equipment and economics.

The Tucson E360 Forum came on the heels of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) actions to change the status of refrigerants used in refrigeration and AC applications. Notably, SNAP Final Rule 21 added R-290 (propane) to the list of acceptable substitutes for self-contained commercial ice machines, further expanding the hydrocarbon’s applicability in commercial refrigeration.

Emerson’s Dr. Rajan Rajendran, vice president of system innovation center and sustainability, helped place this latest action into a broader context with a timely update on refrigerants. Rajan fielded many questions throughout his talk and discussed the global efforts to limit refrigerants with high global warming potential, specifically referring to an HFC phase-down amendment proposed by the parties to the Montreal Protocol — which incidentally came to pass just days after this event.

Joe Carbonara, editorial director at Foodservice Equipment and Supplies magazine, delivered an informative keynote address about consumer and operator trends in foodservice. Mr. Carbonara started his talk by reminding attendees that restaurants are everywhere, from hospitals and retirement homes to colleges and, of course, public restaurants. While smaller kitchen spaces and multi-function equipment are becoming the norm for operators, consumers continue to seek a combination of quality food, fast-casual dining, convenience and value. To be successful, operators need to develop strategies to deliver their core offerings to their unique customer base — a one-size-fits-all approach no longer works.

The bulk of the afternoon was comprised of a diverse program of breakout sessions, giving attendees the opportunity to get answers to their specific questions. Whether their focus was on implementing sustainable systems, better understanding leak detection or evaluating the potential of R-290, there truly was a breakout session for nearly every industry concern.

If you were unable to attend the recent E360 Forum in Tucson, you still can access its presentation decks in the archive section of our website. Be sure to watch for announcements of our 2017 E360 Forum locations, and make plans to join us if you can.

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