Dynamic Market Needs Continue to Drive Cold Chain Innovation
|Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions
This blog is based on Emerson’s recent participation at AHR Expo 2018 and my interview with Shecco publications, which you can watch here.
Emerson’s participation at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Exposition (AHR Expo) serves as an annual performance benchmark to some degree — a way to highlight what we’ve accomplished and highlight growth areas in the coming year. But with the announcement of Emerson’s new cold chain organization in late 2017, the 2018 AHR Expo in Chicago was especially noteworthy.
This year’s AHR show gave us a chance to demonstrate how this shift toward a more holistic cold chain focus benefits our customers via specialization in the food retail, foodservice, transportation and aftermarket sectors. In a dynamic market environment that continues to be defined by transition and uncertainty, we have a tremendous amount of expertise that allows us to be extremely helpful and responsive to our customers’ challenges than we previously have been.
Continuing to be at the forefront of these challenges is the refrigerant landscape and the increasing number of natural and low-GWP (global warming potential) options that are available. For several years, we’ve worked with our diverse customer base to address their multitude of concerns and organizational goals. From low capital costs, improved serviceability and operational efficiency to safety, environmental sustainability and energy reduction, OEMs and end customers alike are looking at the impact of refrigerants differently than they did even five years ago — and their decisions are based on any combination of these common drivers.
Some of the products we showcased at AHR Expo were the culmination of our efforts to help customers respond to their unique challenges. For example, our R-290 condensing units deliver ultra-low environmental impact, plug-and-play usability and energy-efficient performance for stand-alone refrigeration units — an increasingly popular option for those who place a premium on sustainability.
An emerging trend in the industrial refrigeration and cold storage space is the use of low-charge ammonia/CO2 cascade or all-CO2 refrigeration architectures. These systems help operators avoid both the risks associated with large-charge ammonia systems and the documentation requirements of using them.
For these emerging cold storage architectures, we’re borrowing from our experience with transcritical and subcritical CO2 compression technology — such as those more commonly used in commercial refrigeration systems — and innovating the development of new large-capacity, high-pressure, subcritical reciprocating and screw compressors for these applications. For an all-CO2 industrial option, we’re even testing a high-pressure, low-displacement, single-screw compressor for transcritical CO2 applications, where a single compressor could potentially take the place of more than a dozen CO2 compressors.
These examples are just further evidence of the degree to which markets are changing, and how having a cold chain focus is helping us better respond to our customers’ challenges.