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Prevent Food Poisoning Outbreaks with FSMA and Environmental Monitoring

JulianHough_Blog_Image Julian Hough | Product Marketing Communication Specialist
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Symptoms of a foodborne illness outbreak

For companies involved in food handling, the potential symptoms of a food poisoning outbreak include: local or national recalls; fines; legal action; potential financial losses; and tarnished brand reputations. With this in mind, compliance with new regulations and laws regarding food safety and the use of facility-wide environmental monitoring are your best protections against these symptoms.

A serious problem

Food poisoning is a major cause of death in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foodborne illnesses affect 48 million Americans annually, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. And in an age of 24/7 news coverage, any food poisoning outbreak can put a company under a harsh public relations spotlight. In 2015, at least 64 people contracted salmonella from tomatoes at a Mexican quick-serve restaurant. It resulted in two class action lawsuits and eroded consumer trust. A top-selling ice cream brand recalled all of its products in 2017 when 10 reported cases of listeria resulted in three deaths. In late 2018, all of the romaine lettuce in the U.S. was pulled from stores for a month while the CDC searched for the source of its e-coli contamination. The fact is, health officials, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will work to track down the source of virtually all food poisoning outbreaks all the way down the supply chain and cold chain.

The risk comes from not seeing the problems

All too often, the processors found at fault had no idea they were putting consumers at risk. Like all processors, they have to balance the cost and burden of ensuring food safety while still maintaining a profitable business. But many have little way of knowing — or the data to warn them — that they were not maintaining safe handling procedures nor providing a safe environment for food safety.

FSMA: addressing the problem

With the signing of the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011, a series of regulations set out seven steps to prevent food poisoning outbreaks through prevention programs and environmental monitoring. The FSMA reflected the need for a modern, global food safety system, “a system in which industry is systematically, every day, putting in place the measures that we know are effective in preventing contamination” (Michael R. Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, 2015).

Regulations like the FSMA are often regarded as an expensive burden. But when you realize that food poisoning outbreaks cost the food processing industry $75 billion per year, investing in preventing problems rather than paying for the consequences makes FSMA compliance an economic imperative.

That’s why Emerson  has been tirelessly working to help ensure our Cooper-Atkins products and solutions are in compliance with FSMA mandates, and providing environmental monitoring systems and end-to-end data services that help control and manage food safety anywhere in the cold chain.

How does the FSMA affect you?

New laws were passed in 2016 to bolster the 2011 FSMA for both large and small FDA-registered companies. To comply, companies must:

At Emerson, we have the expertise, products and systems to help you implement fully compliant HARPC systems and controls, as well as consult on your cGMP education and training programs.  Emerson’s Cooper Atkins business specializes in advanced environmental monitoring systems.

The importance of environmental monitoring

There are many areas along the processing chain where food may be compromised. Storing, receiving and holding food-related items at a temperature that prohibits bacterial growth are required parts of your company’s HARPC plan, making integrated, wireless environmental monitoring systems a must-have.

Processing facilities that invest in integrated, wireless temperature monitoring systems benefit in numerous ways:

  • Eliminating manual labor
  • Streamlining the collection of environmental data
  • Creating custom reporting
  • Complying with new FSMA laws and FDA rulings

As a leading manufacturer of wireless monitoring solutions, Emerson offers a range of environmental monitoring systems through our Cooper-Atkins business. TempTrak Enterprise® is a facility-wide solution that can monitor an unlimited number of points in unlimited locations — all from one software platform. NotifEye® kits are affordable, streamlined and self-installed systems for more localized operations. Both are exception-based systems: they only send out alerts when preset limits are exceeded, saving time and labor while protecting your inventory and, more importantly, brand integrity.

An investment in protection

When you look at the human cost of food poisoning outbreaks, as well as the millions of dollars in recall costs and destroyed reputations, FSMA compliance and facility-wide environmental monitoring and data systems become a highly cost-effective investment. With compliance and a data trail, you can not only prevent foodborne outbreaks, but also verify compliance and protect your brand.

Julian Hough is a product marketing specialist with Cooper-Atkins, a business unit of Emerson that has been manufacturing temperature monitoring equipment for 130 years.

 

Copeland Hermetic CS Compressors Rated for Lower-GWP Refrigerants

VarunGarg_Blog_Image Varun Garg | Manager, Product Management – Refrigeration

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The Copeland™ Hermetic CS compressor line has been extended for use with leading alternative refrigerants. To learn more about this important update, read our recent E360 product spotlight.

Copeland Hermetic CS compressors are commonly used in self-contained and remote walk-in coolers, as well as in ice, soft serve and frozen carbonated beverage applications. Most recently, we’ve updated this industry-standard compressor platform to qualify for use with modern refrigerant alternatives — which include R-407A, R-448A and R-449A — to offer lower glower warming potential (GWP) while providing the same reliable performance.

Found in a wide range of commercial refrigeration applications, R-404A is one of the most commonly used hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. In recent years, HFCs like R-404A have been targeted for phase-down via global, federal and state regulatory efforts to limit the use of high-GWP refrigerants. Throughout the industry, many operators are actively seeking lower-GWP options to help them achieve regulatory compliance and meet corporate sustainability initiatives.

Many factors must be taken into account when considering how to transition to a lower-GWP alternative refrigerant, including service, maintenance and operational requirements. It’s no surprise that many operators are hesitant to transition to an option that will force them to overhaul their current refrigeration architecture or introduce a new compression platform. Emerson is helping those familiar with the Copeland Hermetic CS compressor line move from R-404A to one of these approved alternatives — without introducing new system complexities.

For those seeking to comply with regulatory targets or meet sustainability objectives, Copeland Hermetic CS compressors are qualified to use R-407A, R-448A and R-449A in medium-temperature applications. This will enable significant GWP reductions compared to R-404A.

R-404A 3,922 GWP
R-407A 2,107 GWP
R-448A 1,273 GWP
R-449A 1,282 GWP

GWP by refrigerant

Retrofit vs. new: considerations
With these new refrigerant qualifications, operators now have the option to retrofit their legacy Copeland Hermetic CS compressors. It’s important to understand that R-407A, R-448A and R-449A are not considered true “drop-in” replacements.

Even though operators can keep the same compression platform, switching from R-404A to one of these lower-GWP options requires adherence to Emerson’s Refrigerant Changeover Guidelines to help ensure optimum system performance. Expansion valve adjustments, proper lubrication and filter changes must be followed per the application engineering bulletin.

For new applications, this newly qualified Copeland Hermetic CS line of compressors grants operators the flexibility of determining which replacement options are best suited to meet their external regulatory requirements and/or internal sustainability initiatives. Emerson recommends consulting its application engineering bulletin or a certified compression expert to help better understand the performance characteristics of each low-GWP refrigerant option.

To learn specific performance ratings of these new refrigerants, please visit the Copeland Online Product Information (OPI) tool. R-448A and R-449A data will be published in February 2019.

 

Refrigerant Rulemaking in 2019

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

While the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants is underway globally, federal regulatory uncertainty and state-level actions in the U.S. continue to raise many questions in our industry. Our latest E360 Webinar presented the latest developments in this dynamic area in hopes of clearing up some of the confusion. View the webinar in its entirety.

Along with my Emerson colleague, Jennifer Butsch, regulatory affairs manager of air conditioning, I recently presented the latest information on refrigerant regulations and rulemaking. The primary objective of these activities is to reduce the use of HFC refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP), and at the same time, introduce lower-GWP alternatives. For those of us in the commercial refrigeration and AC industries, this transition impacts many of our most common applications.

Here’s a summary of our discussion.

Kigali Amendment takes effect

To put these matters into their proper context, it’s important first to understand the global regulatory driver of the HFC phase-down, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. This proposal was agreed upon at a meeting of 197 countries in 2016, and has since been ratified into law by more than 65 countries, including European members, Canada and Mexico.

While the U.S. has yet to ratify the Kigali Amendment, its phase-down guidelines went into effect for participating countries as of Jan. 1, 2019. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean its impacts are not being felt in the U.S., particularly in state-level initiatives to meet environmental targets.

California adopts SNAP rules, plans further reductions

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SNAP Rule 20 has been vacated and Rule 21 remains in litigation, California has adopted these rules into law. Effective Jan. 1, R-404A and R-507A are not allowable in many commercial refrigeration applications, including: supermarket central systems, remote condensing units and stand-alone systems. Essentially, this upholds previous SNAP 20 rulemaking and prevents operators in the state from using high-GWP HFCs. But this is just the first of many steps.

California is also adhering to the longer-term HFC phase-down schedule for commercial refrigeration and AC as outlined in SNAP Rules 20 and 21. In addition, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been tasked with reducing HFC emissions 40 percent by 2030 from the state’s 2013 baseline level — a target that’s very much in alignment with the Kigali Amendment’s HFC phase-down recommendations for the United States.

Achieving these levels will require new rulemaking in accordance with CARB’s short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) reduction strategy. CARB is planning on releasing a final rule toward the end of this year. In the meantime, they will conduct a series of public meetings for both AC and commercial refrigeration stakeholders. Emerson strongly encourages you to participate in these meetings to make sure your questions and concerns are addressed.

Other states join the charge

While California appears to be taking the lead on domestic HFC phase-down efforts, there are also many other states making commitments to climate change initiatives, including the reduction of HFCs.

The U.S. Climate Alliance now includes 21 states; combined they make up 49 percent of the U.S. population and 50 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). We believe that it is in our industry’s best interest for these states to follow a united course of action, rather than a patchwork of individual state mandates.

Other key webinar takeaways

Jennifer and I also discussed many other important developments pertaining to the use of lower-GWP alternatives, including:

  • Applications, availability and GWP ratings of A1, A2L, A3, B2L and natural alternatives
  • Update on refrigerant safety standards of A2L and A3 (flammable) refrigerants
  • How refrigerant standards affect equipment, applications, building codes and local codes
  • Lower-GWP refrigerant impacts on refrigeration architectures

To learn more about these topics, please view this webinar in its entirety.  

Emerson Impacts Generations of Women in STEM

Across Asia Pacific, women are chronically under-represented in careers based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Emerson has set out to change this with its global Women in STEM Program that’s aimed at helping more women to not only pursue a STEM education but also have successful careers afterwards.

While some countries boast high proportions of women graduating in STEM subjects, their progress into the workforce is challenged. In Japan and Korea, for example, as few as 5% and 10% respectively of engineering jobs are held by women. In a region where technology and innovation are the key drivers of prosperity, the lack of women in STEM is a missed opportunity at best, and at worst, an appalling waste of the region’s talent.

As one of the world’s pre-eminent technology and engineering companies, Emerson recognizes that education and careers for women in STEM will have a long-term benefit for the competitiveness of its business, and for the societies in which it operates.

This is why the Women in STEM Program aims to attract, develop, and retain the best women
in STEM-related roles to enhance diversity of ideas and approaches for the benefit of our customers and to fully deliver on our “Consider it Solved” promise. The program supports generations of women at all stages of their careers, from the most senior executives to the youngest schoolchildren just beginning to think of their futures.

“There should be no limits to the aspirations of young women leaders in Emerson,” said Vidya Ramnath, President of Middle East and Africa, who’s also a sponsor for the Women in STEM initiative in Asia.

“We need to be there as a unit to show women that there are no walls to advancing and achieving.”

Moving the needle

At Emerson, the Women in STEM Program is guided by three main prongs:

  • Attract: To inspire girls to pursue STEM subjects and careers, and to attract the best women in STEM to Emerson.
  • Develop: To provide an environment and opportunities to develop leadership skills as well as to elevate visibility for women in STEM-related roles
  • Retain: To create an inclusive connected community where women in STEM feel supported and a sense of belonging throughout Emerson, and to provide a platform to highlight women in STEM as role models across One Emerson

Ultimately, the main goals are to recruit new female employees into STEM-related roles, increase the percentage of women in leadership and to reduce the attrition of women.

In Asia, the program was rolled out towards the last quarter of 2017, which cut across two main business units, dozens of lines of business, and more than 45 individual facilities in 15 countries. To enable effective implementation, Emerson formed a regional board comprising members across the region and business units, then recruited members organized into location-specific chapters, which are consolidated into 12 regions.

As the initiative gained steam across the continent, it also added to the global momentum. The number of members and local chapters last year almost doubled from 2017, with membership going from 1,733 to 3,135 and the number of local chapters increasing from 25 to 47. Similarly, the number of regional events more than doubled from 292 to 670.

Meanwhile, Emerson was making waves externally too. Some 150 Emerson employees attended WE18, the world’s largest conference for women engineers, where we received five Society of Women Engineers awards. We also went up 26 places to be named the Top 15 Employer for Women in STEM by Woman Engineer 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards.

Advancing the cause

Around the world, the Women in STEM group runs a wide gamut of activities to attract, develop and retain female talent. They range from professional development and networking socials to youth and university outreach. In Asia, the group touched the lives of more than 7,200 women and men through 3,000 events last year.

Professional Development

These are mainly live events and webinars aimed at sharing management and development skills for women in STEM-related positions throughout the company. Widad Haddad, vice president and general manager, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen & Lebanon, Emerson Automation Solutions, sees her role in the Diversity and Inclusion Council as not only to bring knowledge to women at Emerson but also to ensure there’s a balance in the program.

“For example, if we hold a seminar on how to say ‘No’ and if we invite only women, are we implying that only women don’t know how to say ‘No’?” said the only executive woman among 1,100 employees in her region. “Where topics are relevant to both genders, we actually open the events to the men too.”

More than 740 professional development events were conducted in Asia last year including:

A debate competition in Suzhou, CHINA attracted more than 100 participants to discuss project communication, career development and work-life balance. Developed women engineers in their leadership journey but also advocated for inclusion by discussing topics that are sometimes considered taboo.

A professional development and networking day was held in conjunction with the Society of Women Engineers in Pune, INDIA. Forty participants drawn from inside and outside Emerson met to share a day of professional development and networking with fellow STEM professionals, hosted at Emerson’s location in Pune.

Some 75 Emerson employees in THAILAND across Bangkok and Rayong had clearer insights on career growth from a series of talks given by a vice president.

A regional Leadership Talk Series leverages Emerson female executives’ work travel schedules to give talks to local Women in STEM groups whenever they travel. This is especially important in offices that may not have a senior female leader as a role model. Topics range from career experience, personal branding to managing conflict, and these meetings have so far attracted more than 800 participants.

Networking

These social events enable women at Emerson to make connections across functions and business units. For Jacqueline Stidolph, Lifecycle Services Engineer, Western Australia, Emerson Automation Solutions, this is especially important as she largely works on Prelude, the world’s largest floating liquefied natural gas platform.

“I work offshore most of the time, so joining networking events is definitely beneficial,” she explained.

More than 250 networking/social activities were held in Asia last year. Examples included:

Emerson partnered with Women in Energy Asia to host a digital transformation event at the Emerson Solutions Center in SINGAPORE. The event attracted 80 participants and showed how women and technology impact the energy industry.

Physical fitness events around the region empower women to take hold of their physical and mental health with activities like yoga to boxing. Feedback has been extremely positive with women saying they would never have tried some of the activities if not for Women in STEM.

Youth Outreach

To counter traditional preconceptions and prejudices, the group identifies opportunities to inspire younger girls about STEM, to seed future generations of women engineers. These could be outreach activities at schools or “We Love STEM” events held at Emerson offices for employees’ children.

Last year, almost a thousand events were held, such as:

Women in STEM organized an outreach event to secondary school students in HONG KONG, enabling children to see firsthand the digital transformation in the control room, and experience how engineers are trained using virtual reality.

Emerson partnered with Girl Scouts of the Philippines to run the Cebu National Encampment event for 600 girls nationwide aged 9-14. Seven in 10 of the children indicated they are likely to consider a STEM course after the event.

At a We Love STEM event for employees’ families held by Emerson KOREA at the newly opened Korea Solutions Center, more than 70 children learned how assemble robots and spinning tops, sparking an early-age interest in STEM.

University Outreach

These efforts focus on engagement with faculty, students and alumni at key universities across the region to present and promote career options in STEM. The Women in STEM group held almost 1,200 events last year, including partnering with over 20 universities to give tours of our facilities/technology centers, recruit female STEM majors, participate in “Day with Industry” events, and share the experience of being an engineer.

Con Alcoriza, an Emerson scholar studying mechanical engineering at Bulacan State University in the Philippines, has been inspired by her interactions with women engineers at the company.

“Having an Emerson scholarship is not just about financial help, but my mentors at Emerson support us and guide us,” said the fifth-year student. “I see these very successful women engineers at Emerson and I wish to be one someday.

“What boys can do, I can do too. Not because I’m a girl but because I am me. I see myself pursuing my career in Emerson and I know I have to work hard and strive hard for what I want.”

 

 

Five Prestigious Reasons to Become an HVACR Apprentice

BobLabbett_Blog Bob Labbett | V.P. – Aftermarket Distribution, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

As National Apprenticeship Week (March 4–8, 2019) once again approaches, the critical shortage of qualified HVACR technicians within the U.S. continues with an estimated industry shortfall of 118,000 technicians by the year 2022. Recruiting apprentice HVACR techs remains as challenging as ever, because students with an aptitude for technical trades are not being encouraged to pursue vocational or technical training. Students need to be convinced that an HVACR career path is a viable alternative to a four-year college degree, offering them a chance to work on new and emerging technologies in meaningful careers that contribute to society.

What’s stopping them? One is the perception among American high school students that a college degree is more valuable and prestigious than an apprenticeship and a fast track to a career. The other is that we collectively as an industry are not adequately presenting them options. Here are five great reasons for a high school student to consider becoming an HVACR apprentice.

  1. College is more popular — and more expensive — than ever.

At least two-thirds of the high school class of 2020 intend to go to college; this represents the highest rate of secondary education attendance in U.S. history. They and their parents know that college is getting more expensive, while financial aid is shrinking. The average student graduates with an average of $40,000 in student loan debt just as they’re about to begin looking for an entry-level job. What isn’t as well-known is that about half of all college students drop out without earning a degree — and with no real job skills. Yet schools, guidance counselors and peers continue to push students straight to college.

  1. There is an alternative: A fast start — with no debt.

When many “traditional” students are just starting their sophomore year in college, some of their high school friends will be beginning their careers as HVACR apprentices with average entry-level salaries ranging from $47,000–$60,000 a year, depending on skill set. It’s a matter of supply and demand, and being an HVACR tech is a vocation in extremely high demand. It’s time high school guidance counselors had information about alternative apprenticeships on hand.

  1. An apprenticeship is a wise path for students who can use their heads — and their hands.

A bright student with some high school courses in math and/or physics can learn to read a blueprint and earn an HVACR apprentice certificate at a community college in six months to a year, at little or no cost and with no student debt. Others can even start straight out of high school, getting paid while earning their certificate on the job. In an industry that needs 118,000 new HVACR apprentice technicians, their certificates mean they are almost certain to get job offers from almost any company to which they apply. As an apprentice, their future career tracks are limited only by their ambition and drive (or lack thereof).

  1. An apprenticeship is a top-notch education.

An HVACR tech certificate may not sound as glamorous as a college degree. But four years of on-the-job training in a technical field are easily the equivalent of a four-year academic degree. HVACR techs are responsible for maintaining healthy environments at major medical centers. They work in the aerospace industry and in high-tech corporations. HVACR techs know how to maintain and repair 12-ton coolers, heat pumps, furnaces, ultralow-temperature freezers and refrigerators; they can manage the electronic systems that connect them; and they can run the software and internet programs that monitor and control them. HVACR techs work with advanced technologies, doing essential work that significantly affects people’s lives.

  1. They’re wanted.

The HVACR industry is working with educators, unions and contractor organizations to make it even easier to earn apprentice certification, with more online courses, night classes and technically advanced curriculums to create valuable on-the-job training. Even the federal government has stepped in, with the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act providing funds for students who are looking for more career-oriented education after high school.

 

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