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Posts from the ‘Refrigerants’ Category

Transforming Data Into Maintenance Insights

ronchapek_2 Ron Chapek | Director of Product Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Today’s supermarket, restaurant and convenience store operators have an abundance of data at their fingertips. Most utilize facility management systems and controls to monitor refrigeration, HVAC, lighting and energy management. These platforms give them ability to respond to alarms that could impact customer comfort and food quality. But alarms are only the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to this data’s potential usefulness. In a recent E360 article, we discussed how operators can transform this data into maintenance insights.

While many companies spend their time tracking, prioritizing and responding to alarms that need immediate attention, owners and operators have relatively limited visibility into overall operational status. But with deeper analytics of available data, operators can look “beneath the hood” of key systems and gain access to insights that could impact them in the future — insights that could potentially transform maintenance activities from a primarily reactive approach to a more condition-based, analytics-driven model.

The difference between “urgent” and “important”

One way to visualize the role of operational analytics in maintainance activities is by prioritizing maintenance events according to their urgency or importance. Maintenance events and operational decisions can be divided into four basic categories:

  • Don’t roll a truck (no action required)
  • Roll a truck soon (plan to take action)
  • Roll a truck now (take action now)
  • Take steps to improve (address at next scheduled maintenance)

Using the iceberg analogy, urgent issues represent events that you will need to respond to immediately — those that lie above the surface. Below the surface, you’ll find issues where analytics platforms can help operators make maintenance decisions based on their potential business impacts. Analytics can help identify issues that, while not urgent, are highly important — and may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

These insights often reveal areas of improvement that could either be addressed during scheduled service intervals or when the equipment or system condition indicates the need to address a potential issue. Armed with this knowledge, operators can receive advance notice of certain performance issues that may soon impact them.

Drive performance across the enterprise

The role of analytics within a maintenance framework can be extrapolated across an enterprise to maximize its potential. Drawing from a combination of equipment sensors and control system data, performance analytics can provide store operators and enterprise managers deeper insights for:

  • Real-time and historic operating conditions in their facilities and systems
  • Pressure, temperature and energy data to compare to established benchmarks
  • Enterprise- and store-level dashboards and prioritized notifications

For example, analytics allows for display case performance analysis based on temperature sensor data. Data may detect an anomaly in case temperature deviations that, while still within safe ranges, could indicate a larger performance issue. Instead of being notified with an urgent alarm, operators have advance notice to investigate issues at their discretion — and even preempt a potentially larger issue.

Enterprise operational dashboards can also be configured to display these insights and provide managers with visual snapshots of urgent and pending issues across their store networks — even enabling investigation into specific assets in their respective facilities.

If you’re ready to see what lies below the surface of your operational data and realize the true potential of analytics, contact Emerson to speak to one of our enterprise data analytics experts.

 

Advances Continue in Cold Chain Tracking Technologies

AmyChildress Amy Childress | Vice President of Marketing & Planning, Cargo Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from Snack Food and Wholesale Bakery, “Advances in cold chain technology for snack and bakery warehousing and transport.” There have been significant technological advances in recent years to enable better temperature and condition monitoring, including key offerings from Emerson. Read the full article here.

In recent years, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has pressed for increased monitoring and documentation of refrigerator and freezer temperatures at every point along the cold chain to detect when cold storage temperatures fall out of the transported food’s safe range. Heightened awareness of foodborne illness as a serious health problem has driven advanced monitoring systems that trigger alarms and notify personnel should temperature conditions deteriorate.

However, these advanced systems are largely the domain of processing plants, warehouses and supermarkets, fixed locations where continuous monitoring and wireless data collection and processing are incorporated into an IT infrastructure — but they’re quickly earning industry-wide adoption.

When a food shipment is transferred to a truck, train or ship, accessing and documenting its temperature data becomes problematic and limited. Historically, food transport has been the weakest link in cold chain tracking. That’s why it’s become increasingly important to track temperature data on frozen and refrigerated food in transit to ensure food security and provide operators with end-to-end documentation.

This is where the latest advances in cold chain technology come in: the development of monitoring systems that include data loggers, i.e., electronic devices that communicate with sensors to collect data over time. When fully automated, they can eliminate the errors of manual tracking and recording information during transit, transmitting and storing continuous temperature data in real time.

Emerson Cargo Solutions is one of several companies working to fill data gaps during transit, with a suite of cellular monitors and loggers — GO Real-Time Trackers — which track and log the status of perishable products shipped across the entire cold chain, all in real time. Using cellular technology and the processing capabilities of the IoT, GO Real-Time Trackers can continuously transmit and log temperature and location data and send alerts from the loading dock to the shelf.

GO Real-Time Trackers are affordable, easy to use, and small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand, making them particularly functional for tracking and logging goods in transit. Yet they also provide global visibility to shipments while transmitting temperature data to end users’ systems via the cloud and the IoT.

To use a GO Real-Time Tracker, a worker simply pulls a tab to start the device, places it in a container or trailer, and inputs its serial number into Emerson’s Oversight Exchange Data Integration app. From there, end users have access to comprehensive and automated monitoring. Logging data is encrypted for security and transmitted cellularly to the cloud and IoT for real-time processing and analysis. With either a smartphone or tablet, a user can check shipment status and generate documentation on the go. And the real-time data and documentation that GO Real-Time Trackers are capable of collecting are extensive:

  • Maps, graphs and charts of shipments with location and temperature details
  • Shipment summary reports using GO Real-Time Tracker serial numbers
  • Current product temperatures, temperature ranges and mean kinetic temperatures
  • Trip name, current trip status, location and duration
  • Total time out of cell range, above range and below range
  • Temperature graphs
  • Alarm events

End-to-end, real-time cold chain temperature monitoring and logging with GO Real-Time Trackers provide a higher level of overall security. Users can identify and fix previously unknown problem points in the cold chain. IoT connectivity and cellular communication make it possible for apps to monitor temperatures at set parameters throughout transport. And GO Real-Time Tracker documentation provides transparency, generating comprehensive reporting to comply with regulatory agency requirements for food safety.

How Kelley’s Market Quietly Saved Money With Smarter Refrigeration

benpicker Ben Picker | Product Manager – Copeland Condensing Units

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The family-owned Kelley’s Market chain, founded in 1926 and based in Rockford, Ill., prides itself on running crisp, clean stores offering top-quality products and outstanding service. They’re also astute businesspersons, highly focused on operational issues such as energy efficiency, maintenance and product protection. But they had another priority when designing and building a new store in their hometown: being a good neighbor. Read the full Convenience Store News article here.

Kelly’s Market put a high value on finding a refrigeration solution that would be efficient, attractive and quiet for the best possible customer — and neighborhood — experience. So when their refrigeration contractor walked them through the energy efficiency, maintenance and product protection of the Emerson product line, one aspect of Copeland Scroll™ Outdoor Refrigeration X-Line Units caught their attention: their ultra-quiet operation. They operate up to 16 dB quieter than traditional outdoor units — roughly the difference in volume between a vacuum cleaner and a friendly conversation. They were intrigued by the idea that by moving units outdoors they would also reduce noise in both their neighborhood and their store and wanted to learn more.

Lowering the volume while lowering energy costs

Emerson’s Copeland Scroll outdoor walk-in refrigerator technology offered energy-efficiency levels that could lower their energy bills by nearly 33 percent, plus built-in diagnostics to enable better service. Their ultra-quiet, variable-speed fan motors and internal baffling cut compressor noise by more than 50 percent.

Advances in walk-in refrigeration technology in a single unit

Copeland Scroll Outdoor Refrigeration X-Line Units range in power from ¾ to 6 HP, making them a great fit for the needs of Kelley’s Market. They chose one X-Line unit to power their walk-in freezer, one for their walk-in cooler, and one dedicated for a merchandising display case. By using outdoor units instead of self-contained or other indoor refrigeration systems, they would lower the heat load on their building’s HVAC system — further lowering energy bills.

Designed to be great outdoors

The new X-Line units were encased in a lightweight, slim enclosure that could be wall mounted, so they could place their units in locations previously not available, without the need to rent a crane for installation. In addition, the clean design of the outdoor units offered a more aesthetic atmosphere for neighbors and customers alike.

Walking into savings

The Copeland Scroll Outdoor Refrigeration X-Line Units at the new Kelley’s Market store was their first foray into scroll compressor technology. From the day the store opened, the company saw major operational benefits. In just one year, the X-Line Units delivered energy savings of 29 percent compared to their legacy store technology, with the three Copeland Scroll X-Line Units inside saving about $2,500 in energy costs per year — a significant long-term savings for a company operating nearly 50 stores.
In the market and throughout the neighborhood, the energy efficiency and optimum performance of the Copeland Scroll Outdoor Refrigeration X-Line Units are humming along quietly — just the way Kelley’s Market likes it.

Protecting Food on the Move

AmyChildress Amy Childress | Vice President of Marketing & Planning, Cargo Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

The cold chain in perishable food distribution is a complex and delicate thing. Just one hour out of optimum temperature range can have significant impact on a product’s shelf life. More serious cold chain lapses can pose waste, food safety and environmental issues, causing businesses and entire industries financial and reputational harm. At the E360 Forum in Houston last fall, I shared common cold chain pitfalls, real-world case studies and best practices for successfully navigating this complicated process. Read more below, then view the full E360 Forum presentation.

Those blueberries on your cereal? They’re from Chili. That orange? South Africa. Today’s food travels incredible distances to get to you. And behind your grilled salmon supper, there’s a dizzying array of complex cold chain management and monitoring that needs to happen to get it to your table — safe and tasty.

Industry experts say that from farm (or ocean) to your fork, there can be as many as 15–20 transfer points (hand-offs) in the cold chain process, encompassing trucks, containers and even planes. Each stop increases the risk of food safety incidences, spoilage and lost profits.

What’s at stake when the cold chain breaks?

Food and resource waste

One of the more frustrating things to me is the amount of time, money and resources spent producing food and getting it to where it needs to go — only to have it spoil by the time it gets to the point of sale. Think of all the work, expenses, fuel and greenhouse gas emissions it requires to get product from California to the East Coast. When there’s a break in the cold chain, all of that time, effort and money could potentially be lost.

According to Food Foolish by John Mandyck and Eric Schultz, the amount of food waste in the supply and distribution of food is staggering. They estimate that:

  • 1 billion metric tons of food is lost or wasted each year
  • One-third of food produced each year is never eaten
  • 800 million people in the world are chronically hungry

In addition, food waste has a devastating impact on the environment in terms of water waste and the creation of greenhouse gases. Mandyck and Schultz go on to say: “If food waste were a country by itself, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases behind China and the U.S.”

Financial impacts

I don’t need to tell you there’s big money in each trailer transporting food commodities across the country and around the world. If there’s a break in the cold chain, the financial impacts can be painful. Check out the food value estimate per truckload:

  • Beef — $150,000 to $250,000
  • Poultry — $60,000 to $225,000
  • Pork — $80,000
  • Strawberries — $20,000
  • Bananas — $16,000

Food safety and public health

According to the CDC, about 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die each year from foodborne diseases. Not all issues are directly attributable to compromised cold chain processes. But with elevated temperatures, a very small situation can grow exponentially in a very short time. By properly managing temperature, you can mitigate and isolate a potential food incident before it can spread.

Conquering the cold chain

We know what can go wrong when temperatures aren’t right. But how can broken links in the cold chain be prevented? To answer that, here are a few best practices for facilitating good temperatures in transit.

  • Start with appropriate pre-cooling processes. Remove field heat from product as soon as possible, pre-cool containers, and “pulp” or take product temperature to ensure it’s at the correct setpoint.
  • Follow proper loading practices for optimal air circulation.
  • Establish and communicate proper transport temperatures; pay attention to mixed loads.
  • Employ independent temperature-monitoring devices and proper placement procedures.
  • Check temperature history and place immediately into cold storage at the distribution center.

Transport from the distribution center to the retailer needs to be closely monitored as well. In fact, this is one of the areas where we see the most breakdowns: the transfer at the final point of sale. Deliveries typically come in very late and perishables are not put into cold storage quick enough.

Baked bananas and blockchain

One of our customers recently shared a story about a load of bananas they received. The retailer was using one of our real-time monitoring devices and knew before the containers were unloaded that bananas had basically cooked in transit. Armed with real-time temperature data, they declined the shipment, saving $28,000 on two loads — loads they may have previously accepted.

Digital time and temperature loggers, real-time trackers with proactive alerts have been a part of perishable loads in transit for years. As illustrated by the story above, they have been instrumental in identifying temperature flux and allow retailers and suppliers to be more preventive and proactive.

Emerson is leading exciting developments in analytics based on aggregated data from these devices. Vast amounts of in-transit time, location and temperature intelligence are now stored in the cloud — and can be tapped for deeper cold chain insights on best routes, carriers, shipping lanes and suppliers.

Another technology getting a lot of industry buzz is blockchain. (It’s not just for cryptocurrency.) Blockchain offers an incredibly secure platform to share deep and detailed data across all the supply chain players. It lets disparate, previously siloed, entities share common, unalterable data on a common framework. We’re currently working with IBM to create food freshness applications and shelf-life predictors that could be shared across the blockchain platform. And that’s only the beginning.

To hear more best practices, cold chain success stories and even a few cautionary tales, be sure to view the full E360 Forum presentation here.

 

Bolstering HVACR Knowledge With Emerson Educational Services

BenWeser_Blog_Image Ben Weser | Manager – Educational Services

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Emerson Educational Services provides a wide array of training options for today’s HVACR technicians. By keeping up to date with issues facing the industry and evaluating training needs, we’ve developed courses and programs that allow attendees to earn certifications and credits from North American Technician Excellence (NATE). To learn more about our programs, read the full article here.

energy

For several years, the commercial refrigeration and AC landscapes have been shifting. Persistent regulatory activities, an influx of new system architectures, and rapidly evolving industry trends have led to a more complex work environment for service technicians. Compounding these challenges are the shrinking number of experienced technicians still in the field and the difficulty of attracting younger job seekers to the HVACR trades.

Contracting businesses are increasingly looking to equipment and component manufacturers to help train their technicians on how to service emerging refrigeration systems and utilize new technologies. And many traditional training programs simply can’t keep up with the pace of change in our shared industries.

But Emerson Educational Services is designed to do just that.

Today’s training programs need to address modern complexities and be tailored to technicians’ comfort levels with new technologies. For example, those accustomed to traditional mechanical system design are often reticent to embrace electronic components, while the new generation of technicians may find familiarity and greater utility from the use of digital tools.

We offer comprehensive training programs that not only cover essential service skills, but also keep your teams up to date on the latest electronic controls, diagnostics and protection technologies. Emerson provides a wide variety of educational options to meet today’s diverse training needs — including hands-on seminars in the classroom or online and mobile tools in the field.

Training for a variety of trainee needs

Emerson Educational Services provides various course offerings and teaching tools to help technicians of all skill levels work with new technologies and complex systems. These options are designed to allow technicians to continue their education according to their preferences, needs and schedules.

  • Foundational learning: Provides expertise on foundational industry concepts, skills and tasks to prepare for working with systems of all sizes and complexities.
  • Product-specific learning: Enhances technician knowledge about certain product applications, functionalities and operations; helps them successfully select, install and troubleshoot system components.
  • Hands-on/expert-led training: Allows technicians to work with experts to gain an in-depth understanding and hands-on experience with systems and components, giving them the confidence and familiarity needed to effectively service these types of systems.
  • On-the-job performance and support tools: Supplement formal learning by giving technicians access to online and mobile resources that serve as real-time performance guides on the job and in the field, such as smartphone applications and short videos.

Combined, these programs and tools provide a variety of options geared toward technicians of all expertise levels, specializations and job requirements.

Online options

At Education.Emerson.com, Emerson Educational Services offers e-learning programs and resources that cover a wide range of foundational HVACR topics, applications and products. This online learning portal allows technicians to learn at their own pace, regardless of their location. Offerings include:

  • Learning plans
  • Self-paced training courses
  • Recorded webinars
  • Quizzes and assessments

With our extensive education options, Emerson Educational Services is positioned to be a partner in training the next generation of HVACR technicians. Visit our website to learn more.

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