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Posts from the ‘Technology’ Category

The Path From IIoT to Predictive Maintenance for Commercial Refrigeration

JohnWallace_Blog_Image John Wallace | Director of Innovation, Retail Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Emerson is writing a series of articles about the implications of new and transformative technologies for the commercial refrigeration industry. In our first article, I described the challenges and methodologies related to transforming a newfound wealth of data into true predictive maintenance capabilities. You can read the full article here.

 

One trend driving the commercial refrigeration industry’s rapid adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies is the promise of predictive maintenance. Collecting massive amounts of real-time data comes with the potential to develop data-driven algorithms that can accurately predict looming problems and failures in refrigeration systems and equipment.

In the commercial refrigeration space, operators’ goals related to predictive maintenance are to reduce energy savings, lower maintenance and service costs, improve food quality and safety (and indirectly, customer experiences), increase comfort, and reduce downtime. So as IIoT technologies become more affordable, widely deployed and interconnected, a question naturally arises: “When will we see the results of these predictive maintenance capabilities?”

It’s a fair question. After all, some industries, such as industrial automation, are seeing rapid advances in their predictive maintenance capabilities. But many of these industries also have an inherent advantage: they’re often monitoring identical devices with well-defined historical performance models, making early problem detection relatively easy.

However, commercial refrigeration is a different ballgame. Commercial refrigeration applications are diverse and complex, making the development of their predictive maintenance capabilities far more challenging. Commercial refrigeration systems consist of many diverse and interdependent components, which often originate from multiple vendors. They encompass a wide range from traditional centralized direct expansion systems to an ever-expanding array of emerging architectures designed to achieve very specific operational (and more often, sustainability) objectives. Industry trends further complicate the issue, such as the adoption of new refrigerants and the migration from centralized to distributed, self-contained and integrated systems.

These complex systems differ in the amount, type and quality of the data they can provide — making data modeling and writing algorithms for different equipment even more difficult. Add more variables into the mix, such as weather, humidity and climate — not to mention widely varying operator goals, processes and workflows — and you can start to comprehend the depth of the challenge.

Developing predictive maintenance capabilities for commercial refrigeration is not a matter of simply pouring more data into the cloud via the IIoT. That data is as diverse as the equipment and systems which produce it. Determining the predictive potential of all that data requires fundamentally changing how we understand and approach the needs of the commercial refrigeration industry.

At Emerson, we’re tackling this challenge head on, taking a methodical, deliberate approach to predictive maintenance. Our goal is not to simply throw more IIoT technologies at the challenge. We’re working to help deliver on the promise of predictive maintenance by applying our deep knowledge of the commercial refrigeration space to help operators uncover the predictive value of data gathered from many different applications. By doing so, we’re simplifying the complexities and uncovering insights into the industry’s most common refrigeration scenarios.

We’re deriving predictive maintenance solutions from IIoT data via a three-pronged methodology: 1) understand the complexity of the domain and its individual systems; 2) define what data is relevant to which situations; and 3) determine how application sensors should be used to generate the necessary data. Then we can take the crucial step of developing tools to extrapolate true predictive maintenance answers from real-time and historical data.

In upcoming articles, Emerson will expand on these learnings and provide examples of how new technology is already being used for successful predictive maintenance programs in commercial refrigeration.

Accelerating Collaboration: The Future of Connectivity

Rajan Rajendran
Vice President System Innovation Center and Sustainability
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions


One of the key principals we are pursuing in our new facility, The Helix Innovation Center is the concept of looking at questions from unusual angles. So when we had the chance to pose a challenge to a diverse group of University of Dayton students, we asked them to tackle the subject of connectivity.

The program, part of the Collaboration Accelerator 2.0 brought together UD students majoring in mechanical and civil engineering, marketing, communications, visual arts and international studies, plus a recent Sinclair Community College graduate, to find creative solutions to real-world challenges.

The 11-week internship program culminated in an immersive experience that included an “idea file” that explores the true origin and “soul” of connectivity.

The students took a broad view, presenting connectivity as an element of mankind’s psychological needs. We were encouraged to think about the various forms connectivity has taken on over the last century. And how our human desire for connectivity is a factor of time, fear and efficiency.

The ideas, concepts and materials presented by these students are helping fuel our ideation sessions at The Helix and helping us take a new approach to some of the industry challenges we are tackling.

See the collaboration in action:

 

What industry challenges are you facing? Comment on this post and let’s leverage this form of connectivity to think creatively about new approaches to tackling them.

College Students Conceptualize the Supermarket of the Future

E-week challenge calls for a fresh approach and new thinking

Emerson Climate Technologies hosted the University of Dayton’s E-week Innovation Challenge at Emerson’s new Helix Innovation Center. The entrepreneurial student club EMpwr and engineering-based KEEN organization also co-sponsored the challenge.

Students

Read more

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.

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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

E360 Conference Daily Recap #2: Challenges and Opportunities with Changing Regulations

This is the second in a series of three posts sharing highlights from the 2016 E360 Annual Conference.

We focused on the changing regulatory landscape and the impact of emerging regulations on retail operations during the second day of the E360 Annual Conference.

In the spirit of collaboration and innovation, we brought together a panel of experts in food safety, energy and refrigerant management to explore what’s next in regulations. Since this conference is all about innovation, we used the latest technology to link a 500-person global audience to our 200-person live audience and host location at The Helix at the University of Dayton, and to our remote panelists at our Helix at Georgia Tech and a location in Washington, DC. And participants and facilitators managed other sessions on best practices including facility management, IoT and designing future-friendly alternative refrigerant systems.

For highlights from day two, please watch this video recap:

Looking ahead to our third and final day, all participants are eager to continue engaging in interactive discussions around critical issues that retailers are facing today.

How are new connected technologies helping your retail business address industry and regulatory changes? Let us know in the comments below or by sharing your perspective on social media.

If you missed the conference, you can review highlights at #E360Live@IntelliStore and @EmersonClimate on Twitter, as well as in our daily blog post and video recaps:

 To learn more about the E360 Annual Conference or to receive the session presentations, email RetailSolutionsMarketing@Emerson.com.

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

Dean Landeche
Vice President of Marketing, Retail Solutions
Emerson Climate Technologies

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