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Three Trends Shaping the Commercial Refrigeration Sector

DaveBersaglini Dave Bersaglini | Vice President & General Manager, Refrigeration

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

HVACR Business recently invited me to participate in an executive roundtable on the evolution of the commercial refrigeration sector. You can read the full article here and more on our perspective below.

Three Trends Shaping the Commercial Refrigeration Sector

Three Trends Shaping the Commercial Refrigeration Sector

The commercial refrigeration sector is experiencing a period of innovation unlike any other in its history. Regulatory pressures, changing consumer habits and the growing demands for more efficient and sustainable technologies are transforming the market. Business owners and supermarket operators have a tremendous range of environmentally friendly, operationally efficient and — perhaps most importantly — regulatory-compliant solutions from which to choose.

But in order to do this, operators must navigate an ever-growing pool of refrigeration solutions, strategies and technologies. Keeping current on emerging technologies and consumer trends while anticipating future regulatory requirements are the keys to getting the best return on this long-term investment.

More choices

Without a doubt, the greatest challenge for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and operators alike is transitioning to the future of refrigeration systems. New refrigeration equipment, components and technologies are coming online in response to global demands for lower-GWP (global warming potential) refrigerants. In addition, more flexible refrigeration architectures are being launched to satisfy the move toward smaller retail footprints.

As a result, operators are facing a proliferation of refrigeration scenarios, each posing its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Decisions must be weighed against a host of factors, such as environmental impact, total cost of ownership, long-term viability and the ability to adapt to evolving consumer behaviors and potential future regulations. Education is key here; contractors and manufacturers will need to step up and help retailers explore and identify the options that will best satisfy their needs.

More connected

Automation and internet of things (IoT) technologies will increasingly play roles in this sector. System electronics are helping to manage refrigeration cycles and system operations, while compressor protection and diagnostic capabilities are simplifying service and maintenance processes. These connected components will provide operators with unprecedented visibility into critical facility systems that extend beyond refrigeration to include air quality, lighting and energy management. Supported by user-friendly platforms that integrate these key systems, operators will be able to more efficiently manage and optimize facility and energy performance.

More complex

The shift to lower-GWP refrigerants and the growth of new technologies pose a unique set of challenges to contractors. Extensive training on the proper procedures for recovering and servicing new and natural refrigeration systems, such as CO2-based systems, will be imperative. Contractors will also need to increase their knowledge of the landscape so they can align their customers’ goals with the available equipment options. This may require higher upfront costs, but they will pay off in the long term as today’s innovations become the norm.

Ready for the future

At Emerson, we are at the forefront of environmentally friendly and financially viable refrigeration systems and supporting technologies. Moreover, we’ve taken a proactive approach to contractor education, providing a wealth of options to help technicians increase their skills and expand their knowledge base to better serve customers.

At every step, we strive to help operators make informed decisions to maximize their investments. After all, commercial refrigeration systems can — and should — be in service for decades. And with no end in sight to the dramatic changes that are shaping the industry, operators need solutions that can adapt to and grow with the next generation of technologies and system architectures. Our approach to total refrigeration system sustainability is designed to deliver solutions that satisfy operational and sustainability objectives today, while anticipating the needs of tomorrow.

 

E360 Breakfast at AHR: HVACR Refrigerants & Regulations Discussion

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Before the doors open at the AHR Expo on February 4, join us at 8 a.m. for an interactive E360 Breakfast discussion on HVACR refrigerants and regulations. You’ll hear about several industry trends to keep your eyes on over the next few years.

E360 Breakfast at AHR: HVACR Refrigerants & Regulations Discussion

Refrigerant regulations are in constant flux, making it extremely difficult to stay current on the latest changes and information. Emerson’s regulation experts, Rajan Rajendran and Jennifer Butsch will highlight some of the latest regulatory updates and refrigerant options to help get you up to speed.

In addition, Emerson’s Ken Monnier will explore several industry trends that could potentially impact you over the next decade.

During this interactive discussion, you’ll have opportunities to ask some of your most pressing questions and share thoughts on measures that attendees might leverage to address today’s challenges.

E360 Breakfast: HVACR Refrigerants & Regulations Discussion

When                                                   Where

Tuesday, February 4                         Orange County Convention Center

8 – 9:30 a.m.                                     Room: W205 (West Concourse), Level II

9800 International Drive

Orlando, FL  32819

Afterward, you’ll be ready to hit the AHR Expo floor. We hope your first stop is the Emerson booth (#2101), where you can take a close look at some of our exciting technologies:

 

  • Copeland™ AWEF compliant condensing units for walk-In coolers and freezers — take energy efficiency regulations out of the equation with condensing units certified to meet AWEF requirements.
  • Copeland Scroll™ Digital Outdoor Refrigeration Unit, X-Line Series learn how precise temperature control and significant energy savings are made possible with latest innovation in variable capacity modulation technology.
  • Copeland™ Modular Indoor Solution — see how our AHR Innovation Award finalist provides an all-in-one micro-distributed solution for food retailers, restaurants and convenience stores with display cases and walk-in boxes.
  • Supervisory Controls — learn why retailers large and small rely on this total-facility platform to monitor, optimize and control their refrigeration systems, HVAC, lighting and more.
  • Connect+ Enterprise Management Software — get an inside look at our newest IoT-enabled software suite designed provide advanced operational efficiencies across a multi-site retail network.

Register now to reserve your seat at this informative, idea-filled E360 Breakfast — a great way to start your day at AHR!

 

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.

 

Bringing the Need for Qualified Technicians Into Focus on National STEM Day

benpicker Ben Picker | Product Manager – Copeland Condensing Units

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

National STEM Day is Nov. 8. From Emerson’s perspective, it’s a day to recognize the importance of science, technology, engineering and math — not only in our education curriculum, but also in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industries.

Bringing the Need for Qualified Technicians Into Focus on National STEM Day

Bringing the Need for Qualified Technicians Into Focus on National STEM Day

With the commercial refrigeration industry evolving to utilize more sophisticated technologies, technician jobs are becoming more technological than mechanical — and becoming viable options for those pursuing a STEM career path. A new workforce recruitment initiative by the Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) is addressing the technician shortage head-on via a new full-length documentary.

HVACR supply chain feeling the impacts

The impacts of the service technician shortage are being felt throughout the HVACR supply chain. While the vast majority of HVACR contracting business owners today are actively looking for technicians, this pain has far-reaching consequences — from wholesaler distributors to end users, owners and operators. Whether you’re operating a supermarket, c-store, restaurant or virtually any facility that has HVACR needs, the lack of qualified technicians is making it increasingly difficult to find reliable sources for new installations, routine servicing or emergency repairs.

And while industry stakeholders have been sounding the alarms for nearly a decade, it’s a problem that’s not going away. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HVACR mechanic and installer jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 15 percent nationwide through 2026.

A perfect storm of market trends, technological advancements and demographic changes are compounding the issue. This is especially true in refrigeration, where shifting store formats and environmental regulations have led to a proliferation of system types. These systems are introducing connected technologies, electronics and alternative refrigerants, many of which represent completely new servicing procedures. As the industry struggles to attract a new generation of recruits, many of our current service technicians are scrambling to keep pace with these system changes, or are planning for retirement.

HARDI releases “Hot Commodity”

The goal of HARDI’s new workforce recruitment initiative is to spread awareness of the HVACR wholesale distribution industry to the younger generation and encourage these individuals to pursue an HVACR career path. To spearhead this effort, HARDI is releasing a documentary that exemplifies their mission and explores the many HVACR-related career opportunities.

While the full-length film has yet to be released, HARDI is currently promoting a short trailer of the documentary. As one of the professionals featured in the film states, now’s the time “for the younger generation to carry the ball” forward.

The themes presented in the documentary include:

  • Alternative to traditional college — Many high school students are encouraged to attend college, even if it’s not necessarily the best fit. Vocational and technical schools offer an alternative to traditional college, while allowing attendees to begin earning a living as they learn.
  • Financial viability — With a median annual salary of $47,080, HVACR technician profession earnings are significantly higher than other occupations, even though the job doesn’t require a four-year degree. As one of the contractors in the film explained, it’s possible for service technicians with 10 years of experience to earn as much $100K per year. Increased demand for these jobs is driving salaries upward.
  • Variety of career paths — Whether you’re coming out of high school, or college, or seeking a career change, there are multiple opportunities and positions to explore. For example, the film mentions a microbiologist who sought a career change offering the potential to achieve ideal indoor air quality.
  • Changing perceptions — The perception of working in a dirty, dark and dangerous environment is changing. The next generation of HVACR technicians will work with rapidly changing, emerging technologies, electronics, computers and more.
  • Evergreen market — Achieving ideal air quality and reliable refrigeration in a dynamic market is an evergreen opportunity. As a result, HVACR professions are among the most sustainable across all occupations.

 

As a HARDI supporter and long-time champion of this cause, Emerson will continue to do its part to raise awareness of the technician shortage facing our industry. Our Educational Services group frequently partners with vocational and technical schools to donate equipment, offer training and career advice, and even judge HVACR-related competitions. Look for the full HARDI documentary to be released later this year.

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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