Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business
Emerson is pleased to announce our sponsorship of the third annual World Refrigeration Day (WRD), which is celebrated globally today, June 26. The theme of this year’s WRD event, Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World, coincides with Emerson’s commitment to raise awareness of the expanding career opportunities throughout the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry. For our part, we will commemorate WRD by promoting the importance of education and recruitment of HVACR technicians via an E360 Webinar, as well as on our social channels and website.
As the world’s only international event designed to increase visibility and raise awareness of the significant roles that refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACP) technologies play in modern life and society, WRD has become a special day here at Emerson. This year’s focus on career opportunities aligns with a key initiative that we have been championing for more than a decade: the growing shortage of skilled, qualified and certified HVACR technicians.
According to recent industry statistics, 80,000 HVACR technician jobs are currently unfilled — representing 39% of the total industry workforce of 260,000 professionals. At the same time, the industry is losing an estimated 20,000 technician jobs per year due to the retirement of an aging workforce or basic career attrition rates. If we continue along this pace, our industry could potentially face a deficit of 100,000 technicians within the next five years.
Solving this problem is an industry-wide obligation that will require the participation of all stakeholders — from contracting companies, manufacturers, end users, wholesalers and trade associations to educators, adjacent industries and government agencies. Addressing this challenge and proposing potential solutions will be the collective focus of our WRD-themed E360 Webinar on Wednesday, July 7 at 9 a.m. EDT (6 a.m. PDT) titled, Exploring Cool Careers and Emerging Opportunities in HVACR. This webinar will assemble a global panel of experts to discuss recruitment strategies and highlight the many positive aspects of an HVACR technician career, including:
Leveraging advanced technologies and modern tools
Equipping technicians with skills that enable a high earning potential
Co-op and apprenticeship opportunities to learn the trade while also earning a paycheck
Learning skills that support our infrastructure and make the world a better place
Inspiring passion in HVACR professions
Today, Emerson’s social media channels will feature a series of videos and related content from many of our global regions. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to see information highlighting:
The importance of recruiting the next generation of HVACR technicians
Key individuals and success stories in the field
The value of this evergreen, in-demand career path
For Emerson, becoming a “cooling champion” for World Refrigeration Day is all part of our commitment to helping the industry address the growing HVACR technician shortage and ensure a more sustainable future for our planet. To learn more about these efforts, please register for our upcoming E360 Webinar and read our latest E360 Article.
Predictive maintenance is showing big promise in the HVACR market. I recently provided input for an article for ACHR The News that discusses how predictive maintenance technology is being used in the commercial and residential markets. You can read the full article, “Predictive Maintenance Brings New Potential to HVACR Service Market,” here.
HVACR systems are becoming smarter and more connected using internet protocol (IP) networks and the industrial internet of things (IIoT). These allow the real-time monitoring of equipment, or predictive maintenance, which gathers data points from equipment to keep tabs on system performance in order to help reduce the likelihood of failure.
For HVACR contractors, this means identifying a problem before it causes a larger issue, so that maintenance can be done to prevent equipment negatively impacting food quality and safety or other operational imperatives. For instance, a refrigeration rack alarm may indicate an issue that can be addressed, preventing operational issues that could have a negative impact on multiple cases of perishable product or thousands of dollars in-store merchandise.
How it works
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 for a single store, stores within a region or enterprise-wide
Enterprise-level and store-level dashboards and prioritized notifications
For an example of how this differs from a rack alarm scenario, let’s look at a display case analysis based on temperature sensor data. Performance analytics may detect an anomaly in case temperature deviations which, while still within safe ranges, could suggest the presence of a larger performance issue. Instead of being notified with an urgent alarm, operators can be alerted on their operational dashboards. This insight gives them an opportunity to investigate the issue at their discretion, and even potentially pre-empt a potentially larger issue. It’s important to keep in mind that timing is key.
This is also an example of how operational dashboards can help retailers to align maintenance and operational activities around performance. Today’s facility management dashboards typically break down the urgency levels of maintenance issues, as previously noted. By extending these dashboards also to include performance analytics, end users can gain a much deeper understanding of how their systems are performing and operators can take pre-emptive actions where they deem appropriate — not just respond only to systems where urgent problems are already present.
Equipped with this information, operators can receive advance notice of certain performance issues that may soon impact them — on which systems or pieces of equipment, and in which stores. Enterprise views quickly provide managers with visual snapshots of urgent and important issues across their store networks, while enabling investigation into specific assets in their respective facilities. Whether you’re a maintenance technician or an enterprise manager, operational dashboards help allow you to focus on those specific maintenance activities which may potentially impact performance in the near future.
A change in approach
Commercial refrigeration systems consist of many connected components — often originating from multiple vendors — designed to meet a wide variety of applications, ranging from coffin-style display cases to walk-in freezers. Industry macro trends further increase this complexity, including the adoption of new refrigerants and the migration from centralized to decentralized and stand-alone systems. Commercial contractors will need to do more than simply install connected sensors and devices; they will need to change their approach toward commercial refrigeration, including the ability to combine new technologies with deep experience within the context of widely varying system requirements.
Rather than focusing only on what is happening at any given moment in a location — whether that’s a low- or high-priority alarm — analytics can help operators gain deeper insights into issues that could have future operational impacts. Access to these insights helps operators transition to a condition-based, analytics-driven approach — one where they can take proactive steps, perform preventive maintenance, use resources more efficiently, and stop smaller issues from becoming larger problems — instead of a more reactive approach.
What to watch for
IIoT features new technologies that will likely result in operators being able to deploy interconnected devices more widely, potentially at a lower initial cost. These offerings may drive value for operators by causing significant energy savings, lower maintenance and service costs, and improved operator experiences.
At Emerson’s innovation centers and in customer field trials, we are working with our customers to tackle the challenges related to predictive maintenance head on. By modeling refrigeration applications, we have helped our partners take a more methodical, deliberate approach to predictive maintenance. Our goal is not simply to throw more IIoT at the problem, but to help provide true insights from the data while leveraging our deep intellectual capital and experience in the commercial refrigeration space. We believe this helps us deliver the transformative value that predictive maintenance represents. By doing so, we can be a part of simplifying the complex and uncover insights that are representative of the industry’s most common refrigeration scenarios.
For example, a typical refrigeration system or rack has alarms that identify current issues only, and slow leaks often can be difficult to discern from normal fluctuations. But with a machine-learning supervisory app, multiple models can account for variable operating envelopes with up to ~90% accuracy and identify leaks as many as 30 days before physical detection devices.
While it is difficult to predict five years in the future accurately, it is safe to assume that with the adoption of 5G technology and other advances in component miniaturization and cost reduction, solutions will continue to get smarter. With a flood of data occurring at both the enterprise level (reporting) and the device level (gathering data), we will need more intelligence in interpreting this information in order to help deliver better, more accurate results.
In the meantime, one thing that contractors can do is avoid the rush to recommend IIoT implementation that can result in applications which can create more “noise” — i.e., a barrage of events to monitor and triage — and trigger false errors or events that identify issues too early (or too late).
Information in this article was first published in ACHR The News, March 16, 2020.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before the doors open at the AHR Expo on February 4,join usat 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.
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.
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!
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.
Commercial & Residential Solutions is a global innovator of energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications. www.climate.emerson.com
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