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[Webinar Recap] The Journey to Data-driven Refrigeration Insights

Charles Larkin | Director of Data and Analytics, Cold Chain

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

The utilization of data analytics and data science techniques is rapidly expanding throughout the commercial refrigeration sector. From the implementation of food safety programs to the identification of potential equipment performance issues, operational data can be transformed in a variety of ways to drive operational improvements and business outcomes. In our most recent E360 Webinar, I explored some real-world examples of how our analytics team is helping leverage data to drive improvements in their quality control (QC) initiatives.

When considering the role of data analytics in commercial refrigeration, it is important to understand that data should be viewed as an entry point for discovering larger issues and digging deeper to find root causes. Historically, the management of food safety QC programs has relied on paper-based recording and tracking methods, but these can be cumbersome to maintain, inaccurate and difficult to transform into usable insights. In addition, refrigeration data can be very complex and difficult to interpret and our industry is just beginning to unlock the potential uses of data in these applications.

Thankfully, modern data science techniques and machine learning algorithms are helping to deliver insights that uncover issues previously hidden from food service and food retail operators. Here are a few examples that I discussed in the webinar.

Descriptive analytics of QC programs in foodservice

Traditional hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) programs are paper-based checklists that do not easily yield valuable insights. In addition, the process of manually checking the temperatures of coolers, freezers and food (pulp temperatures) — and physically recording all of this data — is labor-intensive, inefficient and often inaccurate.

By leveraging cloud-connected sensors, we are able to digitally record HACCP temperature data and present that information in the form of easy-to-digest descriptive analytics. Through intuitive visual dashboards, foodservice operators can see their HACCP compliance checklist rates — per store or operation on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis. By doing so, they can then easily identify patterns that indicate areas of improvement.

Diagnostic analytics of refrigerated shipping container performance in marine transport

Applying data science to the process of measuring condensing unit performance in a refrigerated shipping container has allowed us to leverage more diagnostic analytic capabilities for our customers. These containers are at sea for extended periods of time, typically carrying high-value perishable shipments, so it is critical for operators to continually monitor refrigeration performance, identify issues early and make the necessary equipment or process corrections.

Performance data patterns in refrigeration units can be unpredictable, chaotic and difficult to interpret. By capturing this data over extended periods of time and processing it through advanced analytics techniques, we are able to identify patterns in condensing unit system health and make recommendations. For example, our analytics teams can diagnose when system health begins to decline so the operator can take proactive steps to fix potential issues before they become larger ones. When used across a fleet of shipping containers, we are also able to reframe this data into dashboard views to indicate which containers have issues that need immediate attention at any given time.

Prescriptive analytics in food retail

As we move these concepts into the retail space, we are applying similar techniques used in our food service and marine examples in an environment that can be significantly more complex — with diverse refrigeration systems, compressor racks and display cases to monitor. We are finding ways to make operational data simple for food retail operators to consume and to give them tools to identify precisely when and where they are having temperature excursions or performance issues.

Through a combination of performance dashboards and live alarms, we are able to help our customers assess the health of key assets and identify temperature deviations. This allows them to see which cases were having product deviations and begin the process of figuring out root causes (such as set point changes, defrost effectiveness or myriad other factors). From an enterprise view, these insights give large retailers the ability to monitor and analyze performance across multiple sites and examine why different stores have variations in performance characteristics.

Effective data analytics also provide more insight into which alarms are most indicative of critical performance issues. As a result, we can deliver a reduction in total alarms — on display cases and product temperature probes — which simplifies food retail operations and improves the overall likelihood of maintaining the desired temperatures.

To learn more about how data analytics can uncover insights in your operation, please view this webinar.

 

 

 

[New E360 Webinar] Leverage Data to Optimize Refrigeration System Efficiency

Charles Larkin | Director of Data and Analytics, Cold Chain

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

Within the ever-expanding scope of commercial refrigeration applications, internet of things (IoT) technologies have a wide variety of potential uses. From helping to preserve food safety and quality to implementing smart maintenance programs, IoT programs can be utilized to address some of food retailers’ most critical operational concerns. In an upcoming E360 Webinar, which will take place on Tuesday, July 20 at 2:30 p.m. EDT/11:30 a.m. PDT, we’ll explore how retailers can utilize IoT initiatives and data-driven insights to achieve key operational objectives.

Attendees of this webinar will gain an understanding of IoT fundamentals and learn how hardware and software can combine to deliver valuable information on equipment performance. By utilizing connected sensors on equipment and installing smart control devices, operators can leverage previously untapped data to uncover real-time and historic insights on refrigeration status, performance trends and overall asset conditions.

Then, using advanced software with powerful machine-learning (ML) algorithms, this data can be processed and further analyzed to deliver more predictive insights, identify preventative maintenance (PM) opportunities, and even develop prescriptive maintenance models.

The upcoming webinar will explore how retailers can unlock the vast potential of data within commercial refrigeration applications, such as:

  • Identifying procedural problems in quick-service restaurants (QSRs) with respect to adherence to their hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) programs
  • Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of implementing digital HACCP programs and/or remote temperature monitoring of refrigeration assets
  • Developing algorithms for the marine sector to help provide early detection of potential food safety/quality issues during sea transport (and applying these concepts to food retail)

To learn more about how IoT programs can deliver operational insights in commercial refrigeration applications, please register for this informative webinar.

 

 

[New E360 Webinar] Attract the Next Generation of HVACR Technicians

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

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

Every year on June 26, Emerson pauses to recognize World Refrigeration Day (WRD) and celebrate the people and technologies responsible for creating and maintaining temperature-controlled environments. To commemorate this year’s WRD, we will be hosting an E360 Webinar on Wednesday, July 7 at 9 a.m. EDT/6 a.m. PDT that will focus on the importance of attracting and recruiting the next generation of HVACR service technicians. Our E360 Webinar will build off the theme of WRD 2021, Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World, by exploring the emerging career opportunities available in the HVACR technician profession.

For more than a decade, the commercial refrigeration industry has faced a growing challenge finding qualified service technicians to service and maintain an increasingly complex variety of refrigeration architectures. As the previous generation of technicians retire and fewer candidates enter the field, our industry faces an urgent need for a new generation of skilled technicians. Emerson has long been a champion of bridging this career gap by highlighting the abundance of opportunities for young people seeking a viable long-term career path outside of a four-year college education.

This E360 Webinar is part of our continued commitment to solving this industry-wide dilemma. We will begin by discussing related industry trends and highlight the many positive aspects of an HVACR technician career, including:

  • Leveraging advanced technologies and modern tools
  • Equipping technicians with skills that allow them to immediately earn a competitive wage
  • Providing co-op opportunities that allow technicians to earn a paycheck while learning their trade
  • Earning more money than people with higher levels of education
  • Learning skills that contribute to making the world a better place
  • Inspiring passion in HVACR professions
  • Educating, recruiting and retaining technicians

After exploring current trends and opportunities, the webinar will feature a roundtable discussion with global Emerson stakeholders about strategies for recruiting the next generation of HVACR technicians. Panelists will include:

  • Joe Healy, director, application engineering (technical support) — Asia and MEA
  • Trevor Matthews, HVACR training & development specialist (marketing/business dev) — Canada
  • Alonso Amor, director of engineering services (technical support); Carlos Obella, VP, engineering services and product management (technical support) — Latin America
  • Don Gillis, technical training specialist (education/training); Becky Hoelscher, director, aftermarket sales (outside sales); Jennifer Butsch, director, regulatory affairs (marketing/business dev); Nicholas Didier, mechanical technician (R&D/engineering) — U.S.

As a recent vocational school graduate and participant in Emerson’s pre-apprenticeship program at The Helix Innovation Center, Nicholas Didier will close out the webinar by discussing his unique vocational and career path, including his recent distinction as a “20 under 20” award winner.

To celebrate WRD with Emerson and learn about how we’re helping to recruit the next generation of HVACR technicians, register for this important webinar.

 

 

 

European Retailer Selects A2L as the Basis of Its Refrigerant Transition

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

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

As the transition from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP) continues in the U.S., commercial refrigeration stakeholders are actively pursuing emerging low-GWP alternatives. Among these include a variety of synthetic and natural options, from A1s with a familiar footprint to mildly flammable A2Ls to the naturals A3 (R-290) and CO2 — all of which can meet very-low GWP thresholds but have varying characteristics which dictate system design architectures. In our most recent E360 Webinar, a leading European retailer provided details about how they chose an A2L refrigerant as the basis for their organization’s refrigerant transition.

Although A2L safety standards have yet to be finalized in the U.S., the case study presented by Brian Churchyard, senior manager of engineering and energy of UK-based ASDA stores, provided a useful framework for how U.S. retailers could follow a similar path to regulatory compliance and sustainable refrigeration. He detailed ASDA’s journey toward lower-GWP refrigeration, which ultimately concluded in the selection of A2L refrigerant R-454A with a GWP of 238.

Creating a new refrigeration design standard

Churchyard explained how ASDA formed a collective working group comprised of numerous agencies, private businesses and industry experts to conduct a detailed assessment of A2Ls. The group developed a design standard for the safe application of their chosen refrigerant, which was based on existing data from the use of R-290 (even though A2L flammability levels were well below those of R-290).

After comparing the performance of A2L refrigerants to other alternatives through numerous trials, the ASDA team concluded that their new design standard achieved their objectives of lowering capital investment, energy consumption, lifecycle costs and carbon emissions. It’s important to note that while R-454A does not have the lowest GWP of the available A2L alternatives, it offered performance improvements that helped to meet these sustainability goals while adhering to the EU’s F-Gas regulatory requirements.

Moving to an A2L also required a reduction in refrigerant charge, which dictated that ASDA would also need to transition from large, centralized rack systems to smaller distributed remote systems. Churchyard said that other benefits of a decentralized approach included limiting the potential for leaks while eliminating risk by having a single point of failure.

Focus on safety and leak mitigation

Of course, safety is a primary concern when using a flammable or mildly flammable refrigerant, and minimizing leaks was an essential part of ASDA’s design strategy. Churchyard stressed that leak prevention was a top priority in all their refrigeration system trials — whether it was an A1 HFC, CO2, hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) or A3 refrigerant. Preventing leaks not only minimizes the potential for emissions, but also ensures that the system is operating at full capacity and efficiency.

Churchyard said that in the event of a leak, display cases are equipped with a modular alarm system integrated into the case controller. If leakage is detected within a case, the system will activate an alarm that effectively triggers a shut-off valve that stops refrigerant flow to a particular display case. In addition, leakage thresholds are set at such a low level as to prevent the potential for A2L ignition. Quality inherent among system joints, connections and proper installation was a major collective focus of the new design standard, which included remote distributed refrigeration plants and their associated display cases.

Churchyard said case upgrades were often the first part of their refrigerant transition strategy. When store operators identified existing HFC cases that needed to be replaced, the first step was to upgrade to cases that were compatible for A2L use — even though they were still using an A1. Then, when the distributed A2L refrigeration plants were installed, these stores could safely transition over to the use of the R-454A A2L refrigerant.

ASDA has been leveraging this strategy since 2019, when it was recognized as the first retailer to adopt an all-A2L refrigerant strategy. To learn more details about ASDA’s successful refrigerant transition, please view this webinar.

[Webinar Recap] Explore the Next Generation in Supervisory Controls

Katrina Krites | Marketing and Business Development

Manager, Food Retail

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

Building management and refrigeration control platforms have become essential tools of the trade in food retail operations. From providing visibility to key systems, faults, statuses, and alarms to fine-tuning performance with advanced algorithms, building control strategies and network connectivity, these platforms give operators and technicians the information they need to maintain efficient store operation. In a recent webinar, co-hosted with Sam Smith, Emerson’s director of product management for digital solutions, we explored the next-generation capabilities of Emerson’s new Lumity™ E3 supervisory control.

Unified control platform for E3 and site supervisor

Earlier this year, Emerson launched the Lumity brand with the goals of providing our customers with data-driven insights to inform operational decision making while helping them ensure food safety and quality. The E3 is among the first products to be launched under the Lumity umbrella. Built upon the foundation of the Lumity supervisory control software platform, the E3 shares the same software with site supervisor. Thus, end-users only need to learn one software platform. Any enhancements made to the software will be available in all available control devices and accessories.

Familiar form and fit with enhanced functionalities

The E3 was designed to provide a true drop-in hardware replacement of the E2, offering the same familiar form and fit, but with greatly enhanced functionalities. The back of the E3 enclosure is designed to fit into existing panels to eliminate the need for new wiring while reducing installation costs and headaches via:

  • Identical wiring holes, mounting points and vents
  • Fits into existing panel cut-out
  • Total of four COM ports for connected devices with two isolated COM ports
  • Fully backward compatible with MultiFlex and IONet boards

The front of the device features an integrated 10-inch, touch-screen display that provides on-site access to the software interface. Web-enabled capability supports online remote visibility from a web browser or mobile device, delivering the same user-friendly experience, regardless of how it is accessed. Compared to the E2, the E3 processing power is 12 times faster and includes 16 times the built-in memory for faster response time and increased storage capabilities. Several models are available, depending on the type of control needed:

  • Building control (BX)
  • Refrigeration control (RX)
  • Combined building and refrigeration controller (CX)

Whether operators prefer a distributed or centralized control architecture — or some combination of the two — the E3 has the built-in flexibility to communicate to upstream and downstream devices. Data integration protocols include: Rest MQTT and SOAP, which allows the E3 to serve as a gateway of communication throughout the network to deliver insights into every aspect of store operation.

Empowering decisions with insights

The E3 is designed to empower stakeholders of all disciplines and skill levels to take decisive actions through a variety of intuitive features. Store operators can manage day-to-day performance while technicians can take a much deeper dive to optimize system performance, perform detailed analyses, and fine-tune facility controls.

  • Floor Plans: Access 2D/3D views of store floor plans to monitor each device, locate active alarms, and streamline your team’s prioritization and response.
  • Graphical Scheduling: Easily update, set, and duplicate schedules via simple click-and-drag functionality and a graphical interface.
  • Smart Alarms: Review straightforward alarm notifications — not cryptic or confusing codes — to detect, prioritize, troubleshoot, and resolve issues.
  • Performance Meter: Monitor refrigeration asset performance from one dashboard to verify refrigeration fixtures and equipment are performing as expected.
  • Site Aggregator: Bring the entire control network into a consolidated view — includes connectivity to legacy Emerson devices (such as E2 controllers) as well as third-party devices.

To learn how you can leverage the power of the new Lumity E3 supervisory control and software platform in your facility, view this free webinar.

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