President’s Message by Dave Rule

In this issue of the Condenser, we’re looking at the exit strategies that end users and manufacturers alike are using – to move away from hydrofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons. As former IIAR chairman Bob Port mentions in our cover story “There is a lot of internal pressure to get out of [HFC’s and HCFC’s] from a sustainability standpoint, but it has to come at a reasonable cost and be a good business decision.”

Increasingly, moving towards natural refrigerants as a solution is both affordable and – considering advances in technology and corporate environmental responsibility – a good business decision.

For years, those of us close to this industry have seen the potential of natural refrigerants, ammonia, CO2 and other refrigerants, to close the gap on the problem of global warming and ozone depletion. Now, that potential, and the opportunity that comes with it, is beginning to grow.

We’re seeing a real investment in our industry’s technology.

Package and low charge systems are growing like never before, and new applications for natural refrigerants are cropping up everywhere. That energy and focus has opened the door to new relationships, in places like the commercial refrigeration world and in the regulatory community, where we’ve forged important new relationships and found advocates for natural refrigerants.

As those new relationships – and new demand for natural refrigerants in traditional and non-traditional sectors – grow, our committees and volunteers are facing the challenge of meeting the needs of this major transition.

As an organization, IIAR will need double the manpower, engagement and enthusiasm of its members to help our industry grow and realize the potential that a move away from HFC’s and HCFC’s represent.

Fortunately, we’re up to the task. Growing as an industry will mean developing and embracing the systems, components and innovation that will enable our core technology to find use in new environments and applications.

One example of this is automation. To keep pace with changing customer needs, and also deal with a severe technician shortage, facility owners are now making investments in the new ammonia system controls and sensors that are helping us automate safety, maintenance and efficiency.

While such an embrace of new systems can make our industry as a whole safer – when automation is used correctly and applied well – it can also add tremendous cost and create safety problems – when it isn’t.

The challenge to IIAR, its committees, and members as a whole is to address new issues around automation and make sure appropriate standards are written that will help us apply new control systems in the best possible manner.

In this new environment, regulators will apply a broad brush when reviewing sensors and controls that are part of a system, placing their confidence on the side of automation. As a group, we’ll need to be there to help guide where automation makes sense, and where our technicians and engineers should apply their expertise.

The challenge is for us to create the proper standards and guidance around sensors and control systems, and actively take control of how automation will shape our industry.

Right now, there is no definitive standard for automation, and the field of potential applications is so broad, it will be a task just to pinpoint where, and how, standardization should apply.

Nevertheless, this effort, as always with standards creation, will be an exciting way to engage the commercial, manufacturing and end user communities to ask them to participate in helping to shape our future.

We’re in the process now of doing preliminary analysis of where, and how future standards around automation should apply

As an industry, our passion and dedication for what we do easily translates into the kind of “can do” attitude that is necessary to turn out much of the work we depend on to keep our core business future proof.

I’ll end this month’s column with a challenge to IIAR members and nonmembers alike. This year, become your industry’s best advocate by taking an active role in the work of your IIAR organization. Get involved in the work of the IIAR committees and lend your voice and experience to our industry.

We’re getting an excellent response and return on the work that we all collectively do on behalf of our industry, and that return just illustrates why your IIAR membership is so important.

We’ve just opened the 2017 IIAR membership renewal cycle and we’re already getting an excellent response. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to renew your membership so that you can continue to provide your input, participation and enthusiasm to this essential group for another year and beyond.

With your help and hard work, IIAR and our industry is poised for unprecedented growth.