I've had a great start to 2014 and am feeling very upbeat about the industry again after some very trying times at the tail end of last year - for the UK in any case.
I'm just back from a week in New York - albeit not great at this time of year with temperatures last Tuesday/Wednesday dropping as low as -15°C! Weather aside though, it was a very positive trip.
The primary purpose of the visit was to attend the First Symposium on the Global HVACR Industry's Supply Chain's Refrigerant Training and Education - a mouthful of a title certainly, but a really positive and rewarding experience. The concept for the symposium came about during a chat over lunch while attending the UNEP conference in Milan last summer with the president and ceo of AHRI (The American Heating and Refrigeration Institute). The association mainly represents manufacturers across the North American continent. Its president told me he was impressed by what we at AREA were doing in Europe and for UNEP in the developing world. They had also been asked by UNEP to do something similar for South America and the Far East had concerns about training standards, particularly with regard to the safety issues that come with many of the alternatives we are faced with.
As manufacturers increasingly globalise their products, for obvious reasons, there comes an increase in the demand for standards of technical ability to be globalised too. So AHRI organised this symposium to run just before the start of the AHR Expo / ASHRAE show, when many of the concerned parties would be in the same place. Having seen some of the comments left made on recent blogs, I now appreciate that the ACR News website is read worldwide. This has made me more interested in getting to know how the industry is dealing with issues outside Europe. I have to say that after last Monday's meeting I am very confident that we, as an industry, can really get on top of these issues for the long term benefit of all.
In addition to the warm welcome I received from my counterparts in the USA and Canada, I also met with people from Brazil, Mexico, China, Japan and South Korea as well as others I already know from Europe. There were people representing manufacturers, distributors and contractors, so we really did have a good global representation across the industry.
Agreed steps forward include working internationally on minimum competency levels for RACHP engineers/technicians. The starting point for this discussion is likely to come from AREA's Refrigeration Craftsman results that formed the basis of the F Gas certification requirements and also a commitment to work internationally on educating the political classes and getting the right messages across. This is so important in creating the right atmosphere to make sure that new legislation is workable and can be policed.
So, happy new year to all the ACR News readers from far and wide, and here's to a busy and productive 2014 and to building on new relationships across the Atlantic.
05 February 2014 11:45:00