ASERCOM president Wolfgang Zaremski.
Mr Zaremski, to take up the office of ASERCOM president, you have resigned your presidency of VDKF, the Association of German Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Companies. What was your motivation for becoming more involved with ASERCOM?
The acr industry is facing difficult times. New refrigerants, stricter regulations in the area of energy saving, industry 4.0 and changes in the market structure and the associated players are just some of the challenges that await us. It is an exciting and important task to accompany and influence these changes. I have been working in the industry for over 40 years and have a deep insight into the entire market. This knowledge and experience I now want to return to the industry. As an independent European association, ASERCOM offers just the right gear levers for this. In addition, the tasks at ASERCOM, for example in the area of component certification, or the new technologies that have to be developed in response to Ecodesign regulations coming into force, appeal to me.
Your term of office began in March this year and will last a total of four years. What are the goals you would like to achieve during this time at ASERCOM?
ASERCOM brings together market leaders from all over Europe, but this is only known to insiders. A very important goal for me is therefore to change ASERCOM's public image. Our association brings together the cumulative engineering efforts of the most important market players in the acr industry. So far, this is not being adequately recognised.
In addition, we would like to expand our presence beyond our small circle, right down to the individual craft businesses. ASERCOM should establish itself as the knowledge base in the field of components for the industry.
Furthermore, I think it is very important to establish new alliances between the individual associations in the sector and to work together more strongly and efficiently.
Then there are, of course, many content goals, especially the switch to new refrigerants and mastering the associated technical modifications. This applies not only to industry, but also to our work at ASERCOM. With the refrigerant substitution, the certification regulations must be modified and the industry and users must be introduced to the changes. Here, we see ourselves under a responsibility.
Apart from the switch to new refrigerants, is the acr industry facing any other changes? What are the biggest challenges?
We are in a time of transition. Climate change is causing an enormous upswing for the industry as the demand for air conditioning systems rises. At the moment, 1.6 billion private households worldwide own an air conditioner. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expects the figure to rise to 5.6 billion by 2050. This will be accompanied by regulations that will force the introduction of new refrigerants and thus place new demands on the technology itself.
At the same time, the entire market structure is changing, from the demands of the end user to the fusion of companies and the internal focus on specific technologies.
Another factor is the changes brought by digitalisation. Industry 4.0 will not stop at our industry, either. There are many opportunities, but also a need for action that must be addressed.
What is the best way for the acr industry to approach digitalisation?
The industry must not stand still. A paradigm shift could also take place at any time in the acr industry. In order to master the challenge of digitalisation, we must tread unconventional paths and solve our thinking process from the past. We have to face up to the challenges and identify development opportunities; products and production chains must be re-thought and factories must become more intelligent.
We need to re-evaluate the entire acr infrastructure. The area of network security also needs to be considered. Here, we require clear security guidelines for HVACR devices connected to open networks and we need to analyse the risks of Internet attacks.
How can ASERCOM support the industry here?
As an active listener – we have to listen to the market to find out what the market really wants. This is the only way we can gain insights and transform them into services. At ASERCOM, we have the unique and convenient situation of being able to bundle and focus information from many high-quality sources. Thanks to our market-leading members and cooperation with other industrial and trade associations, unique synergy effects are created. Nevertheless, as an association we retain a neutral and strong voice. With our working groups, we can react flexibly to the demands of the market and, as required, establish new expert councils, dissolve them and deploy them in new positions.