Browse Window Air Conditioners (A/Cs)

Window A/C - Expert Commentary

HVAC Efficiency Enabled By The Smart Buildings Of The Future
HVAC Efficiency Enabled By The Smart Buildings Of The Future

In today’s world, we spend almost 90 per cent of our time indoors, in our workplaces, leisure areas and our homes. It is no secret that the built environment has been relatively slow in its embrace of information technology and automation. According to KPMG’s ‘Building a Technology Advantage’ report, fewer than 20 percent of construction and engineering executives, and major-project owners said they are re-thinking their business models, so as to incorporate new technology. Yet, it has now become a necessity, as energy efficiency becomes a more prominent topic discussion, which is leading to sweeping changes across all aspects of our lives and none more so than in the built environment. Commitment to net-zero emissions Governments are beginning to impose tighter restrictions on building use, energy consumption and emissions. Policymakers around the world are committing to net-zero emissions targets, with more than 60 countries pledging to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the European Union (EU) is committed to become a carbon-neutral economy, with net-zero emissions by 2050 and all new buildings within the EU must be constructed as near-zero energy buildings. Meanwhile, China has legislated that at least 30 per cent of all new buildings must be ‘green’. Smart technology to better manage HVAC Technology can help optimize energy consumption and create energy efficiency in our buildings Given this new trend towards energy efficiency in the real estate sector, smart technology is needed to better manage HVAC and energy consumption. Buildings currently contribute 40 per cent of global carbon emissions, a problem exacerbated by extreme weather conditions across the globe, which increases demand for electricity, as more people rely on air conditioning for cooling. Technology can help optimize energy consumption and create energy efficiency in our buildings, alleviating many of the problems that we have today. Technology enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) can optimize comfort and safety, while providing remote operability and access to everything from HVAC systems to security cameras. At the same time, data collection and integration with cloud-based services allow for powerful energy efficiency measures. Designing and operating Smart buildings The concept and operation of smart buildings is not new. Architects and developers have been installing separate systems to control lighting and HVAC for decades. Later systems have evolved and helped building managers control access to different areas of a site, mitigate fire risk and protect against power surges. What is new is the addition of web-based platforms, in order to allow these verticals to integrate seamlessly with each other. The building of tomorrow is achievable today, using the latest in automation intelligence to control lighting, air-conditioning and heating. With these digital solutions, everything can be controlled remotely and allow for complete control, whenever it is needed most. Increased use of smart technology The first step in managing HVAC energy is to understand exactly how much is being used and where it is used. With this information at hand, managers can highlight areas for improvement, which in turn will help a building become more efficient and ultimately, save money. Another step in managing HVAC energy is including smart technology alongside your system Another step in managing HVAC energy is including smart technology alongside your system, as it can minimize maintenance costs. Predictive fault-finding can save maintenance time and labor, as well as minimizing downtime for expensive equipment or services. It is estimated that smart-enabled predictive maintenance is three to nine times cheaper than a traditional reactive approach. Tenant and occupant satisfaction are often also higher, as systems that experience failure can be identified, repaired and re-booted quickly. Smart building systems Smart building systems, such as ABB i-bus KNX ClimaECO and ABB Cylon BACnet solutions, can combine HVAC in one holistic solution, from central control and management of heating and cooling systems, down to room-level automation. Smart systems simplify the implementation of intelligent automation in modern buildings and using pre-installed algorithms, can make autonomous decisions on things, such as adjusting lighting and HVAC levels, to reflect time of day, external environment, occupancy levels or other variables. Additionally, data collection and data analysis enabled by IoT allows for increased knowledge and better predictions of use. Working with a smart building, which is interconnected, can act and learn on this data, while providing remote access to data and analytics for human oversight. The ROI of smart technology implementation In addition to legislation driving change, being ‘smart’ provides other real benefits for developers and owners. As a building adapts to the demands of its users or the goals of its managers, it can save energy, cut emissions and reduce energy costs. More effective and efficient use of power can save money, quickly repaying initial technology expenditure Comparing energy savings to the falling cost of installing a basic smart management system, smart buildings immediately prove their worth. According to HSBC, if a smart system delivered an energy cost saving of 25 per cent, on an installation cost of US$ 37,500, for a 50,000 sq. ft building, the annual savings could be as much as US$ 23,000, giving a payback period of less than two years. More effective and efficient use of power can save money, quickly repaying initial technology expenditure. HVAC and lighting alone can account for about 50 per cent of energy use in an average commercial building, but by incorporating smart automation, managers may see decreased energy costs of up to 30 to 50 per cent. Leading the fight against climate change Technologies, such as IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are crucial to help us in the fight against climate change. These technologies help users, owners, operators and facility managers interact with the buildings of the future effortlessly, with personalized comfort and maximum efficiency. Artificial Intelligence and IoT is constantly in a state of evolution, as more applications for the technology are discovered. Given the ever-changing nature of technology, the possibilities for smart buildings in the future are endless.

Here's How HVAC Contractors Can Navigate Shortages
Here's How HVAC Contractors Can Navigate Shortages

The ongoing shortage of HVAC equipment and tools has created a significant challenge for contractors around the country. At the same time, companies are also up against intense environmental conditions, like the extreme winter weather that impacted much of Texas in early 2021. The right strategies can help HVAC businesses navigate this shortage and make the most of the equipment they can order. Due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, raw material and component shortages have disrupted several critical links in the HVAC manufacturing supply chain. Various raw materials The most significant have been shortages of various raw materials, including aluminum, copper and plastic, and a notable lack of semiconductors. The semiconductor shortage has had a particularly broad impact on industries of all types. Right now, any industry that uses power electronics — from automakers to graphic cards manufacturers — is struggling to source enough chips to meet demand. The semiconductor shortage has had a particularly broad impact on industries of all types Many economists and industry observers are unwilling to make predictions about when the shortage will end. However, some have estimated that it could be as late as 2023 before semiconductor production returns to normal. Industries that produce raw materials needed for essential HVAC equipment may face similar recovery timelines. Salvaging working parts Consumer confidence is growing, and demand is returning to more normal levels as the pandemic begins to end. These market conditions could mean a quicker return to business as usual for these essential industries — but HVAC professionals should probably prepare for shortages that last well beyond 2021. There are a few strategies individual companies and contractors can use to outmaneuver these shortages. Temporary replacement components Loaner A/C units and temporary replacement components can bridge the gap when repairs are necessary Offer loaners and temporary repairs - Loaner A/C units and temporary replacement components can bridge the gap when repairs are necessary but customers aren’t interested in waiting for a new part. You may be able to offer loaner components or window units that can help keep customers cool. Salvaging working parts from systems your business replaces can give you a stockpile of functional, used items you can use for temporary repairs. These fixes will not last as long as a new part or complete HVAC system replacement. Still, they can provide a valuable stopgap when options are limited or customers aren't interested in more extensive work. Preparing reverse logistics Communicate with suppliers - Some manufacturers reduced component stockpiles to a minimum before the pandemic and have few spare components as a result. Others continued to buy items and may have parts on hand for contractors who need replacement components immediately. Communicating with your suppliers will let you know if rush orders are a possibility. In some cases, you may not have to worry about long lead times for every part, but only for specific components or products. Communication will also help you better prepare your reverse logistics Many HVAC businesses are also building stockpiles of their own, ordering parts and components well in advance to cover anticipated needs. Knowing which components or products are likely to require long lead times will help you inform your customers and get ready for repairs more effectively. Communication will also help you better prepare your reverse logistics — the processes you use to return unneeded or unwanted parts to suppliers. Good working practices Prioritize safe and sustainable work - Now is the time to make safety even more of a priority than usual. HVAC businesses can struggle in good times if a key employee is injured on the job. Independent contractors likely can’t afford the missed work that an injury may mean. The correct PPE and good working practices will help keep workers safe and encourage them to stay, making it easier for companies to avoid the HVAC skills gap. Safety will be especially important on hazardous job sites, like active construction or demolition areas. Following safety best practices for those locations will help keep you and your team safe. Cleaning condenser coils Teaching people how to safely clean their AC unit could provide similar benefits Let customers know how they can help - Communication with regular customers can also be key. It’s not unusual for someone to wait until their air conditioner has stopped working to schedule maintenance. As a result, issues with HVAC system components will typically not be noticed until they have failed or started to cause problems. It also means customers will miss out on maintenance that could reduce the strain on an HVAC system — like changing filters and cleaning condenser coils. Teaching people how to safely clean their AC unit could provide similar benefits. Encouraging regular maintenance and offering deals on services can keep their systems running for as long as possible without repairing or replacing components. Proactively informing customers about the long lead times needed for new or replacement parts may help you communicate why this upkeep is so important right now. Navigating the shortage Enable customers to upgrade their repairs - Other strategies that encourage customers to invest in replacements rather than repairs can help offset the higher costs of HVAC equipment. Second chance offers and similar deals allow customers to credit the cost of a repair against a replacement unit. These offers mean that even if customers choose to repair rather than replace a system, they can change their minds without losing the money spent on the initial fix. HVAC contractors should be willing to pass along these increases to customers Be willing to shift - Prices for HVAC equipment are likely to remain high during the shortage, and business costs will be higher as a result. HVAC contractors should be willing to pass along these increases to customers. Building in higher expenses for components and essential resources to your pricing will help you navigate the shortage. HVAC equipment shortage Anticipate related equipment and parts shortages - Your business should also be preparing for related problems — like the ongoing shortages of vinyl car wraps or replacement auto parts. Fleet vehicles that need repairs may be out for days or weeks at a time. Maximizing the lifespan of all business equipment with preventive maintenance will help keep the business running in the long term. The HVAC equipment shortage is likely to last well into the future — potentially as late as 2023. Businesses and contractors should prepare for rising costs and long lead times for new components and systems. To adapt to these new market conditions, companies may want to readjust their pricing schedules and change how they communicate with customers and suppliers. Proactive communication that prioritizes transparency will help businesses make the most of supplier relationships and let clients know what they should expect.

The Role Of Next Generation Refrigerants In Economic And Environmental Recoveries
The Role Of Next Generation Refrigerants In Economic And Environmental Recoveries

A landmark UN scientific study has once again highlighted the short window available to prevent irreversible climate change. Businesses are coming under pressure to dramatically accelerate their net-zero carbon initiatives. This comes at a time where market dynamism is returning across a range of key sectors following a downturn triggered by the pandemic. Businesses are also being pressured by stakeholders to recover revenues lost during the pandemic and to start rebuilding commercial activity. Typical supermarket products With refrigeration sitting at the heart of some of the biggest industries across the globe, including food commerce, healthcare, manufacturing and technology, decisions on refrigerant technology tap into the heart of the debate around environmental credibility, consumer expectations and economic recovery. So how can businesses balance the need to adopt more environmentally-preferable refrigerants with the urgent need to boost revenues? The technology factors into many of the most important facets of modern society Often when you think of refrigeration, you instantly think of cold storage and supermarket refrigeration. Without refrigerants, we wouldn’t be able to extend the life of many typical supermarket products or have the convenience of home storage. However, that isn’t the only role refrigeration play in our daily lives. In fact, the technology factors into many of the most important facets of modern society. The healthcare sectors, for example, would struggle to reduce the spread of infection without the use of modern air-conditioning, while the pharmaceutical industry requires refrigeration to store life-saving medications. Preserving human life On top of this, the digital revolution would not be possible. Without coolants, the data centers run by companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google would overheat, resulting in system failures and service outages. And finally, with temperatures rising across the planet because of global warming, and heatwave events becoming more common, refrigeration is increasingly important to preserving human life. Without refrigerants, recent extreme weather events would have been even more devastating. However, although refrigeration has been a solution for many human challenges, finding a refrigerant that is both safe and environmentally preferable is a challenge. In fact, before recent breakthroughs, many of the chemicals used as refrigerants, such as ammonia, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide and methyl chloride, were poisonous, corrosive and even explosive. Non-Flammable alternative CFCs were found to be extremely harmful to the ozone layer and were therefore phased out In the 1930s, a compound called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) was commercially introduced as a non-toxic, non-flammable alternative to established refrigerants and was in widespread use for a variety of applications by the mid-20th Century. However, CFCs were found to be extremely harmful to the ozone layer and were therefore phased out in favor of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The story wouldn’t end there, however, as HFCs were found to be potent greenhouse gases with high global warming potential (GWP). EU regulators therefore demanded their phase-out from 2016. By 2024, HFCs must be phased out so industries have been scrambling to find alternative low-global-warming-potential solutions. Unique chemical bonds The answer came in the form of hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), developed by renowned chemist, Rajiv Singh. HFOs are known for their unique chemical bonds, which allow them to break down in just a few days, so they don’t linger in the atmosphere if released and therefore don’t meaningfully contribute to global warming. Since launching its Solstice line of HFO refrigerants in 2012, Honeywell has averted the production of more than 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to emissions from more than 42 million cars, more than all passenger cars in Germany. Honeywell has averted the production of more than 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases The automotive industry was one of the first sectors to recognize the strengths of HFOs. During the past 10 years, nearly 75 million cars made in Europe have been fitted with HFO-based air conditioning systems. Supermarkets have also been reaping the benefits; more than 30,000 grocery stores currently use Honeywell’s non-flammable HFO refrigerant, Solstice N40, reducing their energy consumption by 10% and their global warming potential by a factor of three. Residential heat-Pumps HFOs are on the brink of being adopted for domestic use as well. New Honeywell HFO solutions are ideal for residential heat-pumps which enable the elimination of fossil fuel burning in our homes, for heating and for hot water generation. HFOs superior performance deliver ‘best-in-class’ energy efficiency, hence enabling heat pumps to generate more renewable energy from the waste heat vs. alternative solutions. As enablers for energy efficient solutions and systems, HFOs also offer unique opportunities for future developments such as domestic air conditioning, cooling of electronic vehicle batteries and the fast growth of data center cooling. The ‘Green Deal’ is EU flag ship regulation on climate and economy recovery. Overall, buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU’s total energy consumption, and for 36% of its greenhouse gas emissions from energy. Greenhouse gas emissions These new regulations and the corporation sustainability goals create a range of new opportunities To make it specific, heating and cooling, in the EU is responsible for 80% of energy consumed in residential buildings. Rapid adoption of Heat pumps and improved energy efficient solutions; are key contributors for Europe to reach the ‘Green Deal’ goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 and the recently adopted accelerated ‘fit for 55’ goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Adopting Low Global warning refrigerant, safe & energy efficient cooling solutions and replacing fossil fuel burners with heat pump systems to generate heat; are also key contributors to corporations’ sustainability goals (ESG). These new regulations and the corporation sustainability goals create a range of new opportunities for HFO solutions. As the popularity of HFOs grows, they’ll have a major role in mitigating climate change and enabling a carbon neutral economy. Pharmaceutical supply chains Happily, what’s good for the environment is also good for the economy. HFO production is already creating thousands of long-lasting jobs. The global pandemic stopped many people from enjoying a range of everyday pleasures such as visits to sporting events, restaurants and cinemas; activities at venues that are often reliant on some form of air conditioning and refrigeration, a sharp reminder of the role played by modern refrigerants. The technology continues to develop and evolve ensuring that a range of activities can continue to happen. From protecting the food and pharmaceutical supply chains to ensuring the continued operation of modern communication technology, next generation refrigerants will support some of the most important parts of the modern economy and a better environment.

Latest Haier news

GE Appliances Names Jason L. Brown To The National Association Of Manufacturers Board
GE Appliances Names Jason L. Brown To The National Association Of Manufacturers Board

The National Association of Manufacturers announced that Jason L. Brown, Vice President, General Counsel of GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier company, has been named to the NAM Board of Directors. Brown joins the NAM Board to bolster the association’s leadership in policy advocacy, workforce solutions, legal action, operational excellence, and news and insights. He will help the industry advance an agenda that promotes opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. About NAM Founded in 1895, the NAM, guided by its Board of Directors, is the largest industrial trade association in the United States, with more than 14,000 members. The NAM is the nation’s most influential manufacturing advocate, and its membership includes some of the world’s most iconic brands and many of the small manufacturers that power the U.S. economy. 90% of the NAM’s members are small and medium-sized businesses. The NAM and its members are at the forefront of every important policy debate for manufacturers and have led the nation’s response to COVID-19. Manufacturers are also leading by example with campaigns encouraging Americans to get vaccinated. Executives on the NAM Board, which comprises leaders representing companies of all sizes in every industrial sector, are the driving force behind the NAM’s efforts.  Jason Brown comments Brown looks forward to representing GEA and sharing the work around the country to strengthen U.S. manufacturing “I am honored to be a part of the NAM Board and continue to fight for policies that will ensure our continued growth and success as manufacturers,” said Brown. “It is critical for lawmakers to understand how their policies affect the more than 12 million men and women employed in manufacturing. The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging and rewarding of my career. I look forward to representing GE Appliances and sharing the work we are doing in Louisville and around the country to strengthen U.S. manufacturing, and to giving a voice to the 15,000 men and women who work each day to make and deliver the appliances that make our homes better.” Creators Wanted campaign Board members play a key role in the NAM’s “Creators Wanted” campaign, a member-driven initiative to inspire, educate and empower more Americans to pursue careers in modern manufacturing—and to shift perceptions about careers in the industry. The campaign, which supports MI programs for students, women, veterans, and other underrepresented communities and features a first-of-its-kind mobile experience and tour, seeks to cut the skills gap by 600,000 workers by 2025 and increase the number of students enrolling in technical schools, vocational schools, and apprenticeships by 25%, as well as the number of parents who would encourage their children to pursue a career in modern manufacturing to 50% from 27%. CEO's feedback on naming the BOD “Jason Brown is a recognized leader in our industry, and the NAM will be stronger thanks to his service on our Board of Directors,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers are the driving force behind our economic recovery and our fight to defeat COVID-19—with a commitment to getting Americans vaccinated. We are working with lawmakers to ensure they deliver the long-term policy work on issues like infrastructure investment, immigration reform, trade expansion, and workforce development. We will also defend the progress we’ve made on tax reform and regulatory certainty to ensure we can keep our promises to invest in our people and communities and build the strongest economy possible." Brown has been recognized twice as one of the “Most Influential Black Lawyers” in America by Savoy magazine "The NAM’s mission is to ensure we always keep moving forward, and Jason will bring invaluable insights as we advocate for the men and women of our industry and advance the values that have made America exceptional and our industry strong—free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty, and equal opportunity.” Experience and Education Brown joined GE Appliances in November of 2018, bringing 20 years of legal experience in consumer product manufacturing. He has been invaluable in helping the company increase its U.S. presence, navigate the challenges of the pandemic, lead enterprise risk management, and expand its focus on sustainability and citizenship. A staunch believer in the power of education and inspiring the next generation of leaders, Brown is the board chair for Chicago’s Legal Prep Charter Academy and serves on the board for The Jefferson Community and Technical College Foundation in Louisville. Brown also serves on the global board of directors for the Association of Corporate Counsel, a global organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations, nonprofits, and other private-sector organizations. Brown has been recognized twice as one of the “Most Influential Black Lawyers” in America by Savoy magazine.

GE Appliances (GEA) Announce The Release Of A New Vertical Terminal Air Conditioner, The GE Zoneline Ultimate V10
GE Appliances (GEA) Announce The Release Of A New Vertical Terminal Air Conditioner, The GE Zoneline Ultimate V10

GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier company, announced a new Vertical Terminal Air Conditioner (VTAC) poised to reinvent the design of Single Packaged Vertical Units (SPVU). The GE Zoneline Ultimate V10 was designed in collaboration with hotel and residential property owners and architects, to create a new way of installing the air conditioning chassis that makes installation 60% faster. GE Zoneline Ultimate V10 With additional features like ultra-quiet cooling, onboard diagnostics and SmartHQ WiFi capabilities, the GE Zoneline Ultimate V10 is a low maintenance unit providing guest comfort and reliable performance. “At GE Appliances, our goal is to design products that meet owners’ needs and create custom solutions for their environment,” said Kristi Saathoff, Senior Director of Product Management for GE Appliances. Kristi adds, “The Zoneline UltimateV10 is designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S. This allowed us to integrate customer feedback into our design to eliminate the most common pain points for the category, shorten lead times for customers, and add connected and diagnostic capabilities. This product is exemplary of our commitment to design and engineer innovative HVAC products that fit the needs of the North American marketplace.” Featuring new chassis and platform design The product, manufactured in Selmer, Tennessee, features a new chassis and platform design The product, manufactured in Selmer, Tennessee, features a new chassis and platform design with industry-exclusive features and multiple patents pending. GE Zoneline engineers collaborated with builders, property managers and architects to design the Insta-Platform, an innovative platform that is paired with a quick-install plenum and a perfect fit chassis, making the Ultimate V10 the easiest-to-install system on the market today. GE Zonelines are the industry’s quietest PTACs and GE Appliances has applied that knowledge to this product. The UltimateV10 is already the preferred VTAC for quiet performance and sound quality, when tested against competitors. In testing, 91% of participants preferred the Ultimate V10 air conditioner for superior sound quality and quieter operation. Onboard diagnostics and optional WiFi module Other features that optimize the guest and owner experience include onboard diagnostics that provide clear and fast diagnostics data. The units are also available with an optional WiFi module that integrates with GEA’s SmartHQ system allowing property managers to monitor multiple units remotely. “I have used GE Zoneline products in my hotels for years, and GE Appliances has proven to be a reliable partner for SINA Hospitality,” said Ravi Patel, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sina Hospitality. Ravi adds, “I am building a new Residence Inn property in Charleston, West Virginia and look forward to seeing this innovative product installed there. GE Appliances builds reliable products, and I am impressed with the features and quiet operation of this new VTAC. I look forward to our continued partnership.” GE Zoneline UV-C solution GEA is improving indoor air quality for hotel guests with an industry-exclusive kit for GE Zoneline PTACs GEA is improving indoor air quality for hotel guests with an industry-exclusive kit for GE Zoneline PTACs that uses UV-C light technology. The GE Zoneline UV-C solution is a perfect fit kit for Zoneline PTACs and designed to treat indoor air, as it cycles through the unit. Using a high-powered LED array for maximum intensity and efficiency, this new technology applies UV-C light to air as it passes through the unit, focused and channeled where most air movement occurs to reduce airborne virus concentrations.  UV-C kit customized for GE Zoneline PTACs The new UV-C kit is customized for GE Zoneline PTACs and can be installed to existing products. The kits will be available in the coming months. Soon, GE Appliances will also offer GE Zoneline units with UV-C-technology factory installed. “Clean air is critical to ensuring guests and residents’ well-being,” said Brigitte Mader-Urschel, Commercial Director for HVAC at GE Appliances, adding “This kit is a great option to increase indoor air quality. It works when added to existing Zoneline PTACs and can also be added to new units. GEA invented the PTAC category, and we continue to innovate and respond to the changing needs of our customers and the environment.”

GE Appliances Graduates First Engineer From New  Industry 4.0 Development Program
GE Appliances Graduates First Engineer From New Industry 4.0 Development Program

GE Appliances. (GEA), a Haier company, will graduate its first engineer from its newest workforce development training program – the Industry 4.0 Development Program – targeting recent engineering college graduates or mid-career employees who want to work in the company’s nine smart factories in the U.S. As a digital transformation sweeps across GE Appliances, the Supply Chain team is focused on developing talent to master technology and deliver results from the $1 billion of investments the company has made over the last five years. The new two-year program has four highly technical rotations in industrial controls, robotics, testing and data visualization. “To help us bring in and sustain much more advanced, automated equipment, we need people who understand it and can ensure it’s designed correctly to fit into our digital environment,” said Trent Ingrim, Senior Director – Advanced Manufacturing/Industry 4.0 for GE Appliances. “A lot of younger people want to grow their careers quickly. When they realize they can gain a lot of experience and seven or eight advanced certifications in just two years, they get excited.” The company plans to triple the number of engineers in the program over the next couple of years. Developing talent in-house Collie Crawford has the distinction of being the company’s first graduate of the new Industry 4.0 Development Program. With most of his co-op and prior work experience in industrial controls, Crawford was intrigued by the job posting and learning more in the other three areas. “I loved learning from the engineers during my rotations and finding new applications and ways to do things,” said Crawford. “There are so many considerations on how to make things work that you can’t learn in a class.” During a 2019 Trustbelt conference speech in Louisville, GE Appliances President & CEO Kevin Nolan encouraged attendees to embrace their own valley – that your workforce development challenges aren’t going to be solved by Silicon Valley or somewhere else. In the Ohio Valley, where GE Appliances is headquartered, the company is creating the Industry 4.0 talent pipeline to help solve the skills gap and ensure the company has the engineering talent it needs to support the recent investments in its U.S. plants and distribution centers. Industry 4.0 Development Program GEA’s Industry 4.0 Development Program is ideal for people with degrees in computer science engineering and mechanical engineering or graduates of mechatronic programs. The format of the program helps engineers see how systems work together and elevates their problem-solving skills. The four rotations provide the skillsets for today’s modern supply chain engineering roles. Industrial controls – The machinery in today’s modern plants is complex, with industrial and electrical controls that need to be programmed, including human machine interfaces (HMIs) or touch screens, PLCs or program logic controllers that make the machine work. In addition, there are many safety controls, such as light curtains and area scanners, to ensure nothing comes in contact with the operator that may pose a safety hazard while the equipment is operating. During this rotation, program members participate in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) design reviews and run-offs to learn how to ensure the equipment is compatible with GEA’s digital plant environment. Robotics –The rotation after industrial controls is robotics. Participants learn to incorporate the use of robots and other types of controls to work with the equipment – including the use of vision or cameras to drive expanded flexibility and capabilities in the factories. Test group – The third rotation is focused on testing with a twist from the past. The GEA team decided it would be a strategic advantage to create software and programming in house for test systems and equipment, which has been a “resounding success” with first pass yields up as much as 10%. The improved data is being reported or fed into the company’s Brilliant Factory data visualization system. To finish out the rotation, participants develop competencies in high-level programming and database use. Brilliant Factory – In the fourth and final rotation, participants continue to develop and refine GEA’s factory data visualization tool – Brilliant Factory – bringing new features to the platform on a weekly basis. interconnected factory “After completing the program, we want them to understand how a smart, interconnected factory works, and identify what they like most and feel the strongest about as they look for their first assignment off program,” said Ingrim. As Crawford graduates, he’s taking a controls engineering position in dishwasher manufacturing and hitting the ground running. He’s already been able to contribute with problem-solving on the new dishwasher wire rack line. “The program has made me a better automation engineer, prepared to solve broad problems within the plant,” said Crawford.

vfd