Trane converts unitary products from R-22 to R-410A ahead of schedule
Trane, a business of Ingersoll Rand, completed a global conversion effort from hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) R-22 to the non-ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) refrigerant, R-410A, for its entire unitary product line in the Americas. Trane accomplished this to ensure full compliance with federal U.
Trane, a business of Ingersoll Rand, completed a global conversion effort from hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) R-22 to the non-ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) refrigerant, R-410A, for its entire unitary product line in the Americas. Trane accomplished this to ensure full compliance with federal U.S. Clean Air Act provisions implementing the Montreal Protocol's phaseout of HCFCs. Unitary products are packaged products that are designed, built, and tested in manufacturing facilities, then delivered to the customer for quick installation and operation. The Clean Air Act has mandated that no new R-22 products can be shipped after Dec. 31, 2009.
Trane made the announcement at a celebration and Town Hall meeting at the company's plant in Clarkesville, Tenn. At a press briefing held before the Town Hall meeting, Jeff Moe, Director—Global Regulatory Planning & Conformance, Ingersoll Rand, said that Trane was faced with “the most significant regulatory impact the HVAC industry has faced. In the U.S., total conversion away from R-22 use in new equipment must occur by Jan. 1, 2010. At the same time, [mandatory] increased minimum efficiency requirements for commercial unitary are driving additional product change.”
Rather than work on the converging refrigerant and efficiency requirements in series, Trane addressed both of them in parallel by redesigning and reengineering all commercial unitary products and some chiller products over a 3-year period. In the end, not only are these products using non-ozone-depleting refrigerants, they are said to have improved efficiency, reliability, serviceability, manufacturability, and safety.
The following statistics underscore the size and significance of Trane's achievement:
$100 million was invested in new manufacturing systems and equipment in facilities that manufacture these new products in the Americas.
Research, testing, and development costs totaled more than $11 million.
More than 500 employees from the U.S., China, and France worked more than 3 million hours on the design and engineering side alone.
The conversion project was completed on time.
As part of this reengineering and redesign effort, Commercial Systems launched 17 new products over the past 18 months. According to Trane, this represents more new products than the company has introduced over the past 20 years.
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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey