On 3 May, the day after ATMOsphere Australia 2017, conference attendees had the chance to see a CO2 system in action on an exclusive site visit to TAFE (Technical and Further Education) NSW (New South Wales), one of Australia’s leading providers of vocational education and training.

The location is the site of a partnership between leading component supplier Danfoss and TAFE to provide Australia’s refrigeration technicians with much-needed up-skilling and training for natural refrigerant systems. The urgent need to close the training gap was a theme of the conference the previous day.

Resurgence of CO2

The free visit, organised and sponsored by Danfoss, gave conference attendees a chance to see the facility first-hand, and to learn more about how the industry is working hard to engage the public.

“Danfoss worked with Strathbrook at the time to come up with a solution that would give students the best learning outcome in the simplest format,” said Inderpal Saund, business development manager for Danfoss APAC.

Saund spoke of the recent resurgence in CO2 systems in the market and how the TAFE NSW program aims to seize upon this opportunity to re-engage the public.

“The idea is that Danfoss is backing TAFE to try and rejuvenate some of that interest. To try and get the learning back into it,” he said.

“To see that the [students] were learning about natural refrigerants was brilliant.

Kim Limburg, president, Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association

Leading system supplier Strathbrook Industrial Services supplied the two CO2 systems (transcritical and subcritical) used by the students for training. The systems are connected to a simulated supermarket showcase floor along with two walk-in freezer units.

“You need a system that mimics what [end users] were putting in at the time, as well as what they are going to be doing in the future, which is transcritical [CO2],” said Strathbrook Director Ian Wilson, who led the facility tour.

Asked whether the overall goal was to train more people and in a more effective manner, to prepare for what the industry knows is coming, Ian replied: “Absolutely!”

Kim Limburg, president of the Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association, who attended the site visit, was encouraged to see natural refrigerant training included in the curriculum.

“From a training perspective, it was important to see what the facility offered, in terms of physical training on site. To see that the [students] were learning about natural refrigerants was brilliant.”

Limburg emphasised the fact that the level of engagement shown by industry leading organisations was a step in the right direction for the industry in Australia.

“One of the things I acknowledged while I was there was, you have TAFE and you have the students, but you also have a wholesaler that’s actively engaged as in Danfoss. What the HVAC&R industry needs is that engagement.”

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