Patton Plc., an Auckland, New Zealand-based HVAC&R wholesaler, highlighted the country’s the need for transcritical CO2 and digitization training for technicians in a recent webinar.

In neighboring Australia, contractors like AJ Baker & Sons and engineering groups like Grosvenor are investing in natural refrigerant training for staff and apprentices.

However, in New Zealand “there is very little training around any natural refrigerants, and there needs to be transcritical CO2 training rigs set up here,” according to Megan Dinsdale-Jones, Marketing Engineer at Patton Plc.

Dinsdale-Jones discussed the need for training at ATMOsphere Australia, an online event hosted by shecco (publisher of this website), on July 28.

Despite the lack of training, “we are seeing more and more people showing a lot more interest, especially with the heat reclaim side of the CO2,” Dinsdale-Jones said.

Fonko, a New Zealand-based contractor, is now working to improve familiarity with CO2 systems, according to another speaker at the conference, Vince Audino, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Fonko.

The company plans “CO2 training modules that will cater for a first-year apprentice right through to a design engineer,  with tailor-made modules to help progress their skill levels and confidence while working on transcritical systems.”

Digital training

In addition to CO2 training, the New Zealand HVAC&R industry needs more training on digital systems, according to Dinsdale-Jones.

Digitization is a growing trend across the HVAC&R sector. It refers to gathering data about refrigeration systems, which give insights about system performance, and allows users to maximize this performance.

We now use “advanced algorithms and analytics to identify and resolve potential faults and issues with leaks and failures more proactively, so that they don’t go unnoticed for an extended period of time,” according to another speaker at the conference, Ura Sarfejoo, Country Leader, Integrated Technologies – Digital Solutions, at Johnson Controls.

“Technology has dramatically evolved the way we manage and monitor energy consumption in buildings and plant rooms.”

However, the uptake of digital resources has been slow in New Zealand.

“You can almost program a controller to do anything you like these days, and the skills aren’t really there for a lot of technicians,” said Dinsdale-Jones. “There needs to be a bit more support.”

We are seeing more and more people showing a lot more interest, especially with the heat reclaim side of the CO2.”

Megan Dinsdale-Jones, Patton 

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