March/April 2016 • www.cemag.us 9
input from all departments within a manufacturing
firm, from engineering and sales to IT and quality
control and more.
The changes also affect manufacturing processes, of course. As new products are introduced
into the manufacturing workflow, that workflow
must adapt, which is often a time-consuming process. Additionally, the demand for quality control
increases with the introduction of new products.
Manufacturers must ensure that new products and
manufacturing processes adhere to all relevant
codes, they must routinely test for required pressure
and capacity ratings, and they must select or design
accessories that are compatible with new products.
While new refrigerants are ultimately highly
beneficial, as they are more environmentally
friendly than their outdated counterparts, they have
introduced a great deal of complication into the
design and manufacture of refrigeration systems.
Refrigerant choice is not set in stone: manufacturers
are developing new refrigerant formulations to keep
up with customer demand and changing regulations.
Manufacturers must try to stay ahead of the curve to
balance the time investment necessary for each new
refrigerant and the products that can handle it with
the likelihood that the given refrigerant will remain
useful for enough time to be worth that investment.
Leading refrigeration system manufacturers are
continually searching for the next, best refrigerant
Customer feedback driving design
Both system electronics and refrigerant design continue to evolve, and as they do, even more efficient,
environmentally friendly, and user-friendly systems
are introduced into the market. In addition, industry-leading refrigeration system manufacturers are
working to expand their product offerings to fit
more applications, deliver new product options for
improved serviceability, and further increase system
Customer demand is driving refrigeration system
design in new directions. Customers continually
request higher efficiency to reduce the high energy
costs of operation, as well as designs that improve
sound reduction and monitoring capabilities. At the
current leading edge of these concerns, manufacturers are collecting customer feedback about their
specific applications and designing systems to meet
their needs. Century Refrigeration is also reducing
the sound levels in the company’s standard systems
to the level of former low-sound options.
Finally, as described above, manufacturers across
Looking toward the future
the industry are implementing improved monitoring
using cutting-edge electronics, including Internet-
connected systems that allow customers to check
their refrigeration system from any location remote-
ly. The goal of all these advances in electronics and
manufacturing processes is to continue to make sys-
tems more appropriate for customer’s unique appli-
cation, while reducing or maintaining the initial cost
of the equipment.
Finally, in the realm of refrigerants, there is an
ongoing industry debate regarding whether the
future of refrigeration technology lies with synthetic
refrigerants or with natural refrigerants such as propane, CO2, and ammonia. While industry opinions
are split on the matter, current trends indicate that
ammonia will likely continue to be used in very
large equipment and synthetics will likely dominate
the realm of smaller refrigeration systems.
In any case, no matter the refrigerants being used
or the design changes being implemented, it is clear
that the refrigeration industry is marching forward
into the future. As this occurs, engineers are adapting refrigeration technology to customer demands
for efficiency, low sound, serviceability, and easy
maintenance and monitoring, all while improving
the equipment’s environmental friendliness.
Today, major areas of growth in refrigeration
technology are the formulation of new refrigerants
and introduction of increasingly advanced comput-
erized control technology.
In the future, other aspects of refrigeration sys-
tem design may also change in order to meet cus-
John Jackson, Director of Product Design at Century
Refrigeration (a division of RAE Corp.) in Phoenix,
Ariz., is a refrigeration expert with over a decade of
industry experience. With a degree in Mechanical
Engineering Technology, he has worked for RAE Corp.
throughout his career. www.raecorp.com
are constantly working
to improve product
design, meeting customer demand and
by developing and incorporating cutting-edge