By Andy Fiffick, MACS Chairman and CEO, owner Rad Air, Cleveland, OH
One thing is for certain: Our service industry is in for an interesting ride for the foreseeable future! I use the word ride because although there are some elements within our control, many other factors shaping our future are outside, or at least beyond, our sphere of influence.
For instance, all indications are that the ride will accelerate over the next few years as R-1234yf is used in more and more vehicles rolling off the assembly line. The ride may even take a turn or two, with CO2 and potentially other alternative refrigerants entering the mix.
And to heighten the interest, some of the rules are changing. By rules, I mean some of the old tried-and-true methods of A/C service diagnostics are going by the wayside. MACS technical consultant Ward Atkinson addressed this recently, noting that “New A/C system components and electronic control technology make malfunctions of systems more difficult to diagnose (and tougher for the technician) to be assured that the correct repair has been accomplished.
“In these systems with extensive electronic controls, many system functions may not be controllable by the service technician when attempting diagnosis or repairing a system, which may result in inappropriate servicing,” Atkinson observed. Some of the system technology includes belt driven variable displacement compressors, electronic compressors, integral condenser receivers, internal heat exchangers, electronic expansion valves, heat pumps and concepts like fixed programmed operational modes.
Atkinson and others have appealed to SAE International’s Interior Climate Control Standards Committee (ICCSC) to help address this challenge for the service sector by developing standardized diagnostic tools and procedures, including standardizing methods for external control of certain functions of the HVAC system.
Given all these challenges, I hope you would agree with me that continued education and training such as that offered through MACS’ technical publications, evening clinics and annual training event are crucial for all of us who plan to stay the course.
I hope you would also agree with me that it is important to support the MACS forum through your active participation as a member. We learn much and profit greatly through the relationships established and nurtured within our unique community.
And on that note, I proudly announce a new formal alliance within our worldwide A/C community. As many of you know, MACS Worldwide has long enjoyed a formal affiliation with VASA (Automotive Air Conditioning, Electrical and Cooling Technicians of Australasia: www.vasa.org.au). We have been exchanging information, news, views and editorial content back and forth for more than five years.
Now, through action of our respective boards of directors, MACS Worldwide and MACPartners, the European association for mobile air conditioning services, have created a formal alliance for mutual support. We welcome formalization of this relationship, which has existed for years on an informal basis.
All of us working together will make that ride I mentioned much smoother.