GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog

GEA's Global HVAC Technology Blog covers a range of topics including:

  • Core HVAC Technologies
  • Technology & Patent Evaluation
  • Manufacturing Technologies
  • Product Quality Improvement
  • Materials/Failures/Corrosion
  • Product/Technology Commercialization
  • Business Strategy Development
  • New Factory Design & Equipment

We'll draw upon our range of experts to provide comments, insights, technical articles and a little humor from time to time

We encourage your participation and feedback!

Heating and Cooling Equipment Data Released

Posted June 17, 2016 1:00 AM by geanorm
Pathfinder Tags: global hvac hvac industry trends

AHRI released U.S. shipment data for the month of April, 2016 for residential and commercial heating and cooling equipment below 65 MBH. Shipments continue to lag those of 2015.

April 2016

U.S. shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps totaled 637,260 units in April 2016, down 5.4 % from April 2015. U.S. shipments of air conditioners decreased 3.2 % from April 2015. U.S. shipments of air-source heat pumps decreased 9.9 percent to 195,799 units, down from April 2015.


Year-to-date combined shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps decreased 3.7 % compared to April 2015 YTD. Shipments of central air conditioners decreased 2.4 % from the same period in 2015. The year-to-date total for heat pump shipments decreased 6.1 % from units shipped during the same period in 2015

Additional information can be found at the AHRI website.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

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New High Efficiency Refrigerants for Low Pressure Chillers

Posted April 13, 2016 8:00 AM by geanorm

A potential drop-in replacement for R-123 in water chiller applications was proposed recently by Chemours, the American chemical company that was spun off from DuPont in July of 2015. The new refrigerant originally developed by Chemours as DR-10 is now being offered as Opteon XP30. It has the provisional designation R-514a.

R-123 is scheduled to be banned from the manufacture of new equipment in January 2020 as a part of the HCFC consumption phaseout. R-123 will not be allowed in production past January 2030 with the 100% phaseout of HCFC's.
R-514a is a blend of 74.44% HFO 1336mzz(Z) a nontoxic, nonflammable gas which is currently manufactured and sold by Chemours as a foam blowing agent and Trans-1,2 dichloroethene a flammable gas that has no previous history of use in refrigerating systems. In the blend, the HFO 1336mzz(Z) negates the flammable component allowing R-514a to be proposed as a classification B1 refrigerant. ASHRAE classification B signifies a refrigerant for which there is evidence of toxicity at concentrations below 400 ppm. The OEL limit of toxicity is 323 ppm for R-514a while the class B1 refrigerant R-123 has a toxicity limit of 50 ppm. The second digit 1 indicates a refrigerant which does not show flame propagation when tested in air at 21°C and 101 kPa.

The HFO 1336mzz(Z) component has a GWP of 7 under AR4 and while the GWP of the proposed R-514a refrigerant was not disclosed, it would be expected to be less than the GWP of R-123 of 76.
R-514a joins HFO R-1233zd(E) as possible replacements for R-123. Trane has already offered HFO R-1233zd(E) in 2014 in the Series E CenTraVac. MHI followed with announcement of their small chillers in 2015 and last week Carrier announced at the China Refrigeration Expo its' AquaEdge 19DV two-stage, variable-speed centrifugal chiller will now be available with HFO R-1233zd(E) (produced by Honeywell as Solstice zd).

The new refrigerants will need to demonstrate compatibility with the materials of construction (especially the motor materials and the gasket elastomers) and the process materials such as the machining coolants when combined with the lubricant of choice. The white mineral refrigerant oil used in some R-123 applications is likely not compatible with the new HFO refrigerants so new lubricants may need to be selected and qualified.

The introduction of alternative refrigerants like R-514a and HFO R-1233zd(E) have produced a path forward for the successful replacement of HCFC R-123 but much work remains.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's Engineering Associate, Dennis Beekman for contributing this blog entry.

1 comments; last comment on 04/13/2016
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America's Most Trusted HVAC Brand

Posted March 30, 2016 1:00 AM by geanorm
Pathfinder Tags: hvac industry purchasing trends

For the second consecutive year, Trane ranks highest in trust among Heating and Air Conditioning System Brands according to Lifestory Research 2016 America's Most Trusted Study™.

The study, based on 17,878 national consumer opinions, tracks how trust impacts consumers' evaluations of HVAC brands. Consumer opinions were collected over the course of the prior 12 months across the United States.

The Lifestory Research America's Most Trusted Study, in its fourth year, awards companies that provide services or products to customers in their home.

Brands currently awarded the designation of America's Most Trusted include home builders, active adult resort home builders, cabinets, faucets, electric utilities, HVAC systems, kitchen appliance brands, laundry appliance brands, paint, and residential realtor organizations.

Lifestory Research is the publisher and the Lifestory Research 2016 America's Most Trusted™ Study is the source.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz, for contributing this blog entry.

6 comments; last comment on 03/31/2016
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Manufacturer's Salary Survey Tells All

Posted March 17, 2016 1:00 AM by geanorm

More than 900 executives and managers of U.S. manufacturing companies responded to the 2016 Industry Week Salary Survey. Among the more interesting findings:

Professionals made, on average, $114,528 in 2015. This was down a bit from 2014, when the average was $114,615.

Average Executive salary dropped more than 15% to $164,209, compared to $193,644 last year.

Women were paid considerably less than men, reporting an average salary of $90,482 vs. $117,662.

And who says size doesn't matter? Average salaries at companies with revenues greater than $1B paid 25% higher salaries than companies with revenues less than $20M.

Companies are continuing to value and pay for Experience to the tune of 45% higher salaries for 25 or more years' experience than with five years of industryexperience.

But, is salary at the top of the list of today's manufacturing professional? No, but it is third after Job Stability and Challenging Work.

And when asked the question "What jobs are you having the most difficulty filling?" respondents provided the following:

  • Engineers with four-year-degree (120+ -various types)
  • Industrial Maintenance (51)
  • Quality specialists (35-various types mentioned)
  • Sales (32)
  • CNC Operator/Machinist (29)
  • Welder (29)
  • Toolmaker (20)
  • Manufacturing engineer (19)
  • Production workers (17)
  • Production managers (13)

So how about you? How do you compare to US averages? Check the summary table to the right and see!

You can download a copy of the complete eight page report 2016 IW SALARY SURVEY from the IW Website or the GEA Website. There are more insights and data in this well done survey thanks to our friends at Industry Week.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

1 comments; last comment on 03/18/2016
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Using Expert Consultants Effectively

Posted February 24, 2016 1:00 AM by geanorm
Pathfinder Tags: expertise hvac industry trends

The availability of consultants to address virtually any problem or situation in life has increased exponentially during the past decade and is still continuing to grow. Large companies, including the Fortune 500, augment their staffs by engaging 10% to 50% through outsourcing selected work to consulting companies or by hiring temporary help. More recently, we are seeing Small and Medium size Businesses (SMBs) increasing their competitiveness by also learning how to access and utilize this expertise in many critical areas of their businesses.

Today's Competitive Landscape

To be competitive, today's HVAC companies need high levels of expertise in diverse and complex technical specialties. Yet, many SMBs have found it impractical to keep permanent staff for each specialty through times of fluctuating business and market conditions.

Today's business model has a core organization which provides business and organizational skills, financing, and needed continuity along with a group of seasoned technologists in the various areas of expertise needed to support today's business and market needs. These expert consultants can be located anywhere. And, when the project has been completed, they magically disappear until the next urgent need arises for his/her expertise.

Some clients maintain an open channel to key expert consultants and use their on-call availability to provide added competitive advantage while only paying for time actually spent supporting the clients' calls. This is a very efficient arrangement.


Quite simply, it is high value for your money due to increased productivity at lower cost. Consider the following advantages of using "part-time" consultants in place of full-time employees (or doing without).

  • Extends the capacity of the organization for short term urgent work (i.e. Opportunities)
  • Gets the very highest level of talent quickly.
  • Provides an independent viewpoint. Brings objectivity and detachment to the problems encountered
  • Work on an "as needed" basis (as requested by client)
  • Provide specialized skills not available within existing permanent staff
  • When existing staff cannot be made available in a timely manner
  • Allows you to hire a level of expertise that you might otherwise not be able to afford
  • Typically able to start quicker than trying to free up in-house resources
  • Solve problems such that client's people will be able to solve these problems in the future.
  • Most consultants bring years of industry experience in addition to their technical expertise which allows teams to make better and quicker decisions with confidence.
  • Provide alternate opinion (counter "Group-Think")
  • Experienced technical consultants can often provide professional expert witness services
  • Provide immediate global experience for your company to draw upon

Formula for Success

Expert Consultants generally cost less on a project basis although hourly rates are often higher than similar in-house resources. Expert consultants use their expertise and experience to make better decisions, quicker and more reliably reducing the time and expense for the project team while achieving a higher success rate than teams lacking these capabilities.

To achieve this operating efficiency companies need to plan for it. This includes finding, in advance, expert consultants in the key areas of importance/opportunity for your business. Having your key experts prescreened and approved in advance allows you to bring them in on short notice for urgent situations as they arise.

In some industries, there are consulting firms that specialize in providing expertise pertinent to the industry. For the HVAC Industry, GEA Consulting provides such a range of experts that can be available on short notice to support clients' urgent needs as they arise. Clients see this as an extension of their staff at their disposal, ready to go.

This use of expert consultants necessitates special skills of managers. in assembling the "talent" for a specific project. Success also hinges on the need to get consulting resources in your budget in advance so you can be ready for action.

Just as there are revolutions going on in other industries (Uber in transportation, AirBnb in the lodging industry, autonomous driving in auto/transport industries),your company can be a leader by selective and strategic use of key expert resources to create and maintain competitive advantage.

Visit the GEA Website for more ideas to improve the performance of your company. We'd also like to hear from you about your ideas and success stories.

Editor's Note: CR4 would like to thank GEA Consulting's President, Larry Butz,, for contributing this blog entry, originally appearing at

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