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Going live

Carrier’s new CO2 training facility is designed to reproduce a live store environment to give its engineers an authentic field-based experience. Julian Milnes reports

Carrier Commercial Refrigeration opened its CO2OLacademy field training facility in Germany at the end of last month, its first to be based on a live-store environment.

The CO2OLacademy facility aims to increase the technical knowledge and practical competencies of Carrier Commercial Refrigeration field technicians in Europe.

CO2OLacademy facility will serve as the central training site for Carrier Commercial Refrigeration’s service and installation technicians from across Europe,who will participate in practical training and exercises to improve skills and root cause analysis efficiencies, while sharing best practices.

Assigned technicians will be trained on specific carbon dioxide CO2 refrigerant technologies, while supplemental local training initiatives will also continue.RAC caught up with Bart Driessens, director, service operations, Carrier Commercial Refrigeration Europe, to get the insight on the new facility.

How did the idea for a live-store environment come about?

“With an increase in the number of supermarkets using CO2 refrigeration systems across Europe and the future evolution of CO2 technology, it is imperative to have a highly-trained field operations team to install and maintain these systems. CO2OLacademy is a central facility where we can train and test our field technicians on their knowledge and practical competencies to ensure the quality of our teams.

Describe the design process for the live-store layout? What are the layout/dimensions?

CO2OLacademy is approximately 400 sq m and includes a fully operational live-store technical training room, a cold and freezer room and a separate theoretical training room.

The theoretical training room is built with a glass panelled front wall to allow trainees to engage with the operational environment during the training.

As CO2OLacademy is specifically designed for training purposes, trainees can easily access the back side of the cabinets. The controllers are accessible and additional set-up is performed to ensure efficiency during training.

Where did the input come from? Were retailers involved?

CO2OLacademy was designed with retailers in mind, using proven knowledge and experience of typical store layouts in order to enable our technicians to deliver high-quality service.

Our service, turnkey installation, marketing, engineering, HR, quality, and environment, health & safety teams as well as the local team in Germany all had input into the facility design.

What was the biggest issue encountered?

Developing a flexible training centre that provides an adequate representation of the various CO2 technologies and models in our extensive cabinet range and installing them in a logical sense was challenging. The knowledge and experience of our technical teams, particularly with installing the equipment in a way that represents the special requirements of our customers, is at the core of our business. This time we were both the customer and the builder.

Describe Carrier’s ambitions for the training centre. Are there further plans for development?

The goal is to train a wide range of our technicians from across Europe on basic and advanced CO2 technology. It will be the central place where we transfer the technical knowledge of our engineering teams to the field technicians. That’s also why the location of the CO2OLacademy, next to the CCR Research & Development Centre in Mainz-Kostheim, Germany, is crucial to ensure interaction between high technical knowledge and field experience so that we can continuously improve our offering and the quality of our installation and service teams.

We will continue to ensure representation of the latest CO2 technology that is installed in our customer base. We plan to develop new technical training material that supports the latest technology and real-life experiences of the field technicians that pass through the CO2OLacademy.

How many technicians do you expect this year, and from where?

We expect to train more than 300 field technicians in 2015. In fact, our training courses are already filling up with field technicians from 23 different countries across Europe.

Looking forward, what statement is this for Carrier’s CO2 ambitions in Europe?

As CO2 refrigerant is more widely used across Europe, Carrier will continue to deploy technologies that minimise environmental impact. Having the latest CO2 knowledge at the CO2OLacademy and having the right processes in place to inform, train and practice CO2 technology for commercial refrigerationcontributes to our mission to bring the highest quality of service and knowledge to the field.  

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