• CCN editor, Sandra Rossi.
    CCN editor, Sandra Rossi.

Welcome to the mega-month of May. After months of preparation, ARBS 2024 is only weeks away.

Planning for the event is almost as hectic as the three-day exhibition.

I remember attending my very first ARBS Exhibition in 2012. This was when technology wasn’t as prevalent as it is today and products weren’t as energy efficient.

It was the year Daikin first began using R32 refrigerant. Its widespread use in Australia was still years away although there were local customers trialling the refrigerant in 2013.

R32 has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 650, which is significantly lower than the more commonly used R410A which is 1,980.

Today R32 is everywhere but back then its flammability was a very real concern.

Looking back, the key challenges and industry themes over the past decade have changed although some issues have remained the same.

For example, the skills shortage is still here and industry is still transitioning to low GWP refrigerants.

Despite the skills crisis our industry continues to grow. When I started at CCN in 2012 there was some 60,000 licensed technicians. Today there is over 100,000.

It’s fair to say that natural refrigerants have never looked so good and HFOs are beginning to make their mark.

At ARBS 2022 decarbonisation and heat pumps dominated conversation while net zero and AI are likely to generate a lot of interest this year.

There is always plenty of action on the trade show floor with new companies appearing every exhibition. This is despite a lot of M&A activity over the past decade and industry consolidation.

We are certainly working longer (and harder) with a new study identifying the highest retirement age increases in the OECD between the year 2000 and 2020.

Australia placed 12th on the list with a 6.79 per cent increase during this period while New Zealand was the only non-European country in the top 10. The nation came in fourth place with a 9.84 per cent retirement age increase.

It increased from 61 to a whopping 67 years old in 2020.

Diversity is back on the agenda thanks to the skills shortage. Women are certainly making their mark in our industry and it is also giving HVACR greater prominence in the community.

There is a greater awareness of the climate control industry as a result of initiatives like the Women in HVACR Showcase which will launch on 15 May, 2024.

Enjoy CCN’s special edition ARBS preview, it’s a 100-page issue of the magazine.

Until then I will see you at the show. Drop by the CCN stand at #675.