Training and education facilities are suitable settings for major HVAC manufacturers to develop new products, train the next generation of HVAC professionals, and help to ensure the future remains bright throughout the industry. Sporlan Division, Parker Hannifin Corp., recently created an innovative center with a clear focus on the future.
Sporlan felt it could fill an underserved part of the HVAC marketplace with its new training center in Washington, Missouri. The facility is designed for technical training on today’s modern refrigeration systems by offering both classroom and hands-on activities.
“The whole idea behind opening the training center was that we had the expertise to fill a niche in the industry,” said Andy Heinze, distribution channel development manager, Sporlan Division, Parker Hannifin Corp. “With the guidance of our distribution partners, including our distributor advisory council, we made the decision to construct this training center. We have a nice mix of experience in product design and field applications in the company. We had the necessary resources to create this facility and wanted a dedicated place for training.”
Heinze continued: “Other manufacturers conduct compressor training and VRF [variable refrigerant flow] a/c training programs, but we didn’t see many places offering full refrigeration system training like this. Our engineers have a great understanding of how to put all the pieces together.”
Goals for the Facility
While the facility boasts a broader goal of educating the industry at-large, there are also specific focuses.
Sporlan offers supermarket training and support through one-day traveling supermarket seminars. Heinze said the company has had discussions about including something like that in the training center, as well.
Heinze said the facility currently includes classroom and training segments.
“The classroom has tables, computers, a projector screen, etc.,” said Heinze. “The shop area has a painted epoxy floor, teardown and rebuild carts, and a fully functioning refrigeration system. We also take field-returned valves and have students disassemble that product, find the root cause of the problem, and show them what to look for out in the field when they encounter a similar situation.”
At the facility, Sporlan presents its specialist program, which Heinze describes as “an intense three-day training program focused on application and design of all our products. This class is really geared toward training and educating our distribution partners.” The program includes tours of the manufacturing and test lab facilities as well as product selection, application, teardown, rebuild, and refrigeration system troubleshooting.
Training, Research, and Education
One important factor for Sporlan is finding the right balance between research and training at the center. “The focus [at the Sporlan training center] right now is on training,” said Heinze. “We also have a refrigeration lab that we made a significant investment in with a fully operational supermarket system. That’s really where the research and development is done. We have the capability to run both existing products and new products through multiple testing and procedures.”
The facility will also make attempts to educate the entire HVAC industry moving forward.
“Sporlan has a rich history of training the HVACR industry since its inception in 1934,” said Ty Doyle, general manager, Sporlan. “Our training focuses on refrigeration system applications and troubleshooting for service technicians, distribution channel partners, and original equipment manufacturers. We have expanded our training to reach more of the industry by offering ChillSkills online courses, an updated one-day Supermarket Systems Training, and the advanced three-day Sporlan Specialist Program. This recent investment in our new training center represents the commitment Sporlan has to educating the industry, and solidifies our position as a leader in HVACR.”
“[Education] has been a cornerstone of what Sporlan does,” said Heinze. “We believe in being a good steward of the industry by focusing on education and quality. All of our outside sales engineers are highly skilled in refrigeration system application and troubleshooting, and it is not uncommon for them to go on site with a service technician to help solve an issue. For more than 80 years, Sporlan has remained committed to strengthening the industry through education. We are excited to continue our tradition of providing educational talks to the industry with 20 of Sporlan’s talks now recognized by North American Technician Excellence (NATE) for continuing education credits available through our authorized Sporlan wholesalers. This recent investment in our new training center represents the commitment Sporlan has to educating the industry, and solidifies our position as a leader in HVACR.”
Publication date: 3/9/2015