MILWAUKEE — A good contractor or facility manager knows that avoiding emergencies and unplanned repairs is crucial to minimizing disruptions and operating costs associated with a chiller. And just this March, Johnson Controls launched updates to its innovative smart connected chiller technology platform.

The cloud-based wireless technology enhances chiller maintenance practices, reducing unplanned emergencies mean-time to repairs and increasing chiller uptime and reliability. For contractors and consultants, smart connected chiller technology can help can pinpoint the root cause of issues during warranty, saving time and money as well as increasing customer satisfaction.

“This is an interesting technology play for chillers,” said Juliet Pagliaro Herman, director of service marketing and product management for North America at Johnson Controls. “We are leveraging the smart chiller panel to send data and faults to to a cloud based analytics platform. We can then use the power of cloud computing and analytics to assess this information in new and different ways to identify potential problems before they become emergencies. In addition, we make this information accessible to local experts as well as global and national technology support to help and make sure we can provide the best service and support for the piece of equipment.”

This technology platform currently has nearly 3,000 chillers online — more chillers are being connected every day.

“Having thousands of chillers online is great as we are continuing to evolve the platform and do more things with the data,” said Pagliaro Herman. “We will have more and more information that will allow us to go above and beyond the analytics we have today.”

Traditionally, customers alert their service provider when they have a problem, and a technician has to be onsite to troubleshoot and identify the problem. Now with smart-connected chillers times are changing — the chiller will alert Johnson Controls when it has a problem, and the technician can begin the troubleshooting process on their smartphone or laptop. By pinpointing the problem remotely, the technician can arrive onsite with the right tools and parts, minimizing the time to recovery.

Using this technology offers many benefits to the customer, such as:

  • Reduces the average mean-time to repair (MTTR) by 65% in the chillers that have been connected.
  • Reduces the number of shutdown issues by 66%. Using the data and analytics built into the platform, technicians can identify deteriorating conditions before they turn into problems, heading off downtime.

“From a maintenance standpoint we see two benefits: with a connected chiller we see a 66% reduction in what we would call shut down issues, which creates a better outcome for our customers,” said Pagliaro Herman. “We also see a 65% reduction in mean time to repair -  that is, the amount of time from the time a problem is identified to a time that it is solved. By having remote access to data and additional diagnostic capabilities we can pinpoint the root cause of the problem. We spend less time performing  the ‘non-wrench’ time activities, such as driving to the site or making a second trip for parts and supplies, and more time getting to the root cause of the problem and resolving it.

“Smart chiller technology is applicable to any building having a chiller,” added Pagliaro Herman. “Of course universities and hospitals get a lot of benefit out of predictive analytics to make sure they maximize uptime and reduce time to repair. In commercial applications we can help to optimize maintenance spend and get most out of maintenance dollars using the predictive and remote technologies to do a more conditioned based maintenance approach. The technology is versatile depending on application and how we apply it.”

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. The company’s 130,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and seating components and systems for automobiles.

Johnson Controls’ commitment to sustainability dates back to its roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through growth strategies and by increasing market share Johnson Controls is committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2015, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the No. 14 company in its annual "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list.