In this new era, we find ourselves having to adapt to life with minimal face-to-face contact.
It would be easy to claim that Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA) were visionary, planning for a pandemic like situation where remote learning was the norm.
But the truth of the matter is for the past 18 months RRA were preparing to bring TAFE’s refrigeration apprenticeship into the digital age, modernising the way that air-conditioning and refrigeration students learn about refrigerant recovery long before the pandemic hit.
The processes for recovering refrigerant, pressure testing, evacuating and re-charging systems are critical for both upholding industry best practice and reducing the emission of ozone depleting and high GWP refrigerant gases. With each type of system requiring a different recovery process, training new apprentices on all systems can be challenging, especially with budget constraints and rapid evolving technology.
Last year, RRA initiated a collaborative project with TAFE to develop a series of new digital training resources for their Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration course. This course is essential for the industry as it provides apprentices with the skills to become qualified air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics.
The digital resources are set to launch this month and include a training video series and an augmented reality (AR) Refrigerant Recovery training app. The resources have been specially developed by RRA and TAFE to provide an innovative and hands-on way to for apprentices to understand the refrigerant recovery processes for different types of equipment.
The Refrigerant Recovery AR app, is expected to be an indispensable resource for TAFE and the industry, providing apprentices with a comprehensive and interactive learning platform. The app works on all smartphones and tablets that support augmented reality. RRA will also be launching the desktop version that can be used on all modern PC’s and Mac’s. The app allows apprentices to fully understand the recovery process for split system air conditioners, vehicle air conditioners and industrial refrigeration systems. The app can be easily modified to include different types of equipment as new technologies emerge.
Using the app, apprentices select a system and watch a detailed walkthrough before undertaking the process themselves through an interactive AR experience. By training with this modern-day tool, apprentices have a realistic experience of the process in a setting without the confines of the classroom, access to tools and the freedom to make errors without compromising safety all while reducing the likelihood of accidental emissions of refrigerant. The AR app boasts an extensive step-by-step guide of all processes with a high level of detail. Apprentices are even asked to select the virtual tools and protective personal equipment required for the process before beginning. The app also includes a ‘Visualisation’ button, allowing apprentices to see and understand what is happening inside the system. This feature includes visualisations demonstrating gas pressure, speed and direction.
In order for us to continue to improve the industry’s environmental performance through increased recovery rates and build on the past success, it’s vital that our apprentices continue to have access to innovative and comprehensive training tools to learn and understand these critical procedures.
Afterall it is thanks to the hard working, diligent licensed air conditioning and refrigeration technicians and mechanics who have recovered ozone depleting and high GWP refrigerants gram by gram, that RRA have collected more than 7,500 tonne of used and unwanted refrigerant for destruction since our program began. This has prevented 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent being emitted and saved the destruction of 10 million tonne of stratospheric ozone. We could not have achieved this without them.
Refrigerant recovery is more than a legal requirement, it’s a step towards a better future. Keep making a difference.