As manufacturers transition to providing products and solutions for individual global markets it becomes increasingly necessary to invest in R&D on a global scale to stay competitive. 

In the climate technologies market, making products that are more efficient is the fastest way to reduce emissions and lower global warming -- key customer performance requirements. 

Similarly, companies doing business in new emerging high growth markets like China or India will fail without proper attention to future trends and standards decisions.

The commercial refrigeration and air conditioning industry may not seem fast-paced compared to others, but the landscape is changing and decisions being made in emerging markets such as China and India are driving large U.S. companies to evaluate coming (or future) plant locations, product line choices, investment decisions and more.

The consequences could play out in some key areas: in the international competition for investment in an important manufacturing industry; in the battle for market positioning within the industry; and in the environment, of course, with respect not only to the ozone layer but also to greenhouse gas emissions.

The lessons learned in this industry are applicable to all manufacturers looking to increase market share in developing nations.

A brief contextual history shows that international concern for the depletion of the ozone layer led to the 1987 Montreal Protocol and the phase out of harmful chlorine-containing refrigerants. Growing anxiety about climate change attributable to greenhouse gas emissions led to the adoption of non-ozone depleting hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs) which has been both rapid and effective.  But it’s not as simple as switching a good refrigerant for a better one.  That would be equivalent to putting diesel gasoline in a non-diesel engine.  Refrigerants have very different temperature and pressure requirements and improper use can result in damage to the equipment or environmentally harmful leakage.

So with the international call for safer, more environmentally friendly refrigerants, much of the world agreed to move, for example in air conditioning, from the then popular refrigerant known as R-22 to the much more eco-friendly R-410A.  That process was started almost a decade ago and manufacturers have invested in new product lines, technology and R&D that would be able to produce equipment capable of working with the new refrigerant.