ACCA Urges Manufacturers To Develop And Adopt Universal Communication Protocols
ACCA, the nation’s largest association of indoor environmental systems professionals, is urging the industry’s manufacturers to become engaged in the development and implementation of universal communication protocols for equipment commissioning and on-going diagnosis for the purposes of ensuring that HVAC equipment is properly installed and maintained. Similar to what the automotive industry has achieved, initial objectives would be the development of a common set of error codes and a standardized access method (e.g., connection port or wireless) for data collection.
Developing and implementing a universal communication protocols and diagnostic tools for HVACR equipment will have numerous benefits, positioning the industry to overcome some of its toughest challenges; such as:
- Improved ability to properly diagnose system problems the first time, limiting misdiagnosed equipment and reducing call-backs.
- Improved opportunities to provide better service/maintenance contracts through improved communications.
- Increased productivity through potential failure alerts and prognostics that identify potential failure points.
- Help OEMs with installation verification of their equipment (and subsequent warranty issues).
- Reduced service and installation costs for contractors through better and more reliable equipment/system information and analysis.
- The ability to show potential next generation workers that the industry embraces technology.
“Universal communication protocols for diagnostics are something that many industries are already utilizing successfully, and it’s time that our industry gets on board,” said Paul T. Stalknecht, ACCA president & CEO. “I have been involved in this situation before when I worked for the American Trucking Association. There were objections and fear about moving to this type of plug and play system for diesel engines and truck maintenance. But once the productivity and efficiency benefits were made known to truck owners and mechanics, demand peaked and it was implemented and greatly improved the industry. I know there are a number of concerns in the HVAC industry about adopting these types of protocols, such as encouraging DIY customers, and manufacturers losing their ability to distinguish themselves from the competition through proprietary equipment design. However, we risk losing more if we sit back and do nothing, or worse, let another entity (perhaps the federal government) develop it and be forced to accept their protocols.”
ACCA believes that the industry can come together to develop and implement universal communication standards. To help move the initiative forward, the ACCA Board of Directors adopted the unanimous motion, “To implore the manufacturers of HVAC equipment to develop and implement open (non-proprietary), universal, on-board diagnostic (OBD) communication protocols for HVAC equipment self-commissioning and on-going diagnoses.”
The ACCA Board of Directors asked that this motion and issue be presented to the AHRI Board of Directors for their consideration, and hopeful action, at its next meeting.
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