Three decades of telling your stories


15 October 2019
The first issue of ACR Today from October 1989
October 1989 saw the arrival of a new publication covering the world of air conditioning and refrigeration...

The most recent issue marks the 30th anniversary of the ACR Journal (formerly ACR Today).

That was then...

How many names do you recognise from the list of advertisers from the first issue:

Air Conditioning Products
Airedale International
APV Baker
BRD (Air Con)
Carrier Commercial Refrigeration
Carrier Distribution
Churchill Environmental
Climate Equipment
Coggins Welch
Cooling Services
Compressor Rebuild Services
Drakes Refrigeration
F&R Cooling
Frimatec (UK)
Haydon Air Distribution
Heating & Cooling Coils
HRP Sales
Ice Cool Services
Indoor Climate Control
Instant Cooling
Keeprite (UK)
Le Unite Hermetique
Meridian Sales & service
Refrigerant Reclaim
Smiths Refrigeration
SWM Air Conditioning
Refrigeration Services (Colchester)
Thermofrost Cryo
Toshiba (UK)
Trane (UK)
Trimco Coolair
VES Andover
Virginia Refrigeration
W F Refrigeration
York International
We are proud to be have supported the air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pump industries for the past three decades and look forward to telling your stories for many years to come.

For now, though, we’ll take a trip back through the archives for a glimpse of what life was like when Issue 1, Volume 1 of the new trade magazine rolled off the press.

Launched as an independent publication, with Keith Sutton as editor, ACR Today styled itself as the news magazine of the industry and also aimed to help business improve their efficiency through advice and technical articles.

Among the advertisers were Airedale, talking about its new range of split systems, Toshiba, Refco and Thermofrost Cryo. Carrier was promoting FloTronic chillers and a newly-launched commercial refrigeration arm, while Trane, Trox, Hubbard, Mitsubishi Electric and Munters were also represented. There was a full-page distributor ad for Daikin’s VRV air conditioning and Fujitsu announced the addition of two remote-controlled units to its existing wall-mounted range.

Refrigerant concerns
Although much has changed in the years since, a brief look through that first publication reveals a good number of familiar names still around today. Some have disappeared, of course, while some have become part of other organisations. But that is the way of the business world and the news pages of the time were liberally sprinkled with reports of mergers and acquisitions, much as they are now.

Also very much in the news, to the surprise of no one, was refrigerant. The Refrigeration Industry Board (later to become ACRIB) expressed its concerns at the lack of ozone-friendly low-temperature refrigerants for commercial refrigeration. 

Chairman James Little said: “We must make every effort to maintain food chain refrigeration services at economic levels, while safeguarding the ozone layer. The only way that we can achieve this is to continue the industry’s excellent progress in changing to the highly efficient and less harmful refrigerants (eg R22 and R502. Ill-advised proposals to restrict the use of refrigerants R22 and R502 come at a time when, not only is there no suitable alternative, but also when increasingly difficult temperature requirements are being imposed on the food chain.’’
Fast-forward two decades and the November 2009 issue of ACR Today, which celebrated 20 years of publication,  carried a full-page advertisement from IDS Climalife warning that, from the end of the year, the use of virgin HCFC was banned by law and reclaimed R22 was likely to be in short supply. Although the focus has switched from ozone-depletion to global warming, the messages are little different to those of today, with only the numbers changing.

Supporting industry
Elsewhere was a warning from CRAG, the Copeland Refrigeration Advice Group, about the problems associated with using inadequately cleaned and reprocessed refrigerant. Jane Gartshore, a future president of the IOR and now a director at training provider Cool Concerns, said: “There can be no doubt about the quality of refrigerant reclaimed by chemical manufacturers, but locally reclaimed refrigerant may not be of the same high standard. For environmental reasons we fully endorse the use of reclaimed refrigerants – but the reclaim process must be adequate.’’

Among the other topics highlighted in those early months was the need to attract more young people into the industry, along with calls to increase levels of training an expertise. So although the ACR landscape may have changed on some levels, other fundamental challenges remain.

Perhaps as a reflection of how some sectors have been re-shaped, no less than six pages were devoted to refrigerated cabinets. There was also a comprehensive preview of the upcoming H&V Show, with almost 500 exhibitors confirmed for the Grand Hall at Olympia.

In the classifieds, meanwhile, salaries for service engineers ranged from £13,500 to £20,000+, while a position as UK sales director was pitched at £35,000.

Chilly Chatter and Changing Faces were in that first issue of ACR Today and remain part of the ACR Journal. Another thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to supporting this industry, and we still want as many of you as possible to get in touch and let us know about what is happening in your business.

The current ACR Journal team would like thank all the readers, advertisers and former colleagues who have supported the magazine since 1989. 

Here’s to the next 30 years.
To mark our 30th anniversary occasion with something a little different, we thought we’d ask people in the industry what they were doing in 1989, and publish the responses in the magazine and online.
It can be work or non-work related and we would only be looking for a few words (maximum 50 please!) and a photograph of yourself… ideally from 1989-ish or a more recent one if you prefer.
We would need the words and pics no later than November 7. Please let usknow if this is something you would be interested in, by emailing
[email protected].
Content continues after advertisements