This article appeared in leading industry title Process & Control, September 2016.
There’s nothing quite like production downtime or a process heating and cooling system that’s struggling to cope to give engineering and production managers a headache. But there’s a wide range of ways to tackle the problem without reaching for the paracetamol. Dave Palmer, sales director at the leading temperature control specialists ICS Cool Energy explains the options.
When it comes to process temperature control, there’s very little we haven’t seen or dealt with over nearly 30 years across the widest range of industries and businesses imaginable. But despite technological advances and the sheer scale of today’s production capacity, what can still be surprising is the number of businesses dealing with temperature control issues that cost a fortune – and putting up with it! The solution does not always have to be expensive and can be quite simple – as long as you’re talking to the right people and asking the right questions.
Buying New – four key questions
1. First of all, you need to know that your chosen supplier, in effect a very important business partner, understands your business and what you need to deliver not just now but for the future. Ask them what similar projects they have done and if they have testimonials and case studies to prove their solutions have worked for others.
2. A solution or just a product? There are many different product choices on the market but a supplier who can put together a range of products and a package that’s unique to your business, working with engineering houses as required, will ensure you get the best value for money, short and long term. We will also provide equipment to ‘try before you buy’.
3. Range: Whatever the size of your business, a supplier with a wide range of products at their disposal will always deliver better value and not just the ‘one box fits all’ package
4. Energy efficiency: A question that can no longer be ignored. Can the supplier offer free cooling (energy savings of up to 70% are not uncommon), are the chillers ‘A’ rated? And can they offer other sustainable measures such as remote monitoring?
Few of us would buy a car and then never check the tyre pressures or have it serviced and the same applies to temperature control equipment.
Not all temperature control providers have a national network of highly qualified engineers who are experienced in maintaining precious equipment, and available 24/7 in the event of a problem.
If there is a problem, how long will it take for an engineer to be there while your production is limping along, or worse?
There’s added peace of mind with planned, preventative maintenance plans which can be factored in to the budget and cashflow. Experienced engineers know exactly what they are looking for and will service and check the equipment, pressures and glycol levels. In addition, does your provider’s service includes thermal imaging inspections which can help detect problems before they arise. An example of this is that we’ve saved one major national company around 40% of its maintenance budget just by having regular servicing.
Not just for emergencies
Hire of temperature control equipment is often thought of as an emergency service and it does rescue thousands of businesses every year, protecting reputations and minimising production impact. So it always pays to have the number of a hire specialist with a large ready-to-go fleet at hand and one that can deliver rapidly. Our team for example can often be on site within just a few hours.
Hire solutions though are not just for emergencies, They are ideal as a back-up when there’s routine maintenance or refurbishments going on but also for the longer term. Many businesses are also opting to hire equipment as an alternative to capital expenditure, offering planned cashflow, access to the latest equipment and with servicing and maintenance included.
A small investment in time to meet with the right supplier who can deliver a comprehensive package of solutions may reveal some pleasant suprises in time, money and energy saving. And most importantly, for businesses, it can also mean that the paracetamol remains firmly locked away in the medicine cupboard.