Thoughts of a fridge engineer.
We take refrigeration for granted so often , we expect cold drinks, ready meals fresh produce and along the creation of all of these refrigeration is a key component.
Training as a refrigeration engineer is hard work and long hours but also incredibly rewarding, there is no better feeling of job satisfaction than leaving a breakdown fully operational and down to temperature. We were always taught the Job HAD to go in, it HAD to work and it HAD to be reliable because none of us wanted call backs especially when we were on 24hr call out.
The diversity of jobs that that I was exposed to as an apprentice is mind boggling my first day at work was a maintenance on a Dunham Bush PCX12o screw chiller at Boots station st this thing was the size of a house! And I remember thinking “how am I ever going to understand the workings of this beast!”
Too often refrigeration engineers are taken for granted as well, they are expected to be there at the drop of a hat solve the problem immediately and get the kit running, when the challenges they face can be huge, freezers stacked to the roof so you can’t get to the blower, condensers buried in dustbin compounds or on roofs with no access, control panels with no wiring diagrams and deep freezes with frozen drains as the heater tape has failed no fun when its -20C.
It has always made me smile when VRF technology was launched as we had Variable refrigerant flow from supermarket packs years ago four compressors each with multiple cylinder heads that could be unloaded as demand dropped no inverters back then but rudimental capacity control
The basics of the vapour compression cycle have not changed and neither has the understanding of what’s going on in a system even as complicated as some of the VRF systems are we still use the same components, a 3 pipe heat recovery system in mixed mode can be a complicated system to visualize as indoor units are acting as both evaporators and condensers but its still the same refrigeration circuit.
Nowadays we strive for greater and greater efficiencies taking advantage of heat reclaim to water that can be stored and used in different processes, we have had clients using tanks with 12kw of immersion heaters heating the water for 100 cover restaurants with huge electricity bills, by using a heat pump to recover heat from the cook line and achieving cops of over 4 allowing return on investment in under 18 months! Who in their right mind would heat their home using the immersion heater? My parents taught me very well that was a bad idea!!
The heat pump has become the standard form of heating in offices, hotels, retail in fact anywhere humans congregate and if we are to reach our carbon emissions targets the domestic sector.
Don’t forget the simple standard one to on split, now packed with some amazing features, new low GWP refrigerant wifi control and very high COP and low energy use we have units you can work off your smartphone can sense when your in the room and give you 2.5kw of heating using only 500w of electricity
and all because of refrigeration!
Tony Evanson 26/06/2019