Manufacturing in Ireland is a diverse yet thriving market and a crucial cog in both the national and international supply chains. But despite technological advances and the sheer scale of today’s production capacity, what’s still surprising is the number of businesses dealing with temperature control issues that cost a fortune – and putting up with it.
Here, Craig Hodgson, Operations Manager – Ireland, at ICS Cool Energy, offers his insight into what manufacturers need to consider to maximise their productivity.
In almost every type of manufacturing, accurate temperature control is vital in delivering consistent product quality at a consistent rate to meet demand and deliver to the bottom line. With inaccurate, faulty or intermittent temperature control, the result is poor product quality, wastage of materials, production line stoppages and worst of all, total system breakdown costing a fortune. But it doesn’t need to be like that.
One essential tool for food, pharmaceutical, chemical and plastic manufacturers across the country is the Temperature Control Unit (TCU) which, for relatively low cost, can have a big impact on production.
The latest TCUs – which are often a fraction of the cost of the plant equipment itself – offer manufacturers an unrivalled level of programming control, as well as two-way communication between the operator and the machine. But what’s vital in this age of traceability is that the best TCUs offer programming capabilities that can ensure repeatable and reliable manufacture, for extra peace of mind.
Free cooling and heat recovery are two very successfully used methods of energy management as they use free energy– either freely available ambient air or recovering heat that would otherwise be wasted.
Free cooling uses ambient air to reduce the energy and offers rapid system paybacks, often paying for itself within a couple of years. Energy bill are commonly reduced by up to 70% and in a recent installation for a SME plastics manufacturer, free cooling knocked €20,000 a year off the energy bills.
Finding the right partner
Finding the right partner is essential to maximising production efficiency, minimising downtime and wastage, and keeping energy bills under control.
I would recommend asking four key questions:
1. Do they understand your needs, short and long term?
2. Do they just provide products or will they design a complete solution, with aftersales and servicing that fits your business?
3. What’s the breadth and depth of product choice? Is there a genuine choice or is it a ‘one size fits all’ approach?
4. What are their efficiency credentials – can they provide evidence that they deliver what they promise? Ask to see case study examples. 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 include thermal imaging inspections which can help detect problems before they arise? An example of this is that we’ve saved one company around 40% of its maintenance budget just by having regular servicing.
Trust in experience
ICS Cool Energy is a £50m international market leader and the unrivalled choice for temperature control solutions that match up to the demands of every conceivable type of manufacturing.
With a reputation that’s been built over nearly 30 years’ and more than 50,000 projects delivered – many of which have been undertaken in Ireland – we ensure all our customers receive a comprehensive, high performance, energy-efficient system, tailored to meet their needs, however straightforward or challenging. We aim to offer an unrivalled full turnkey solutions approach, with options including equipment and systems purchase, hire and service – with an increasing number of customers opting for a combination of all three.
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