Key customer Greggs the Bakers has praised the Star Refrigeration team for its fast track response following a devastating fire at its UK production facility.
The fire took place in October 2012 at the Greggs factory in Longbenton, Newcastle. The incident threatened to affect bakery production for Greggs retail outlets across the UK.
The electrical fire caused irreparable damage to control panels for an ammonia refrigeration plant and compressors installed by Star in 1997. The severity of the fire resulted in three spiral freezers being unavailable for production. This was a major concern for Greggs in terms of meeting increased demand in the run up to Christmas.
Star's Newcastle Branch Manager Jay Little says: "As Greggs' specialist refrigeration contractor, we pulled out all the stops to re-establish production at the earliest opportunity. From day one our local team of engineers, in conjunction with BMS Electrical Contractors, worked shifts around the clock to get the plant running again. Despite extensive water damage in all the remaining control panels, manual plant operation was achieved in just three days."
Star's engineers ensured that two out of the three compressors remained operational at all times. Away from site, Star's main challenge was to design, manufacture and install four new control panels, complete with Telstar PLC system, within a short timeframe.
Star's Jay Little says: "This type of project would usually take 10 to 12 weeks from start to finish. Star was able to call upon a vast array of in-house resources and experience. Our nationwide team completed the project in just six weeks."
The Star team comprised the Design department from its Glasgow HQ, Star Mechanical & Electrical Solutions (SMES) - which manufactured the new control panels at its Derby base - Star's national commissioning team, and engineers from both Star's Newcastle and Leeds branches.
Greggs' Head of Engineering George Barnes says: "It was a fantastic team effort. The Star team put in long hours, under less than ideal conditions, to deliver a fantastic result. The team did us proud!"
Star’s Jay Little adds: "Mechanical and electrical contractor SMES played a pivotal role in completing the Greggs project. The company has a team of highly skilled technicians and unique experience in the refrigeration controls industry. The first of the four control panels was delivered and commissioned on site within two weeks of the fire."
As well as meeting the challenge of fast track delivery for Greggs, Star redesigned the electrical control panels and PLC system to improve refrigeration plant operation. The new control panels have vastly improved the performance and reliability of the spiral freezers.
In addition, a SCADA monitoring package captures every plant event, complete with data logging and VCR playback. This ensures the full history of plant operation is visible at all times to the engineering team from Greggs and Star.