Star’s remote monitoring service saves the day at multinational investment company

  • London Financial Centre

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Astrid Prado

Marketing Manager

A serious incident at a blue chip banking company’s London headquarters was recently rescued by Star Refrigeration's remote monitoring service, a fully comprehensive aftercare package to monitor the chillers operation 24/7.

A British multi-national investment banking company was spared from a standstill as Star Refrigeration were able to restart chillers that had broken down in the middle of the night.

As a long-term customer of Star, the financial institution faced a crisis when sub-cooling of the condenser water circuit was detected on the refrigeration plant. This lead to the chillers being shut down, and the engineers on-site were not able to correct the problem which was logged at 00:30. The remote monitoring service as well as the customer’s engineers on site notified Star Refrigeration of the fault after every effort made by on site staff to reset the chillers resulted in further compressor start faults. After analysing the damage from their remote monitoring system, Star’s standby engineers were able to address and restart the chillers. Star’s engineers found that the cause of the system failure was a BMS software command fault that caused sub cooling of the condenser water circuit. The banking company were able to avoid the temporary closure of business due to Star’s quick efforts at regulating temperature control back to standard levels. No lasting damage was caused.

The Head of Property Services at the company said, “We are very grateful to Star for the wisdom of having remote monitoring and access to our cooling systems – Star had remote monitoring years before others and have kept up with technology in advance of competitors. I just want to pass on my sincere thanks to all Star personnel for their help and rapid response.

“Thanks for being such an excellent service partner.”

Star Refrigeration looks after the financial centre’s cooling plant at a multi-story glass and steel building which provides circa 20,0000 sq metres of office space. When the newly built business headquarters opened in 2012, Star installed two standard Indigochillers with in-built remote monitoring functionality to serve the office building which caters for approximately 900 staff and machine rooms. Since the facility opened, the site has been in undisrupted operation but in this case, Star’s remote maintenance services proved invaluable.

The customer had opted for a comprehensive aftercare maintenance service package which includes full back up – both remote and on site – for all operational problems and preventative planned maintenance. Without Star’s remote access to the system, building operations could have potentially come to a standstill due to lack of temperature control had action not been taken straight away. The site was without machine room cooling for a reduced period of time but thanks to a thoroughly planned preventative and contingency arrangement, no lasting damage was caused to the plant. The chillers were restarted remotely by Star’s engineering team who also attended the site afterwards to reassure the customer. When the mobile engineer arrived, normal operating conditions had resumed.

Chris Druce, Service Manager at Star Refrigeration, said: “The customer must be commended for their vision to ensure a preventive action and emergency plan was in place in order to address any potential weaknesses.

“Mechanical faults are a common occurrence when dealing with complex engineering systems requiring a diverse pool of technical expertise. Taking a pro-active approach to contingency planning such as this ensures businesses and their customers are protected, even under the most unlikely circumstances.”

“Remote monitoring can be a lifesaver, as it diagnoses problems, sometimes, even before the customer becomes aware of them. Star can notify a client and alert them of a problem before it becomes a critical issue. It also gives engineers the ability to remotely reset and override system controls, which is what was needed in this instance.”

The remote monitoring system collects data from the PLC of the refrigeration system at the customer’s site and transmits it off-site via a broadband connection. A Monitoring Hub at Star’s head office – which employs over 80 combined years of experience in mechanical, electrical and electronic control of industrial refrigeration plants – is instrumental in getting any issues noticed and resolved. The elite team of senior engineers are dedicated to analysing equipment remotely 24/7. Plant issues and investigations involved collating recorded evidence (based on recorded history of on or off site of graphical data or VCR playback of data), looking through wiring diagrams and refrigeration circuit diagrams and monitoring of live PLC software operation on site.

The refrigeration engineering team works with a data analysis software to then generate targeted task lists for Star’s fleet of over 100 specialist engineers located throughout the country to focus on, therefore eliminating the need for costly on-site visits and traditional fixed schedule invasive maintenance.

“Critical” faults are notified to stand by engineers instantaneously with an automated call so that immediate action can be taken. A total of five standby engineers are allocated to handle each job with teams located around the country’s nine branches and available 24 hours a day- so even when a fault occurs overnight, such as in this case, Star can take immediate remedial action.

 Star Refrigeration has worked with the company for almost 30 years and continues to provide the firm with technical service round the clock.

Star Refrigeration Operations Group provides fast response and 24-hour technical support from a UK-wide network, offering maintenance, service, contracting and spares services across a wide range of business sectors of all sizes. The Operations Group accounts for about half of the company’s total revenue, with an annual total for last year circa £20 million and helps over 300 businesses nationwide.

Each branch offers a complete range of services, from consultancy to design through to installation, commissioning and maintenance of cooling solutions to suit a variety of different business needs at local, national and international levels