One of the world's most august financial institutions and a long-term customer of Star Refrigeration faced a crisis when a BMS software command fault caused sub cooling of the condenser water circuit – this fault then shut down their chillers. The fault was detected at 0030 am and the in house call out engineer was immediately summoned to site but was unable to restart the cooling system.
The customer is a well known leader in effective control and safety surveillance measures as part of their broader risk management programmes and had enlisted the help of Star Refrigeration’s remote monitoring service - a fully comprehensive aftercare package to monitor their chillers operation 24/7.
The remote monitoring service as well as customer’s engineers on site notified Star Refrigeration of the fault after every effort made by on site staff to reset the chillers resulted with further compressor start faults. But it was not until the conditions could be assessed by Star’s standby engineers who were able to remotely monitor, address and restart the chillers that the reset attempts were successful.
The incident occurred at the blue chip banking company’s headquarters in London. Star Refrigeration looks after the financial centre’s cooling plant at a multi story glass and steel building which provides circa 20,000 sq metres of office space in a building in the centre of the square mile. When the newly built 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 services proved invaluable.
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 client becomes aware of them. Star can notify a client and alert them of a problem before it becomes a critical issue. It also gives the engineers the ability to remotely reset and override system controls, which is what was needed in this instance.”
The Head of Property Services at the company said, “We are very grateful to Star for the wisdom of having remote monitor 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”.
The site was without machine room cooling for a rediced period of time but thanks to a thoroughly planned preventative and contingency arrangement, no lasting damage was caused. The chillers were started remotely by Star's engineering team who also attended the site to reassure the customer. When the mobile engineer arrived, normal conditions had resumed.
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 man years of experience in mechanical, electrical and electronic control of industrial refrigeration plant – is instrumental in getting any issues noticed and resolved. The elite team of senior engineers and bespoke software are dedicated to analyse equipment remotely 24/7. Plant issues and investigations involve collating recorded evidence (based on recorded history 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 experts and data analysis software 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.
The back-up of Star’s aftercare service gives businesses peace of mind. Remote monitoring allows Star to track, monitor and repair any faults, sometimes without the engineer having to even visit the site. This means customers don’t have to wait for engineers to attend the site and issues can be resolved promptly, before problems become critical. In turn, this approach also reduces maintenance costs.
Personnel from both companies have been working together for almost 30 years . Star will continue to provide ongoing aftercare for the customer through their StarCare team in London to ensure the refrigeration plant remains reliable, efficient and operational 24/7.