Temperature Controlled Storage & Distribution

According to research by the Carbon Trust, 90% of energy costs in the Cold Storage sector are accounted for by refrigeration. Having designed, installed, commissioned, maintained and tested all types of refrigeration plants at over 500 of our customers' warehousing and distribution facilities for almost 50 years, Star have developed a range of sector specific sustainable solutions with multi-temperature capabilities that can meet even the most stringent regulations, reduce energy consumption by as much as 25%, and slash operating costs over a minimum of 20 years, while offering real carbon cuts.

Star has played a vital role in helping our customers grow a healthy bottom line through savings from running an efficient and low maintenance plant. Our solutions are designed to help you deliver the lowest cost per pallet.


Rob Lamb

Group Sales & Marketing Director

Related Case Studies

  • Gist Chesterfield

    Star Refrigeration has completed the design, supply, installation and commission of one of the most efficient chillstore plants in Europe to serve supply chain company, Gist’s, midlands-based temperature controlled logistics site.

    The plant was required for Gist’s new depot at Chesterfield, near Sheffield and needed to be installed on a tight timeframe, with impressive environmental credentials and low energy costs. Star is pleased to have delivered on all fronts, bringing the plant online ahead of schedule, at a competitive cost and low running costs.

    Chilling Britain’s food now and in the future

    As one of the leading temperature controlled logistics companies, Gist handles, stores and transports millions of chilled and frozen food products every day. 

    Gist’s UK-wide network of temperature controlled logistics sites are responsible for managing the supply chain for a wide range of customers in the food industry, including retailers and food service outlets. To support business growth and their customer partnerships, Gist opened a new chilled depot in Chesterfield, serving their midlands-based customers.

    The project brief required a cooling solution that:

    1. Used an ultra-efficient and environmentally friendly, future-proof refrigerant,
    2. Delivered low greenhouse gas emissions via 'indirect emissions' linked to the chiller's power consumption, which in turn would reduce operating costs,
    3. Eliminated ‘direct emissions’ which are associated with refrigerant leaks and counteracted by the EU's F-Gas Regulation,
    4. Had built in redundancy to deliver continuous cooling, increased efficiency and low operating costs.

    Gist’s ambitious installation has a great impact on cutting both direct and indirect carbon emissions and supports with Europe's objectives of reducing carbon emissions.

    Combining high efficiency and low environmental impact

    Working to Gist’s specification requirements, Star’s proposal was to install two of its Azanechillers, connected to a central glycol cooling circuit, with 11 off-air coolers inside the chillstore chamber. Both Azanechillers were required to have a capacity rating of 550kW, delivering a total capacity of 1,100kW based upon a chamber temperature of +2°C and a design ambient temperature of +32°C. Waste heat recovery from the chiller’s compressors would be used for warm glycol defrosting of the air coolers.

    This solution would deliver an estimated 153% of the calculated maximum cooling requirement, and only require three of the four compressors to maintain temperature at the required conditions. The additional chiller and cooler capacity would be used at all times to deliver increased efficiency and low operating costs. Taking into account these factors, and a reputation for delivering low cost of ownership ammonia solutions, Gist awarded the contract to Star on the condition that Star were able to deliver the fully operational chiller within the required timeframes.

    In addition, in order to ensure the plant would perform as per specification, Star’s Azanechillers 2.0 and air cooler electrical panels included power meters that continuously record energy consumption and send this data to the refrigeration system’s supervisor PLC. Since its installation, energy consumption has been collected on a weekly basis from Star’s Derby office via the chillers remote connection facility and analysed based on the known store volume (58,500m3) to calculate the energy consumption per m3 of store volume. This data has then been compared to energy usage data collected as part of an International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) and ETSU best practice and demonstrated a consumption that is 15% of industry average for a store of this volume (5 kWhr/m3/yr vs 40 kWhr/m3/yr, respectively).

    Helping to deliver Christmas for British households

    Gist required Star to supply, install and commission the chillers by the 17th November 2017, six weeks after the commencement of the site installation. This is half the time typically expected for a project of this scale. In order to realise this ambitious timeframe, Star worked closely with the main contractor and other subcontractors onsite to co-ordinate installation works.

    Despite the tight timeframes, Star completed the project ahead of time and helped to ensure Gist were able to add capacity to their network ahead of their busy Christmas peak period.

    This achievement was made possible by Star investing heavily in the design stage of the project. Time and resources were spent in prefabricating cooler valve sets and pipework brackets at Star’s Thornliebank manufacturing facility, to minimise the amount of onsite work required at Gist Chesterfield. The chillers, which incorporated warm and cold glycol pump skids, were charged with ammonia and commissioned using Star’s 1MW test facility at their Westway production facility before delivery to Gist Chesterfield. This reduced the site-based work required to install the coolers and secondary pipework. The cooling system controls were also tested by Star’s Telstar team in Glasgow prior to installation at the site, reducing the time required to commission at site.

    The above factors, coupled with meticulous planning and plenty of hard work, ensured that the project was delivered safely, within the allotted budget, before the deadline and to the client’s expectations.

    All-Star performance

    Gist’s Azanechillers 2.0 exceed the ‘Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements’ set by Europe’s Ecodesign Directive by 56%. 

    The plant has now been fully operational for the best part of a year and early readings from the site indicate that the energy usage is around 5kWh/m3 per yr. This is equal to one eighth of that of good practice guidelines and one tenth of typical cooling demands for similar stores across Europe.

    With the forthcoming proposed SAP 10 UK average grid carbon readings of 233 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour, Gist Chesterfield is now set to remove 117 tons of CO2 per year when compared to the typical cooling demand of similar European coldstores. Gist Chesterfield now has one of the most efficient plants in Europe and one that is future-proofed against any legislation that the EU or the UK may introduce going forwards as ammonia has zero detrimental environmental effect on ozone depletion or global warming. In addition, the Azanechiller 2.0 also eliminates the risks associated with refrigerant leakage.

    Sam de Beaux, Gist’s Engineering Director, responsible for Gist’s UK and European site network, said, “Star delivered above and beyond our expectations regarding every aspect of the Gist Chesterfield plant, providing a solution that combines both high efficiency and low environmental impact. Despite the tight timeframes for the installation and commissioning of the chillstore facility, Star delivered every step of the way. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship working with them in the future.”

    The original contract included a two-year warranty period at the Gist Chesterfield site, during which time Star would undertake all maintenance and cover the cost of parts and labour. However, thanks to their impressive performance, Star have subsequently been contracted for further maintenance work at Gist’s sites in Hemel Hempstead and Bristol. This signifies the trust placed in Star thanks to the excellence and reliability of Star’s products, installation work and maintenance and signals a mutually beneficial partnership between the two companies going forward.


  • Star Refrigeration helps The Ice Co Storage and Logistics repair cold store and expand business

    Star Refrigeration has built upon its long and fruitful relationship with The Ice Co Storage and Logistics  company with the successful replacement of its Coldstore plant in Newark. 

    The site had originally belonged to the ice manufacturing branch of the business, but due to expansion at other sites and a streamline of production, the site became unesed. Looking to lease the plant to a third party for refrigeration, storage and distribution purposes, the company invited Star to assess the costs of making it operational again.

    Paul Martin, Managing Director from The Ice Co Storage and Logistics said, “We’ve had a strong relationship with Star over the years, and knew they had the expertise for the job. We saw a business opportunity in our unused cold store, and with the cost-effective and highly-efficient solution provided by Star, the company has since achieved its initial aim of leasing the plant to a third party.”

    This invitation was extended on the strength of the strong relationship which Star has enjoyed with The Ice Co Storage and Logistics over many years and across a wide variety of projects. In recent times, Star Refrigeration has been overseen the successful conversion, replacement and refurbishment of plants in, Preston, South Kirkby and Wallsend.

    Furthermore, The Ice Co Storage and Logistics are one of many businesses to benefit from Star’s award-winning refrigeration energy management system Ethos, which scooped Refrigeration Product of the Year at the 2018 National ACR & Heat Pump Awards.

    On the strength of these impressive credentials, Ice Co Storage & Logistics deemed Star to be the best fit for the job in hand. Noting that the original Coldstore plant operated with a R404A refrigerant and an F-gas, currently being phased down by new regulations, Star concluded that in order to reinstate operations, the plant would require not only a controls upgrade and a condenser replacement, but also refrigerant conversion. These costs would have amounted to roughly the same as replacing the existing common plant with all new facilities; upon discussion with the client, it was agreed that comprehensive replacement represented the best option.

    Once the solution had been decided, the supply, installation and commissioning of the new plant was carried out as a branch contract through Star’s Leeds branch. The new plant took the form of two DX R449A condensing unit plants, both of which serve a single ceiling-mounted evaporator within the Coldstore. Both units operate at 36kW, which represents 65% of the maximum design duty, affording a solution which combines performance with resiliency.

    Star took advantage of an existing concrete plinth situated at ground level directly behind the internal evaporators to install the condensing units, while two networks of interconnecting pipework were run up the outside of the building to reach the roof void above the evaporators. This achieved a practical solution which minimised installation time, expense and effort.

    Star also prioritised energy-efficiency in this project. By incorporating the same electronic expansion valves, EC condenser fans (known to reduce energy consumption by up to 20% on their own) and a skip-defrost function in use at similar projects elsewhere in the group, Star were able to guarantee optimal energy consumption.

    Meanwhile, the original plant operated with a glycol underfloor heat mat (UFHM), which is atypical for a plant of its kind. Keen to use this UFHM as a platform to improve the plant’s energy-efficiency even further, Star installed heat recovery exchangers which recovered excess heat energy from the HP liquid line of each condensing unit and pumped it back into the UFHM as a green source of heat. This was a complex strategy not normally employed at refrigeration plants of this kind, but Star believe that its implementation will serve the company (and the third party which leases the plants) well in the future and as such represents an important investment and a reflection of Star’s forward-thinking values.

    Star worked closely with the client at every stage of the process, from identifying the best course of action and handling the finalisation of the branch contract, on through the design, supply and project management of the operation to the plant’s installation, commissioning and handover. In this way, the whole process was made incredibly simple for The Ice Co Storage & Logistics, who were very happy with the end product.

    For the same price as a basic refurbishment and upgrade of the original R404A plant, the client obtained a complete replacement of the Coldstore, which now meets all current regulations, enjoys increased energy-efficiency and represents an additional avenue of revenue through a third-party lease. What’s more, the project included a comprehensive maintenance contract for the first 12 months of the plant’s operation, ensuring it’s not only a reliable and lucrative asset today, but safeguarded by Star’s ongoing relationship with the company for the future.

    With the cost-effective and highly-efficient solution now in place, The Ice Co Storage & Logistics has since achieved their initial aim of leasing the plant to a third party.

    Star’s long and prosperous relationship with The Ice Co Storage & Logistics is emblematic of its wider ethos and business practices. With over 45 years in the business, Star has now grown to become the largest independent refrigeration and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor in the British Isles. In total, the business employs more than 300 staff at nine national branch locations and has extensive experience of delivering practical solutions and services to global leaders in the industry.

    Due to the multitude of locations throughout the UK in which Star operates, they are perfectly placed to offer impeccable service, fast response times and 24-hour technical support to businesses anywhere in the country. With each branch fully equipped to provide consultancy, design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of cooling solutions to businesses in a wide variety of industries, Star has built a reputation for delivering exemplary standards at local, national and international levels.

  • DFDS Logistics

    DFDS Logistics offers end-to-end supply chain solutions across Europe, serving 20 different countries and a range of different industries. The company specialises in cold chain transport services, and is the largest provider of transportation solutions to the Scottish salmon and seafood industries. Its site in Larkhall has an annual intake of 300.000 tonnes of fresh seafood products for storage and distribution, with a plant consisting of cold and chilled storage, blast freezing and a distribution warehous

    Until recently, the equipment was managed by the original equipment installers and other contractors – but the level of service was not sufficiently adapted to cover DFDS Logistics strict requirements. DFDS Logistics experienced low quality work, cancelled visits and poor site attendance which had resulted in overall inadequately maintained equipment. The company decided to partner with Star Refrigeration’s maintenance team in a rolling contract to assess the contractors ability to offer an improved quality service – and have stayed with them ever since. 

    All of Star’s maintenance plans are tailored to each individual customer and the specific site requirements. Engineers conduct a thorough survey of the equipment and facilities to produce an effective bespoke maintenance programme taking into account the system’s refrigerant, condition, age, any legal or best industry practices and health and safety requirements.

    During the initial survey at DFDS Logistics, Star’s senior Service & Maintenance Manager, Gary Beckwith, identified a number of issues and presented recommendations. Firstly, there was an access problem to reach the evaporators for ongoing maintenance of the evaporators in the various chill areas for inspection and leak testing. As a consequence, routine maintenance had never been performed in the evaporators before. Star recommended the hire of a scissor lift every two months to allow access to the evaporators – which was approved by the customer.

    The quality of the previous maintenance programme had been questioned by the customer after one of the control panels had caught fire. It was quickly extinguished, but DFDS Logistics was understandably concerned and wanted Star to ensure this would not happen again. As part of the Star maintenance package, annual thermographic surveys, which can rapidly assess control panel health and highlight areas of concern, are carried out.

    Gary Beckwith, who worked with DFDS Logistics said, “A thorough site survey both from a technical and a health & safety perspective results in a well planned and executed maintenance programme and at the same time offers an accurate and realistic maintenance contract proposal to the customer. Previous contractors failed to include access equipment to reach high level parts of the system, which resulted in missed maintenance routines and additional unforeseen costs for the customer to provide access.”

     “By having a good conversation with the customer during the tender process, DFDS Logistics was quick to understand the need for inclusion of additional services within the contract. For example the site had previous issues with overheating on the controls which lead to a small fire, and a simple method of reducing this risk is for an annual thermographic survey of the control panels. This has already highlighted areas of concern which require remedial works to improve safety.”

    Additionally, the customer was wary of contractors who would regularly fail to turn up for visits or rush through maintenance checks to visit another site. Star’s Bellshill branch in Glasgow have a pool of nine qualified engineers to cover central Scotland, so can always keep on track of regular site maintenance visits.

    In addition to the premium level of engineering service provided, Star advises on refrigerant phase out requirements and replacement plant options, both of which are available within the company’s resources.

    Star offer a professional service provided by senior and qualified engineers as well as well-trained apprentices and a good support team. DFDS Logistics has been extremely happy with the competence of Star’s award-winning engineering staff, response time and the level of service provided. Peter Carswell, Maintenance Manager at DFDS Logistics said, “Star Refrigeration keep current equipment maintained to a high standard and advise us of future industry changes.”

    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.

  • Asda Rochdale PPM

    Asda’s distribution centre in Rochdale works with its local Star Refrigeration branch in Manchester to maintain its refrigeration plant in the most efficient way possible. Star Refrigeration has a national maintenance contract with ASDA, working in partnership with the customer to provide a preventative maintenance plan and ensure any faults are dealt with promptly and safely when these unexpectedly occur. At this particular site, palletised goods are broken down and delivered to individual stores, and the temperature needs to be controlled and maintained throughout the operation.

    The client requires 24/7 cover of its refrigeration plant including remote monitoring and planned preventative maintenance (PPM) visits. Star keeps the plant safe and legal, with services including Written Schemes of Examination, calibration of the ammonia detection system and other sub contract works managed by Star. Working alongside Star the retailer has strict contingency planning procedures in place to ensure a rapid response in the event of a mechanical failure, supported by a qualified team of engineers from Star’s local branch. Generally, major faults are uncommon in large, complex industrial plants which are regularly serviced and maintained. However, end users need to be well prepared in advance, should the unthinkable happen, to minimise and, where possible, avoid any losses.

    When an ammonia leak occurred overnight at the Rochdale site, ASDA and Star Refrigeration worked together to assess the situation and get the plant up and running again as soon as possible.

    Via the monitoring Hub at Star’s headquarters in Glasgow standby engineers at the Manchester branch were notified of a ‘low stage drum high level’ and attended site to address the situation. The low stage surge drum was full of refrigerant and had carried over to the compressors. One of the low temperature (LT) compressors had developed an ammonia leak, and the compressor had to be isolated from the ammonia system – however the concentration of ammonia in the plant room was too high to allow safe entry.

    Star Refrigeration’s engineers followed the company’s specified action plan to drop the ammonia  concentration in the plantroom including activation of local ventilation fans, and deployment of additional extract fans and ducting to ensure there were no ammonia levels above 25ppm.

    Once the plant room was safe to enter, a plan was put in place to transfer liquid between the surge drums and fit a replacement valve. There were three Star Refrigeration engineers on site in addition to the customer’s, working as a team to get the plant back up and running. The cold store plant was out of action for 11 hours in total.

    Colin Taylor, SHE Manager at the ASDA site said, “What really impressed us about Star was the way our emergency was handled. The plant tripped out at 9 pm, and with two senior engineers and a manager attending and working through the night, the cold store was working again on by at 8.30 am the next day.”

    “We have access to local trained and experienced engineers who have procedures in place for such an incident. It’s great that we have a branch local to our site and a second branch less than 50 miles away to assist if needed. Star offers a local team with the added benefit of a robust national infrastructure”.

    Dave Brown, senior maintenance engineer at Star Refrigeration- Manchester- said, “Working in partnership with the customer and planning for such events including devising safe systems of work for contingency situations such as this, which could occur at any plant, was dealt with promptly, safely and with minimum disruption to their business operation.


    Both companies have enjoyed a strong business partnership for the last decade and ASDA remains a key customer of Star Refrigeration. “It is the intention that we will continue to explore ways to maintain the successful relationship with Star Refrigeration in the future for the benefit of our respective customers, businesses, shareholders and other stakeholders”, said Taylor


  • Farmfoods

    Star Refrigeration has completed a major cooling project in partnership with frozen food specialist Farmfoods, for their new distribution centre in Avonmouth. Farmfoods originated in Aberdeen in 1955 and now operates around 300 stores in the UK. The new distribution centre in Bristol will supply the southern retail stores as a result of a review of their distribution operation.

    Farmfoods were looking for a modern and efficient refrigeration system using a natural refrigerant to compliment their existing distribution centres. Following a competitive tender process Star Refrigeration was chosen for the project and designed an energy efficient and environmentally conscious refrigeration package using their Azanechiller and Azanefreezer units. These were chosen due to their simplicity and exceptional efficiencies across a wide range of operating conditions.

    The installation comprises of two modular coldstore packages with the capability to add a third package in the future and a modular chillstore package with spare refrigeration capacity to accommodate future additional load.

    The coldstore packages utilize waste heat recovered from the refrigeration systems to heat a glycol underfloor heater mat contained within the coldstore floor slab. They also use Star's patented Reverse Cycle Defrost (RCD) valve ensuring quick efficient defrosts within the coldstore without the need for any additional electrical heating.

    James Ward, Star's Director of Food Sales says: "The Azanechiller offers a significant increase in performance compared with standard HFC chillers. Its packaged design and careful component selection result in an ultra low refrigerant charge, with all ammonia contained within the chiller and outside the production facility. This means a refrigerant charge as little as 0.1kg per kW."

    The system includes a 2 year warranty as well as a 5 year preventative maintenance programme. Both the coldstore and chillstore systems have remote dial in/out access and the maintenance package includes a number of condition based monitoring techniques such as vibration monitoring, thermographic scans and oil sampling.

    The total installation offers numerous benefits including low maintenance and reduced energy consumption, as well as the environmental advantages associated with ammonia as a natural refrigerant. Other benefits include:

    • Modular design - "Plug & Play"
    • Small footprints
    • No plant rooms required
    • Low total cost of ownership
    • Low maintenance costs

    Star developed the Azanechiller and Azanefreezer range of ammonia packages to meet the cooling requirements in a wide range of markets. Suitable for cooling direct refrigerant, water and glycol, these packages are ideally suited to applications in food processing, temperature controlled storage, building services and process cooling.

  • Asda Bedford

    The historic town of Bedford lies in the heart of the English countryside, on the banks of the Great Ouse, and close to the M1 as it runs north from London. Close to the motorway and roughly half way between London and Birmingham, this was the ideal location for ASDA’s latest addition to their national chain of Chilled Distribution Centres (CDCs). Under Gazeley Properties, the property development arm of ASDA, a new construction methodology has been developed which can provide a functional ambient distribution centre within 16 weeks of cutting the first sod on a green field site. Of course cold stores take a little longer, but the programmes achieved on Bedford and its predecessors at Washington and Wakefield are no less impressive. Wakefield was up and running within 28 weeks of the site start, and Bedford, which is 50% larger has just beaten that record.

    Work started on the Bedford site in April 2001, and the first products rolled through in September, just 24 weeks later. The need for speed in these construction projects has been a deliberate part of ASDA’s strategy.

    This fast track programme was achieved by building contractor Simons Construction working in partnership with ASDA, and bringing in specialist sub-contractors like Star Refrigeration Ltd for the works packages.

    Andy Pearson, Managing Director of Star Refrigeration’s Contracts Group, highlighted the implications of this new approach. “In a traditional contract, the same system may be designed three or four times over; first by the client and his consultant designers, then by the builder and finally by the installer. We sat down with ASDA and their team, including WSP and Simons, on day one, and the design was done once.  This obviously saves money for the project as a whole, but more importantly it eliminates confusion and mistakes, and it saves lots of time.”

    The system design reflects ASDA’s requirements for a plant which is not only safe and efficient in operation, but is also futureproof. Five years ago they recognised that R22 was going to disappear, and that for systems of this size the HFCs do not offer a cost-effective alternative. Their industrial systems are therefore based on ammonia, with the charge kept to a minimum by using low pressure receivers. The –25°C cold store at Bedford is served by three LPR packages. Each has a capacity of 391kW, but the total ammonia charge is only 780kg, and of course this is divided between the three modules. Defrost is by reverse cycle, which runs the plant as a heat pump for a short time. This means that the inefficiencies found in hot gas defrost valve stations are eliminated, as is the risk of ammonia leakage in the roof void. This is not an insignificant point for ASDA, because the majority of ammonia leaks in roof voids - which represent a real threat of disruption to the normal operation of the distribution centre - are found on traditional valve stations. Another area of risk, manual oil recovery, has been eliminated by using automatic oil return systems. This is only possible because Star use polyalphaolefine lubricant instead of traditional mineral oil. “This is recognised as the Rolls-Royce of oils,” explained Andy Pearson, “but we are happy to pay a premium for it because it provides huge benefits in the operation of the plant.” 

    The three chill stores have a total area of 22,018m2. They are served by a chilled glycol system with a total capacity of 2802kW, and defrost is by warm glycol. Each chiller package uses a low pressure receiver and plate heat exchanger to provide efficient operation from a compact unit with minimal ammonia charge. The glycol temperature is maintained at –8°C, but maximum efficiency of the compressor packages is achieved by ensuring that compressors only run at full load, with economisers enabled, or else are turned off. This is made possible through the use of duplex compressor packages, where two machines are mounted on each oil tank. This gives six steps of capacity control, which is sufficient to control the glycol temperature to within half a degree of the setpoint. To improve the plant efficiency further, the glycol pumps are also capacity controlled.

    In seeking the best performance from their new plants, ASDA have not been afraid to innovate, and have incorporated several unusual features in the site. The cold store loading docks for receiving and despatch are in twelve individual pods, and both sides are treated with desiccant dehumidifiers which deliver dry air to each pod. This has completely eliminated problems of wet or icy floors in more traditional loading docks. The air delivered by the dehumidifiers is chilled to +4°C  by a feed of cold glycol from the main circuit. The desiccant driers have greatly reduced the problems associated with door discipline and defrosting coolers, and the expected payback on their addition to the main installation is expected to be less than 15 months.

    The whole refrigeration plant is controlled and monitored by the latest generation of Star’s TELSTAR control system, including a full PC based SCADA system. This novel and unique interface allows plant operators to replay key events in the plant operation as if they were watching a video recording of the graphics screen. This can be in slow motion or fast forward, and it is proving to be a big hit with commissioning and maintenance engineers alike. It allows full analysis of all aspects of plant performance, without weary hours spent taking readings of all the relevant parameters. Even better, once the system has been set up these parameters can be checked remotely, ensuring that the plant is kept at top performance, and does not drift into inefficient operation. “We’re delighted with the response to the new look TELSTAR.” said Andy Pearson. “In recent years it has become much more difficult to justify the cost of engineering our own controls system, but in this case we have had a fantastic reaction from our field engineers and our customers. Our first site installation was at ASDA’s Grangemouth RDC, and since then it has been a ‘must have’ on all the new ASDA projects.”

    So what about the future? Each project is followed by a review of all aspects, and lessons are carried forward to the next phase. “We are happy to have set a new benchmark for composite operation, but we believe that in the near future we will making substantial steps forward in efficiency, in installation cost and in reliability.” Will this be on the next project? “Watch this space!”

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Established in Glasgow in 1970, Star has over 260 employees nationwide and provides fast response 24-hour technical support from a network of nine branches to customers throughout the UK.

    Star’s technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Asda CO2 Cascade Plant

    Star Refrigeration has completed another innovative cooling plant installation for supermarket giant ASDA, at one of its network of UK distribution centres.

    Star has installed an energy efficient refrigeration plant at ASDA’s Central Distribution Centre in Lutterworth, near Leicester. The project is the latest cutting edge cooling solution designed by Star to ensure the efficiency of ASDA’s frozen and chilled operation.

    Star has partnered ASDA on a wide range of distribution centre projects since 1988, including a number of environmental award winning refrigeration systems. In 2006, ASDA was looking for a new refrigeration system to replace an existing R22 plant and meet increased operational demands at its 24/7 Lutterworth facility.

    Cooling solutions specialist Star was commissioned by ASDA in a contract valued at over £3million. The 10-month project formed part of a major refurbishment and extension to the chilled facility at Lutterworth. Star worked closely with ASDA and the building contractor to ensure the site remained fully operational and that the installation was completed on time and to budget.

    Star’s cooling solution for the Lutterworth site comprised an ammonia and carbon dioxide (CO2) cascade plant. The refrigeration plant is highly energy efficient, reliable and robust by design to meet ASDA’s key objectives. The system operates on natural refrigerants and avoids the use of ammonia in populated work areas.

    The cascade plant provides cooling to four main refrigerated chambers within the storage and distribution facility. The site has a frozen food cold store operating at -25°C and three large chill rooms, operating from +1°C to +13°C. 

    The new refrigeration plant is located in a purpose built Energy Centre adjacent to the main building. The system has an overall cooling capacity of 3.2MW and serves a total internal volume of around 270,000 cubic metres. Star’s patented TELSTAR computerised control system ensures optimum performance and efficiency.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director Rob Lamb says: "Following the success of similar refrigeration plants for ASDA, this was naturally the best solution for the Lutterworth distribution centre. The ammonia and CO2 cascade system combines the very latest in design innovation with natural refrigerant technology."

    He adds: "The cascade plant’s refrigerant charge is predominantly CO2, with an ammonia charge of less than one tonne. Star has now completed the installation of this type of energy efficient and environmentally conscious refrigeration system for ASDA at four UK sites."

    The cascade plant operates with ammonia refrigerant in the high temperature stage and CO2 in the low temperature stage. CO2 is used as the low temperature fluid in a standard vapour compression cycle, rejecting its heat to the ammonia system. CO2 is then used as a high temperature volatile secondary refrigerant for chill areas and general air conditioning.

    The low stage CO2 plant has a cooling capacity of 820kW. It supplies low temperature liquid CO2 to six air coolers in the cold store. The high stage ammonia plant operates with a minimal charge. The plant serves 20 air coolers in 3 chill areas and has a capacity of 2.4MW.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • Asda DC, Skelmersdale

    2003 in the UK was the hottest year on record, with a summer that saw the recorded temperature exceed 38°C for the first time. In two parts of the UK things were not so much hotting up as cooling down, as two significant refrigeration projects were underway.

    They were two new Central Distribution Centres (CDCs), being built for ASDA in Falkirk and Skelmersdale. The projects were significant for a variety of reasons, including: their physical size, the timescales to build them, the commercial arrangements agreed and the technical innovation involved.

    In terms of size, they are among the biggest temperature controlled buildings in the UK, with a total combined internal volume of 412,000m3. That’s enough space to swallow over 5,000 double decker buses!

    Despite their size the installations were built at a breathtaking pace, with the overall programme at Skelmersdale being just 30 weeks, from cutting turf to passing product through the installation. One of the main reasons these impressive statistics areachievable is the enlightened “partnering” approach that ASDA has adopted for running these large, multi-discipline projects. The project team, including all the key sub-contractors, is formed at the initial stages of the project. The team then works to deliver exactly what ASDA require, with the specialists inputting effectively to the project at the concept stage. Open book tendering is used to develop costs, with all aspects, including overhead recoveries and profit, being agreed ahead of the price being finalised. ASDA and Star have worked in this way for several years, with similar projects completed in Wakefield and Bedford.

    And what was technically innovative about the installations? They both utilise the natural refrigerants carbon dioxide (CO2) and ammonia (NH3). Each site has a cold store and a series of large chill rooms,operating just above 0°C.  The refrigeration plant for the  -25°C cold store operates as a cascade system, with CO2 being used as the low temperature fluid in a standard vapour compression cycle, rejecting its heat to the NH3 system. CO2 is then used as a volatile secondary refrigerant for the chill areas, being pumped out at –5°C, the condensing temperature for the cold store circuit, and returning as a vapour at the same condition, for condensing by the NH3 system.

    The CO2 systems utilise components suitable for operation at the higher pressures required for this fluid. The high pressure side of the CO2 circuit is rated for 51 bar(g), while its low pressure side is rated for 40 bar(g). Oil injected screw compressors, packaged by Star, are used for the low temperature CO2 circuit; along side a highly efficient oil retention and recovery system, operating a 3-stage separation process. Their swept volume is a 10th of what would have been required if ammonia had been used as the low temperature refrigerant. Plate & Shell heat exchangers are used for the CO2 condensers, delivering a compact, efficient and reliable package. The air coolers used in both the cold and chill stores are designed with circuiting that had been optimised for use with CO2, delivering higher performance than comparable coolers using either HFC or NH3 refrigerants.

    The defrost system (figure below) is patented by Star Refrigeration, and involves taking liquid CO2, at the -5°C saturated condition and pumping it up to approximately +9°C saturated, the defrosting temperature, via positive displacement pumps. The liquid is then boiled off, using waste heat from the compressor glycol oil cooling system and given around 10°C of superheat, to ensure there is no condensing of the CO2 in the vapour lines to the heat exchangers. The “hot” gas is then deliveredto the air coolers, via individual valve stations.

    The energy efficiency of the new CDC’s is substantially better than had been achieved on previous sites, even though they were already achieving “best practice” performance. 

    In addition, it has been possible to eliminate ammonia from the refrigerated chambers without using a large charge of fluorocarbon (greenhouse warming gas). The total charge of ammonia in the system is 1,000kg, whereas an ammonia glycol system would have required about 1,500kg and a direct ammonia pumped system charge would have been about 15,000kg. 

    Further environmental benefits have also been achieved. The previous standard system would have used four evaporative condensers, with associated chemical water treatment, but for this system the whole plant heat rejection is achieved with two condensers, so the water treatment is simpler and cheaper.  

    Alongside these benefits, the use of CO2 for both the cold and chill stores has allowed much smaller pipework to be used for distribution of CO2 to the air coolers. With the reduced weight of pipework and associated services to be supported in the roof void it has been possible to simplify the steelwork, resulting in savings in steel capital cost and site programme. 

    The overall cooling capacity of the two installations is 7MW, and they are the first of their kind in the UK. Their completion means that Star has applied CO2 as a refrigerant across a range of temperatures and applications from -54°C to +10°C; for low temperature freezing, cold storage, chill applications, air-conditioning and hot gas defrosting.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Asda Rochdale

    The green credentials of Asda’s new chilled and frozen distribution centre in the North West have been bolstered by an environmentally conscious cooling system from Star Refrigeration.

    Asda’s new central distribution centre occupies a 44 acre site at the Kingsway Business Park in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, serving stores across the M62 corridor. The 493,000 sq ft multi-temperature storage facility incorporates many carbon reduction and energy saving features.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star worked with Asda’a project team to design an energy efficient refrigeration plant for the new facility. Star has over 40 years experience in industrial cooling systems for the cold storage sector and is currently working in partnership with Asda at the majority of its UK distribution sites.

    Star engineered and installed a two-stage pumped circulation cooling system for Asda, operating on natural ammonia refrigerant. The plant provides 1MW (megawatt) of cooling for Asda’s new frozen food cold store (-21°C), 1.7MW for the chill chamber (+3°C) and 0.5MW of cooling for the produce chamber (+13°C).

    Star Refrigeration’s Director of Sales – Food Market, James Ward says: “This was a new style of building for Asda in the UK, with a single skin construction that demanded a specific type of cooling system. Our team worked closely with the principal contractor to engineer a bespoke refrigeration plant that would deliver the vital energy saving and environmental benefits Asda required.”

    James Ward adds: “The Asda plant provides optimum efficiency and uses an environmentally benign refrigerant in terms of global warming and ozone depletion.”

    The refrigeration plant at Asda’s Rochdale facility features Star-built variable speed drive compressor packages, surge drum units and pumped circulation evaporators with EC fans.  The operating efficiency of the plant is enhanced by Star’s energy saving Aether system, which reduces condenser fan speed and uses floating head pressure control to optimise performance.

    The new refrigeration plant is located in a purpose built energy centre adjoining the main building. Star was also responsible for supplying underfloor heating for the cold store and a dehumidification system for vehicle docking stations.

    Star’s Telstar PLC computerised control system ensures optimum plant performance, with HMI touch screen interface. A range of built-in monitoring systems including pressure, temperature and gas detection are incorporated in the plant design.

    Operational since late 2012, the new Asda site is now benefitting from Starcare, Star’s planned, preventative maintenance (PPM) programme for refrigeration plant operators.  This proactive PPM programme ensures optimum long-term performance and reliability, to increase energy efficiency and reduce lifecycle costs.

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • Brakes DC, Aylesford

    Star Refrigeration has installed two energy efficient plants to provide cooling for the cold and chill stores at Brakes’ new distribution centre in Kent.

    Brakes is one of the UK’s leading food distribution businesses. In 2004 the company invested in a state-of-the-art distribution centre to supply foodservice outlets across the South East of England. Located in Aylesford, the purpose built centre features storage and handling facilities for catering supplies including frozen, chilled, ambient and non-food products. 

    As Brakes nominated refrigeration contractor on the project, Star designed and installed two systems for the distribution centre’s cold store and chill store. It was vital that both plants offered natural refrigerant solutions with safe, reliable and energy efficient operation.

    Star designed a direct ammonia refrigeration plant for the cold store and central ammonia plant with a secondary glycol system for the chill store. As a natural refrigerant, ammonia is environmentally friendly and energy efficient. It is widely recognised as a refrigerant that is highly suited to cold store environments.

    Star Refrigeration’s Sales Director, Rob Lamb, says: “The Brakes distribution centre at Aylesford is a flagship project for Star. It is the latest in a long line of cold and chill stores completed for Brakes over many years of partnership between the two companies. Our engineers have a unique insight into the current Brakes operation and are able to meet the company’s demand for high quality, reliable and energy efficient refrigeration systems.”

    Brakes Group Operations Director, Clive Jackson, says: “Star Refrigeration’s proven ability to deliver safe, reliable and energy efficient refrigeration systems made them the obvious choice to realise our vision for the new Aylesford distribution centre. The quality of our product is paramount to Brakes ability to deliver complete solutions to our customers, and the state-of-the-art refrigeration systems installed by Star Refrigeration demonstrate our continued commitment in maintaining the integrity of those products.” 

    Cooling for the frozen food cold store is provided by a direct ammonia refrigeration plant.  The refrigeration capacity of the plant is 218k/W. The plant is designed to maintain air within the 1,974sq/m cold store at a constant operating temperature of -22°C. The cold store is capable of handling 200 pallets of frozen food produce per day.

    The cold store refrigeration plant features a duplex LPR (Low Pressure Receiver) compressor pack, coupled to an air cooled condenser and four air coolers. The plant operates on a critically low refrigerant charge. This is designed to minimise the volume of ammonia on site and reduce the risk in the event of a leak. The plant also features a reverse cycle defrost system to provide a rapid defrost with minimal fluctuation in air temperature.

    The large chill store at the Brakes distribution centre has a total floorspace of 3,512sq/m and features 40 vehicle loading docks. Star’s refrigeration plant is designed to maintain air within the chill marshalling areas at a constant temperature of +4.5°C and also maintain +2°C in a dedicated meat handling area. Reduced air draughts and minimal noise levels were key considerations for Brakes personnel working within the chill store.

    The chill store refrigeration plant comprises a central ammonia system with duplex LPR compressor. This is coupled to a plate heat exchanger with a secondary pumped glycol system. The plant features an air cooled condenser and 18 low speed air coolers. The coolers within the chill store are positioned to ensure maximum air coverage, reduced air draughts and minimal noise levels.

    Both refrigeration plants have a computerised control system to optimise efficiency. The control system has a 24-hour monitoring and dial out facility linked to Star’s local service office. This allows remote monitoring, emergency dial out and off-site interrogation by Star engineers.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • Brakes Reading

    Brakes has invested in a bespoke cooling system from Star Refrigeration for its landmark multi-temperature distribution centre in Berkshire.

    Brakes recently established a state-of-the-art temperature controlled storage and distribution centre near Reading. Brakes is a leading supplier to the UK foodservice industry and the brand new purpose built facility forms part of the company’s continued drive for sustained growth.

    With an overriding commitment to reduce environmental impact, Brakes awarded the refrigeration contract to Star following a competitive tender process. A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Glasgow-based Star designed, supplied, installed and commissioned a bespoke refrigeration plant for cold and chill stores at the new facility.

    Star’s Director of Sales – Food Market, James Ward, says: “Energy efficiency and reduced carbon footprint were key factors in securing the cooling contract for the new Brakes facility in Reading. As well as offering a competitively priced bespoke system, we selected high quality components and built-in design features such as reverse cycle defrost and floating head pressure control, to maximise efficiency and significantly reduce energy consumption.”

    He adds: “Rising energy costs are putting increasing pressure on temperature controlled storage and distribution businesses. With refrigeration accounting for up to 80% of total energy consumption in warehouse facilities, plant design and efficiency is key to cost saving and energy management.”

    Star’s multi-temperature cooling system for Brakes comprises four LPR (low pressure receiver) refrigeration units. The packaged LPR plant has an ultra low charge of ammonia andis designed with energy saving features for highly efficient operation.

    The plant features two direct ammonia LPR systems, which supply cooling to a frozen food cold store (-21ºC) via four ceiling evaporators. Two ammonia/glycol chillers supply cooling to a chill store for meat products (+1ºC), a banana store (+13ºC) and vehicle loading bays via 13 ceiling mounted air coolers.

    Star has a long standing working relationship with Brakes, installing systems in depots across its UK network. As well as supplying cooling solutions for Brakes over many years, Star’s nationwide refrigeration engineering team continues to deliver planned, preventative maintenance support to ensure ongoing plant safety, reliability and efficiency.

    When it comes to designing and maintaining energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic cost saving solutions.

  • Brakes, Bishops Stortford

    A leading distribution company has recently upgraded its existing freezer plant system to the modular air-cooled, low charge ammonia Azanefreezer. Located in Bishop's Stortford, Brakes supplies the UK food service industry with a comprehensive range of fresh, grocery, frozen and non-food products.

    The existing 40 year old ammonia refrigeration system had come to the end of its operational life and replacement equipment was required. The traditional approach would have been to replace with a pumped circulation ammonia system but the customer wanted to improve operating efficiency and reduce refrigerant charge. Star was invited to propose an upgrade solution focusing on these two key criteria.

    The solution was to install Star’s AF250 Azanefreezer. This air cooled, packaged unit incorporates twin screw compressors, air cooled condenser, electrical panel and reverse cycle defrost system inside a compact housing. This avoids the need for a new plant room and minimises installation time, with the package being installed on the roof of the existing refrigeration plant room.

    The high performance industrial freezer boasts a range of eco-friendly benefits, including the low ammonia charge requested by Brakes. Azanefreezer reduces Brakes existing ammonia system refrigerant charge from an estimated 5,000kg to just 188kg. 

    Alex Henderson, Key Account Manager - Food Market, says: “This reduction in charge, coupled with zero global warming potential, provided Brakes with the environmentally responsible solution they were looking for.”

    He adds: “As a natural refrigerant system, Brakes have invested in a long term solution that will be exempt from any future environmental legislation laws. With a 25 year life cycle when run at maximum operational performance, the system is a cost effective choice that will ensure Brakes produce stays fresh.”

    Modular, air cooled and incorporating a range of energy efficient features, the new system will help to reduce running costs as well as combat greenhouse gas emissions.

    Azanefreezer combines efficiency, reliability and unrivalled build quality, which will ensure Brakes continues to deliver its clients an unmatched level of service. The innovative modular design makes it efficient to relocate if necessary, thereby making it a cost effective option in a dynamic business. Also integrated into the system is an exclusive reverse cycle defrost function - currently the only system to offer this – which defrosts more efficiently as opposed to the alternative of installing electric heaters in the cooler.

    The upgraded system complies with European health and safety regulations and offers Brakes operators and management the peace of mind that they are working with premium quality equipment.

    Over the years, Star has built a strong working relationship with Brakes and is the food service supplier’s go-to solution for refrigeration upgrades, new built facilities and maintenance contracts across its UK plants.

    Ian Hunt, Brakes' Group Engineering Manager, said, “Star has a long history of installing and maintaining plants for Brakes. The Bishop’s Stortford Azanefreezer represents another successful collaboration and follows on from the recently completed distribution centre at Newhouse, Glasgow, which in turn followed on from Warrington last year and Reading before that.” 

  • Chan Brothers

    Star Refrigeration has completed a major warehouse conversion project in London for frozen seafood supplier Chan Brothers Ltd.

    In a contract valued at £2.7 million, cooling solutions specialist Star assumed the role of principal contractor. Star not only supplied a cold store refrigeration plant, but was also responsible for the complete fit out of the building.

    Chan Brothers imports, stores and distributes seafood to the UK food service trade. The company was looking to develop an existing warehouse into a cold storage facility in the Docklands area of London.

    The converted building was to feature three large cold stores, each with racking for pallets of frozen seafood. Together the insulated cold rooms would provide storage for just under 3,000 pallets, or around 3,500 tonnes of product.

    Cooling solutions specialist Star initially developed a proposal to design and supply a refrigeration plant for the cold stores. Later taking on the role of principal contractor, Star managed all aspects of the building conversion, as well as providing the refrigeration system.

    The building includes a number of environmentally conscious energy saving features, including solar panels for warm water and ground source heat pumps for warehouse heating. A rainwater harvesting system provides water for toilets, general washing down and a vehicle wash facility. Star also established a waste management system, to comply with current regulations.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director, Rob Lamb, says: “The Chan Brothers project demonstrates our ability to be a ‘total solutions provider’ – a phrase which has become the watchword of our business.”

    Star designed, manufactured and installed an R404a refrigeration plant, featuring triplex compressors, low pressure receiver, nine evaporators and an evaporative condenser. The 282kW system provides efficient cooling for the three cold stores at minus 24 degrees centigrade. 

    In addition, Star organised all building works onsite, including the cold store insulation package, supplied and installed by ISD. Star also oversaw the installation of fixed pallet racking and a touch button mobile storage racking system in the largest cold store. This was supplied by Storax Racking Systems.

    Building modification works were carried out by Chalcroft, whose work included construction of a steel mezzanine with storage area and installation of partition walls in the office area.

    Mechanical and electrical contractor, Penec was responsible for lighting, power and wiring on site, including CCTV access, fire alarm and communication systems. Penec was also responsible for installation of the office HVAC, fit out of the onsite offices, kitchen, canteen and toilet facilities. Penec is a member of the Star Refrigeration group of companies.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and aftercare of industrial refrigeration and HVAC systems.

  • Cold Store Dehumidification

    Cold store operators are increasingly looking to minimise operating costs by conveying goods within the distribution chain as quickly and efficiently as possible. Cost effective cooling solutions that maximise plant efficiency and optimise performance are key requirements for the cold storage industry today. Refrigeration plant is a major consumer of electricity for cold store operators and can account for as much as 75% of the site’s usage.

    In an attempt to reduce refrigeration plant running costs, some cold store companies have raised chamber temperatures. A cold store temperature increase of just 1°C can improve refrigeration plant efficiency by 3%. However, it is vital that energy efficiency is achieved without the risk of affecting product quality.

    A recent design development to improve cold store refrigeration plant efficiency has centred on the use of dehumidification systems. Many new cold stores are built without chilled loading bays and with loading dock pods directly into the frozen chamber. No trailer door seal is 100% effective at preventing air ingress into the loading dock pod during loading and unloading. This means that moist external air is drawn into the cold store each time a loading dock pod is in operation. A difference in air density and pressure between the ambient and frozen chamber is the driving force for this air ingress. Water vapour within the air is drawn up to the evaporators and forms ice on the coils. Over time, this reduces plant efficiency, and the evaporator must undergo a defrost to remove the ice.  Each time a cooler defrosts, heat is dissipated into the store, which must then be removed by the refrigeration plant. Reducing the moisture ingress reduces the number of defrosts, which in turn reduces the cooling load of the refrigeration plant. The net result is an increase in efficiency and a reduction in energy usage.

    As warm external air entering the cold store comes into contact with walls, floors, ceilings and other surfaces, it forms ice. Slippery floors and falling ice pose a potential safety hazard for operators within the store. It can also cause fog and wet floors within the loading dock pods. Removing moisture from the warm ambient air before it enters the cold store is key to preventing ice and frost formation on evaporators, walls, floors and ceilings. 

    Dehumidification offers a simple solution to reducing moisture ingress, by capturing moist air from the loading dock pods before it enters the cold store. In simple terms, a dehumidification system comprises a dehumidification unit connected to one or more loading docks by flow and return ductwork. Warm, moist air is extracted from the dock pod close to the outer ambient door and is drawn down ductwork to the dehumidification unit. The air is then drawn across a desiccant wheel within the dehumidification unit. Moisture is absorbed by the wheel and ejected into the atmosphere outside the cold store. Dry air is then returned to the loading dock at a point adjacent to the inner cold store door. Dehumidification systems can be designed for a single air lock or multi loading dock pod facility. Star has installed a single dehumidification unit to serve 24 loading docks, reducing installation costs whilst still providing effective moisture removal.

    Results from dehumidification systems installed by Star Refrigeration over the past five years have indicated a significant reduction in moisture ingress and improvement in plant operating efficiency. By investing in dehumidification systems, one operator with 36 loading docks reduced moisture ingress into their cold store by 6 tonnes of water per day.  Star has also been involved in projects where previously three plant defrosts per day were required due to high levels of moisture ingress. Following the installation of a dehumidification system, this requirement was reduced to one plant defrost per day.

    As well as increasing plant efficiency and saving energy, dehumidification systems play a key role in improving health and safety within cold stores. By controlling moisture within the cold store environment, operators can eliminate safety hazards associated with ice and reduce accident levels. This means that the cold store can operate continuously without the need to stop operations because of slippery floors or for the removal of ice.

    Star has worked in association with moisture control experts Munters to develop state-of-the-art dehumidification systems for the cold storage industry. These systems have been used successfully in many cold store and freezer installations throughout the UK.  

    Star has designed and installed dehumidification systems for major blue chip cold store distribution operators, as well as clients in the food manufacturing sector.

    Despite offering significant benefits, dehumidification systems are often overlooked by cold store operators. The energy requirement for operating a dehumidification unit is minimal when compared to the energy wastage in a cold store where a system is not installed.  Investment costs are far outweighed by the energy savings achieved within a relatively short time scale and by the store remaining operational 24/7/365.”

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Culina Logistics

    Food and drink supply chain specialist Culina Logistics has invested in an environmentally efficient chill store cooling system from Star Refrigeration.

    The award-winning logistics company required a refrigeration plant for a 100,000 sq ft chill store at its new distribution centre in Avonmouth, near Bristol. 

    Culina’s Cabot Park facility handles ambient and chilled food and beverage logistics for leading UK and European manufacturers. 

    Working to a strict time schedule, cooling solutions specialist Star designed and installed a high efficiency refrigeration plant incorporating two of its Azanechillers. These ammonia packaged chillers are complete refrigeration systems, ideally suited to temperature controlled storage as well as food processing, building services and process cooling. 

    Star worked as part of a project team to convert an existing warehouse into a fully operational chill store in just 13 weeks. The services infrastructure was installed and initially connected to a pair of temporary chillers. Meanwhile, Star’s engineering team designed, built and installed the final Azanechiller plant within a total of 18 weeks.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director Rob Lamb says: “Culina’s Azanechillers were pre-commissioned and performance tested at our manufacturing facility in Glasgow prior to installation on site. This meant the changeover from hired units to Azanechillers was fast and straightforward, thanks to offsite testing.”

    He adds: “As a complete refrigeration package, Azanechiller is easy to install. Only an electrical supply and flow/return pipework is required to provide cooling. This cuts down site installation and commissioning time, whilst also avoiding the need for a plant room.”

    The plant is located externally on a concrete plinth adjacent to the chill store building, which features ten HGV loading docks and four level access doors. Star’s Telstar computerised control system ensures optimum performance, with HMI touch screen interface and broadband connection for offsite remote monitoring.

    The Culina system features two AA750 air cooled Azanechillers with ammonia as primary and glycol as secondary refrigerant. Each Azanechiller has an operating capacity of 450kW to maintain the chill store at +2 to +5°C.

    Suitable for cooling both water and glycol, Azanechiller was developed by Star for environmentally conscious end users. Ammonia is a naturally occurring refrigerant with zero ozone depletion potential and zero global warming potential.

    Azanechiller typically offers a 30% increase in performance compared with standard HFC chillers. Its packaged design and careful component selection result in an ultra low refrigerant charge, with all ammonia contained within the chiller and sited outside the warehouse or production facility.

    Azanechiller features high quality, industrial components to offer unrivalled performance, reliability and low maintenance. Each unit includes two screw compressors, low noise drive motors, Star’s low charge, low pressure receiver and semi-welded PHE evaporator.

    Azanechiller is available as an air cooled or water cooled unit with cooling capacity from 200kW to 850kW. Air cooled Azanechillers feature high efficiency EC condenser fan technology. Water cooled Azanechillers include a welded plate heat exchanger evaporator to minimise refrigerant charge. Both include floating header pressure control, which optimises efficiency at part load conditions and low ambient temperatures.

  • Global Logistics Specialists, Wales

    Renowned for its expertise in sustainable cooling technology for the temperature controlled storage sector, Star has enabled another leading distribution firm to cut annual energy costs by 40% at its facility in Wales.

    Working with the company’s technical staff, Star designed and installed an environmentally conscious refrigeration plant for a cold storage facility at the site. The ammonia system replaced an existing plant that operated on R22 – an ozone-depleting refrigerant which is currently being phased out by EU legislation.

    The global logistics specialist was looking for an energy efficient cooling system to serve a frozen food coldstore. The facility has a throughput of over 600 frozen pallets each week, with products from the region’s food manufacturers being distributed to retailers and food service outlets across the UK.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star has a vast experience of distribution centre cooling solutions, spanning over 30 years. Star supplied a bespoke ammonia refrigeration plant for the coldstore, which houses six insulated chambers with fully automated doors and has a total volume of around 31,500 cubic metres.

    Star designed, built, installed and commissioned a single stage pumped circulation ammonia refrigeration plant. With a total capacity of around 450kW, the plant delivers cooling via 10 evaporators to maintain the coldstore temperature at -22°C.

    Star Refrigeration’s Director of Sales – Food Market, James Ward, says: “As part of the R22 phase out and a drive to reduce energy consumption across the clients estate, our system is designed for optimum operating efficiency at an affordable running cost. As well as operating on the natural refrigerant ammonia, the plant incorporates energy saving equipment and controls to provide significant electrical savings when compared to standard pumped circulation designs.”

    He adds: “We are confident that as well as having a refrigeration plant that complies with environmental legislation, the operator will save around 40% off its annual energy bill thanks to the design of the system.”

    Located in a new plant room adjacent to the cold store, the refrigeration plant features two screw compressors and one reciprocating compressor to give highly efficient part load operation. The ammonia system also includes surge drum, open flash intercooler and one common evaporative condenser. Star’s Telstar PLC computerised control and management system ensures optimum performance and energy efficiency, with HMI touch screen interface.

    Star’s energy efficient plant design package includes defrost on demand, floating head suction pressure, an Aether condenser fan inverter controller and intelligent compressor controls.  Star also improved the design of the existing cold store evaporators with graduated fin spacing to allow longer operation between defrosts.

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • Granville Food Care

    Star Refrigeration has designed and manufactured an efficiency boosting cooling system for Granville Food Care Ltd in Northern Ireland.

    Star installed the energy saving refrigeration plant at Granville’s meat freezing and cold storage facility in Dungannon, County Tyrone. The innovative cooling system was designed to replace an existing R22 plant and increase production to meet demand from UK retailers.

    Star’s turnkey cooling solution for Granville comprised a state-of-the-art ammonia and carbon dioxide (CO2) cascade plant. Operating on natural refrigerants, the dual purpose plant provides cooling for both blast freezing and cold storage.

    The cascade plant supplies cooling to three cold storage areas and seven blast freezers at the Granville facility. Star’s refrigeration system is one of the first in Northern Ireland to use CO2 technology for blast freezing.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director Rob Lamb says: “The ammonia and CO2 cascade plant has allowed Granville to reduce energy consumption and gain a significant increase in throughput, by improving product freeze times by 23 per cent. The plant also has a very low ammonia charge, which is isolated to the plant room.”

    He adds: “Overall, the new refrigeration plant has enabled the client to expand business without further investment in building infrastructure.”

    The Granville plant has a total refrigeration capacity of 1,227kW. The system was designed with sufficient in-built compressor capacity to allow future expansion of the existing cold store.

    The new plant is located in a purpose built plant room adjacent to the main building. It comprises two low temperature CO2 compressors and surge drum. Supplying liquid CO2 to cold stores and blast freezers. It also features two ammonia compressors and evaporative condensers, as well as two ammonia to CO2 cascade heat exchangers.

    The Granville project included the removal of R22 refrigerant from the site. Some of the original plant was designed by Star over 25 years ago and had served the client well. Star worked closely with Granville throughout the 34-week project to ensure the project was completed on time and budget.

    Two further phases of the project are currently underway, to increase both cold storage and freezing capacity on site and these are due to complete over the next six months. When complete, Granville Food Care will have a blast freezing capacity of 300 tonnes per 15 hour cycle to add to their 100 tonne per day of defrosting capacity.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Kuehne + Nagel, Wellingborough

    Star Refrigeration completed a £1.4M cold and chill store project for global logistics provider Kuehne + Nagel.

    Star designed and installed a high efficiency ammonia refrigeration plant at one of the company’s national distribution centres in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

    The distribution centre carries out, among other operations, food and beverage logistics for leading UK food service operators. Kuehne + Nagel undertakes supply chain management for the distribution of frozen, chilled and ambient products via the UK road network.

    Working to a strict time schedule and within the space constraints of an existing warehouse building, Star delivered a turnkey cooling solution for Kuehne + Nagel. Operating on natural ammonia refrigerant, Star’s compact dual purpose system supplies cooling to new cold and chill store areas, with 17 vehicle loading docks.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director Rob Lamb says: “As the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration specialist, Star was able to deliver on time within a tight 23-week installation programme. Our previous experience in the cold storage and distribution sector with the project’s main contractor Fitzpatricks also enabled us to meet the target delivery date.”

    Star’s refrigeration plant has a cooling capacity of 500kW for the cold store area, which operates at minus 25 degrees centigrade. The chill store area operates at a temperature of plus two degrees centigrade, maintained by 650kW of cooling capacity.

    The system comprises a two stage pump circulation ammonia plant, with hot gas defrost to the evaporators. As an environmentally conscious natural refrigerant with zero global warming and ozone depletion potential, ammonia overcomes concerns over HFCs.

    The compact and highly efficient system features two low and two high stage compressors, a high stage surge drum and two evaporative condensers. The innovative design offers Kuehne + Nagel running cost savings of £50K per annum compared to a conventional pump system.

    The low maintenance plant features Star’s TELSTAR computerised control system to monitor running conditions and optimise efficiency. The system has remote access via a built-in modem, with a direct link to Star’s 24/7 call out facility.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and aftercare of industrial refrigeration and HVAC systems.

    Star provides total cooling solutions for refrigeration, air conditioning and process cooling. The company offers a turnkey supply and support package to all users of cooling equipment. Star continues to invest in the development of new products to provide energy conscious cooling systems for the benefit of customers and the environment.

  • Kuehne+Nagel, Brinklow

    Global logistics specialist Kuehne+Nagel has invested in another environmentally efficient chill store cooling system from Star Refrigeration.

    Kuehne+Nagel required a new refrigeration plant as part of an extension to a chilled storage facility at its Brinklow site, near Milton Keynes. The distribution centre handles food and drink logistics for one of the UK’s leading supermarket chains.

    Following the success of previous cooling projects at other UK sites, Kuehne+Nagel approached Star to design and build an environmentally conscious, robust and reliable refrigeration plant for the new chill store. Star worked in partnership with the main building contractor for the expansion project to deliver a turnkey cooling solution for Kuehne+Nagel.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star designed and built a high efficiency refrigeration plant incorporating two of its Azanechillers. The compact ammonia packaged chillers supply cooling to the new multi temperature chill store, with a 56,000 sq ft chamber for chilled goods and a 45,000 sq ft produce chamber for fresh fruit and vegetables. Each temperature controlled chamber has a throughput of around 30 tonnes per hour.

    Star combined the new Azanechiller system with an existing refrigeration plant to give Kuehne+Nagel the flexibility to operate the two chambers within the new chill store at different temperatures. The existing plant allows the fresh produce chamber to operate at +9°C, with the new Azanechiller system enabling an operating temperature of +2°C in the chilled goods chamber.

    Working to a strict time schedule, Star pre-commissioned and performance tested the Azanechiller system at its Glasgow manufacturing facility to reduce installation time on site at Brinklow. Group company Star M&E Solutions was awarded the role of mechanical and electrical contractor, including main low voltage panel works, lighting for the two chambers, fire alarm and alterations to the ventilation system.

    The Kuehne+Nagel system features two air-cooled Azanechillers with ammonia as primary and glycol as secondary refrigerant. Each unit has a cooling capacity of 400kW and features a low ammonia charge of less than 0.45kg/kW. The Azanechillers are located externally, mounted on concrete plinths adjacent to the existing plant room. As an environmentally conscious natural refrigerant with zero global warming and ozone depletion potential, ammonia overcomes concerns over HFCs. Waste heat from the Azanechillers is recovered for defrosting the evaporators in the new and existing refrigeration plant.

    Azanechiller is a complete refrigeration package, ideally suited to temperature controlled storage as well as food processing, building services and process cooling. Only an electrical supply and flow/return pipework is required to provide cooling. This reduces site installation and commissioning time, whilst also avoiding the need for a plant room.

    Suitable for cooling both water and glycol, Azanechiller was developed by Star for environmentally conscious end users. Azanechiller typically offers a 30% increase in performance compared with standard HFC chillers. Its packaged design and careful component selection results in an ultra low refrigerant charge, with all ammonia contained within the chiller and sited outside the warehouse or production facility.

    Azanechiller features high quality, industrial components to offer unrivalled performance, reliability and low maintenance. Each unit includes two screw compressors, low noise drive motors, Star’s low charge low pressure receiver and semi-welded PHE evaporator. Star’s Telstar computerised control system ensures optimum performance, with HMI touch screen interface and optional broadband connection for offsite remote monitoring.

    Azanechiller is available as an air-cooled or water-cooled unit with cooling capacity from 200kW to 850kW. Air-cooled Azanechillers feature high efficiency EC condenser fan technology. Water-cooled Azanechillers include a welded plate heat exchanger condenser to minimise refrigerant charge. Both include floating header pressure control, which optimises efficiency at part load conditions and low ambient temperatures.

  • MKG Foods

    MKG Foods are a leading UK independent, family-owned, frozen food distributor. A multi-million pound turnover company, MKG Foods pride themselves on fully understanding the requirements of today’s catering market and their ability to maintain a personal service that delivers consistent reliability, quality, innovation and value to their customers.

    MKG sought expert advice from Star Refrigeration, to investigate and to offer replacement plant solutions.

    The depot’s distribution function, a 24 hour operation, could not be compromised and storage temperatures within three separate stores had to be maintained throughout the project. The replacement refrigeration systems were to be installed in conjunction with de-commissioning, removal and disposal of redundant R22 systems. 

    Star carried out a thorough investigation into the existing plant, its operation, configuration and available space for locating replacement components. Star proposed a selection of viable schemes, based on a variety of refrigerants and plant configurations; the individual merits and operational economics of each were then presented to MKG.

    A decision was made to replace the existing refrigeration systems, associated with the three low-temperature cold-stores, with six individual air-cooled R404a systems. This solution provided a number of benefits with regard to MKG’s project.

    The compressor/condenser units, a bespoke design unique to Star, are delivered pre-packaged and fully weather-housed; they could therefore be located immediately without any additional plantroom being required. 

    Although each system represented only a portion of the final capacity requirement, each would be capable of independent operation as soon as installed. This enabled a significant portion of the new plant and replacement services to be installed prior to decommissioning the existing systems.

    A replacement sequence, across all three storage chambers, was planned in collaboration with MKG’s distribution and operations management. The plan protected chamber temperatures and product integrity throughout, by ensuring sufficient refrigeration capacity would always be available. 

    By employing multiple independent systems, Star ensured each chamber had sufficient new plant in place to satisfy the full cooling demand prior to the sequential removal of the redundant R22 systems. The independent systems approach also provides MKG Foods with a degree of “plant failure” security, should this ever become a necessity.

    The project was managed throughout by Star, and all planned objectives were achieved. A summary of Star Refrigeration’s responsibilities and involvement was:

    • Replacement plant design, supply and install.
    • Project planning and supervision.
    • Pre-preparation, builders / civil works.
    • Removal of the existing redundant refrigeration plant.
    • The decanting and legal disposal of R22 refrigerant.
    • Re-working and routing existing power supplies and electrical services.
    • Installation of six individual R404a systems, each complete with fully automatic controls.

    The project was delivered in accordance with the agreed programme, with all new plant being fully operational within 8 weeks of commencing onsite.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK's largest independent industrial refrigeration company. Star focuses on design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company can offer a total solutions package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • Nisa-Today's

    Star Refrigeration has completed the turnkey installation of two cold store facilities within Nisa-Today’s new state-of-the-art warehouse and distribution centre in North Lincolnshire.

    Nisa-Today’s is the UK’s leading buying and distribution company for independent retailers and wholesalers. The group supplies branded, alternative and own label products covering the ambient, frozen, chilled and licensed sectors.

    Nisa-Today’s recently invested in a purpose built 625,000sqft ambient warehouse and distribution centre in Scunthorpe. The £30million facility was designed to expand UK distribution and boost supply chain efficiency.

    Nisa-Today’s required two refrigerated compartments within the new warehouse to pilot a range of frozen and chilled products. It was vital that the temperature controlled cold stores were self-supporting and imposed no additional energy load on the main building.

    Cooling solutions specialist Star Refrigeration was tasked to design and build the two cold storage facilities for Nisa-Today’s. Star delivered a turnkey supply and installation package, completing the project on time and to budget.

    Star Refrigeration Sales Director Rob Lamb says: "Star was responsible for managing every aspect of the Nisa-Today’s cold and chill room project, from design through to delivery. Our team managed specialist contractors on site and worked in conjunction with the construction company for the main building. The success of the project is another example of Star’s forward thinking partnership approach to deliver a turnkey cold storage solution."

    Star’s scope of work included the provision of support steelwork, insulated panels, concrete floors, under floor heating and refrigeration plants for both cold stores. The company was also responsible for control panels, electrical wiring, emergency lighting, safety provision, temperature monitoring and alarm systems.

    Each cold store measures around 792 cubic metres and compartment temperatures are controlled at +4°C and -22°C. Cooling is provided by two separate refrigeration plants operating on the synthetic refrigerant R404a. 

    The refrigeration plants comprise ceiling mounted coolers connected to air cooled condensing units. The capacities of the condensing units are 23kW for the +4°C compartment and 36kW for the -22°C cold store. Both compartments are designed to operate at -22°C to provide maximum flexibility.

    The outer casing and steelwork of the cold stores were finished in a matching colour to the warehouse interior. The condensing units are sited externally in self-contained weatherproof housing designed to match the exterior of the building.

    The new Nisa-Today’s warehouse is the epicentre for the delivery of ambient products across the UK, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. The vast distribution centre is the size of 40 football pitches and has a capacity of two million cases per week. The new facility was officially opened earlier this year.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • Supply Chain Specialist

    Star Refrigeration has supplied a dual temperature cooling system as part of a warehouse conversion project for a leading European supply chain specialist.

    The logistics provider was looking to convert an existing empty warehouse at its site in Hertfordshire into a temperature controlled food and beverage storage and distribution facility. The client required an energy efficient cooling system for cold and chill stores within the building, using environmentally conscious natural refrigerants.

    Working on behalf of the building contractor, Star supplied a bespoke ammonia refrigeration plant to meet both frozen and chill requirements within the new facility. Star completed the fast track project in less than six months from order placement.

    A world leader in cooling and heating system innovation, Star designed, built, installed and commissioned a two-stage pumped circulation ammonia refrigeration plant for the facility. Located in a plant room adjacent to the warehouse building, the system has an overall capacity of 2,224kW including cooling for the cold store, chill store and loading bay areas.

    The existing ambient warehouse was fitted out with a 9,000 sq m frozen chamber operating at -25°C and a 5,000 sq m chill chamber operating at +2°C. Cooling is delivered to the chambers via evaporators located along one wall of the facility. These discharge air 120 metres across the store towards the vehicle loading docks.

    Star Refrigeration’s Director of Sales – Food Market, James Ward, says: “This project confirms our continued ability to deliver innovative bespoke solutions to exactly match customer requirements. The plant provides optimum efficiency and uses an environmentally benign refrigerant in terms of global warming and ozone depletion.”

    The refrigeration plant features two low stage, two high stage and one ‘swing’ screw compressor, low temperature and high temperature surge drums and two evaporative condensers. Star’s Telstar PLC computerised control system ensures optimum performance, with HMI touch screen interface.

    Star’s energy efficient design package includes high efficiency compressor drive motors, Aether condenser fan inverter controller and intelligent compressor/cooler controls. Star also provided underfloor heating for the frozen chamber with oil circuit heat recovery. In addition, Star designed and installed a rainwater harvesting system for the evaporative condensers, making use of an existing water storage tank.

    When it comes to designing energy efficient cooling and heating systems, Star is a natural innovator. Star works with strategic partners across the globe to deliver low carbon, cost saving solutions.

  • Tesco Retrofit

    Star Refrigeration has completed a six-year programme of environmentally conscious retrofit projects for Tesco, to increase energy efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint.

    In 2000 supermarket chain Tesco committed to phase out HCFC refrigerants from its estate, including its network of 11 distribution centres. The temperature controlled facilities are integral to the supply of chilled and frozen produce to over 1,900 Tesco stores across the UK.

    Four Tesco distribution centres had refrigeration plant operating on R22, an HCFC gas refrigerant currently being phased out due to its ozone depleting potential. As preferred supplier of cooling solutions for Tesco distribution refrigeration systems, Star was tasked to replace the R22 plants with energy efficient and environmentally conscious refrigeration systems.

    Star’s engineers reviewed cooling provision at each distribution centre and considered a number of system designs and refrigerant options. Environmental considerations coupled with the large plant capacity required (2.7MW to 3MW per site) resulted in ammonia as the clear choice as primary refrigerant.

    Star worked in partnership with Tesco to produce a generic central ammonia/glycol system that could be adopted on all four R22 retrofit sites. These included Tesco distribution centres in Hinckley, Leicester (completed 2001), Middleton, north Manchester (completed 2005), Harlow, Essex (completed 2006) and Snodland, Kent (completed 2006).

    As the main consumer of electrical power at any distribution centre, energy efficiency was a key aspect in the design of the new refrigeration system. Star worked to optimise plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption, in order to have a significant positive impact on running costs, carbon emissions and the environment.

    Star’s ammonia/glycol refrigeration plant for Tesco is a state-of-the-art system that provides cooling for cold and chill stores. Each plant comprises duplex screw compressors, low pressure receiver, glycol plate heat exchanger and evaporative condensers. Star’s patented TELSTAR computerised control system monitors plant trends and provides continuous data logging with remote access facility.

    It was vital that each distribution centre remained fully operational throughout the installation programme. The majority of plant removal and installation work was carried out over weekends and during the early hours. All works were carefully phased over a 12-month period at each site to ensure zero downtime.

    Star is currently involved in the design, build and installation of a refrigeration plant for a brand new Tesco distribution centre in Scotland. The temperature controlled facility in Livingston, West Lothian is due to be completed later this year.

    Star Refrigeration is the UK’s largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

  • Yearsley Cold Store

    The measure of the success of a partnership lies in two things; effectiveness and endurance. Great partners stick in the memory because they made the grade over a sustained period. Lennon and McCartney, Morecambe and Wise, or Torvill and Dean wouldn’t have marked our lives as they did if their success had been only a quick burst of brilliance – limited to their allotted 15 minutes of fame. Away from the high profile entertainment world the same measures apply. It is against this yardstick that the relationship between Yearsley Group and Star Refrigeration can best be measured.

    The two companies first came together in the 1970’s – the era of the three day week, glam rock and hideous fashions. Early projects included work on the original plant at Yearsley Group’s head office in Rochdale and installation of some of the first Bitzer semihermetic screws at Coleshill. In those days Star’s interests were represented by Harry Davenport (Rossendale Refrigeration) and Dave Buchanan and they worked alongside Peter, Roger and John Yearsley as the brothers turned their business from a family greengrocer into a nationwide Cold Storage and Distribution chain. 

    A generation later the faces, and thankfully the fashions, have changed, but the relationship is as strong as ever. In May 1999 Yearsley Group opened Phase 1 of their new head office and flagship cold store at Heywood, Greater Manchester. 

    The move to Heyward was prompted by business growth which had resulted in the original Rochdale site running at full capacity all year round. The growth has continued, and Phases 2 and 3 at the Heywood site followed in quick succession, with completions in October 1999 and October 2001. Yearsley Group now have space for 28,000 pallets in mobile racks at  the state of the art facility in Heywood and a total of 60,000 spaces including capacity at their facilities at Rochdale, Coleshill and Gillingham.

    This expansion programme included the building of 3 low temperature cold stores capable of operating at –29ºC, a 10ºC re-pack area and a loading bay. In each case R&D Engineering have acted as consultants ensuring continuity of design. The design criteria for the cold stores included economy of operation, a “green” refrigerant, low refrigerant charge and ease of maintenance. A modular approach was adopted to the design of the refrigeration plant, and the main plant room was sized to accommodate future requirements allowing the new refrigeration packs to be added without disruption to the operating plant already installed. 

    All three chambers at Heywood are served by Star’s patented Low Pressure Receiver systems, operating independently and using ammonia as the refrigerant. Alan Stoll, Star’s local sales engineer since 1975, explains. "Phase 1 was over 70,000 cubic metres but Phases 2 and 3 were 24,600 and 33,000 each, so it made sense to install three separate systems. This means that the chamber temperatures can be set individually without running the plant inefficiently. If Chamber 2 – the smallest - runs down at -29ºC but the others don’t need to be so cold then their performance is not affected. This wouldn’t be possible on a central plant."

    "However each phase was required to comply with Lloyds Rules for Refrigerated Stores in its own right, including all necessary provisions for standby plant. There are three compressors on the first phase and two on each of the others, sized so that any two can hold the store at the design temperature, and redundancy is built into the other system components such as condensers and evaporators. Of course there are no liquid pumps on the LPR system, so there’s one less item of plant to worry about."

    The total ammonia content is just over one tonne, with charges for phase 1, 2 and 3 of 450, 250 and 350kg respectively. The modular LPR configuration allows a much lower charge than the equivalent pumped central plant system and also avoids the requirement for hot gas valve stations in the roof void which are always a potential ammonia leak hazard. 

    Six evaporative condensers, all fitted with noise attenuation, are sited on the plant room roof. Each condenser has its own automatic water treatment dosing system which is located in the plant room.

    Twelve ceiling suspended evaporators are installed, six in the first phase and three in each of the other phases. Air is discharged across the 64m width, with each cooler having its own booster fan at ceiling level halfway across the store to ensure good air circulation throughout the chambers. Each cooler is arranged for reverse cycle hot gas defrosting to the coil and tray. Each system uses Star’s TELSTAR system to provide plant control and remote monitoring, with service response from Star’s Manchester branch, only 15 miles away. Ease of maintenance was an important issue for Yearsley Group and each system was provided with automatic oil return and automatic gas purging to help minimise the effort required maintaining the plant on site.

    The Repack area at Heywood was established in 1999 to provide facilities for re-labelling and re-packaging stock. This provides blue chip clients with a way to deal with "problem" stock in a completely safe and hygienic way. The environment in the repack area has to be controlled to 10°C at low noise levels due to high room occupancy. Star’s solution was to install condensing units operating with R404a refrigerant and low velocity dual discharge air coolers.

    Yearsley Group have also been able to benefit from Star’s experience at their new site in Gillingham, Kent. Unlike Rochdale, Heywood and Coleshill, Yearsley's took on an existing site at Gillingham, but substantial investment, mainly in materials handling equipment and information technology, was required to bring the site up to the group’s high standard. Some work was also required on the refrigeration plant, a traditional pumped circulation system. This included modifications to the electrical supplies to bring them into line with Lloyds requirements and the European Standard EN378. 

    With good access to the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone, and to the rest of the channel ports, Yearsley’s base in the south. It is also less than 20 miles from Star’s London branch in Gravesend, and the support of branch manager Rob Newman and his team of engineers has been a great help in getting Gillingham up and running.

    Managing Director, Harry Yearsley - who is the grandson of the company’s founder - sums up the relationship well, saying: "Our business is cold storage and distribution. We concentrate on what we’re good at and we rely on Star for their engineering expertise in refrigeration."

    Star Refrigeration is the UK's largest independent industrial refrigeration engineering company. Star focuses on the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of industrial refrigeration systems. The company offers a turnkey package to all users of refrigeration plant.

    Star's technical advisory arm, Star Technical Solutions (STS), operates as an independent consultancy providing advice on refrigeration engineering issues. Star also owns food freezing and chilling equipment specialist Starfrost, as well as mechanical and electrical contractors Penec.

  • Farmfoods Solihull

    Star Refrigeration has the reputation for installing and maintaining long-lived quality refrigeration solutions able to meet the needs of some of the biggest and most respected names in the UK. Farmfoods is one of the companies we work closely with. 

    Farmfoods is dedicated to bringing superior frozen food to its customers. A Scottish-run family business, it relies on quality equipment to ensure its range remains in perfect condition. For the past three decades, the Star installation at Solihull has ensured that every product is maintained and despatched to stores at the optimum temperature.

    “Originally built for Birds Eye, the depot was purchased by Farmfoods in 2000”, said Julian Hill, Engineering Manager at Farmfoods.  “Since Farmfoods took over the system there has been just a six month period where it wasn’t in use. When Birdseye left and Farmfoods took over, it was closed down. Our engineer came in every day just to make sure everything was okay, but once we bought it, we turned it all back on and Star has ensured it runs smoothly ever since”.

    Andy O’Brien, Senior Engineer at Star Refrigeration, further highlighting the reputation forreliability Star has in the cold storage industry, said, “The plant is 33 years old. Built to Lloyd’s requirements in 1984, the two stage surge ammonia refrigeration plant includes four reciprocating compressors, a low temperature surge drum, intercooler, receiver, hot gas defrost valve stations and waste heat recovery for the glycol underfloor heater mat. Provision was made for future expansion of the store and in 2003, three further evaporators were added to the system, increasing cooling capacity by 225kW”. 

    The warehouse has 13,000 pallet spaces across three different chambers - a cold store, a chill store and an ambient area. 

    The system uses environmentally-friendly ammonia, which is a natural occurring gas with zero ozone depleting and global warming potential. It is one of the most efficient refrigerants for this type of application. According to Farmfoods Engineering Manager, “the use of future proof ammonia, the robust industrial build quality of the system, and regular pro-active maintenance are the reasons the system has survived the test of time”.

    Since it was first installed, Star Refrigeration has provided full maintenance including a major overhaul of compressors and liquid pumps or any other works required by Lloyd’s insurance as well as cover for out of hours service calls. Hill said, “Maintenance work on the plant includes review of operating performance, inspection of equipment including compressors, evaporators and condensers and oil recovery”.

     Despite the system’s age, Farmfoods has experienced uninterrupted operation. Hill said, “There have been no major problems, no forced shutdown of the plant”.

    Modifications have also been made to improve plant reliability and efficiency. The original evaporative condenser was still in use and according to the manufacturer, the condenser was their oldest in operation in Europe. To safeguard the future operation of the facility, it was decided to replace the condenser.  Andy O’Brien described the process, “it involved a carefully planned programme including a short shut down of the system to enable the addition of new connections and extended pipework. Prior to the shutdown, the store temperature was lowered, to ensure product remained at the desired temperature”. 

    Farmfoods confirmed that “the replacement works were completed to plan and with no disruption to our operation”.

    To enhance operational efficiency, the new condenser was fitted with Star’s Aether control system. Aether varies fan speed based on heat rejection load and ambient conditions, saving motor power and ensuring optimum condensing conditions throughout the year.

    Star’s focus on efficiency and extended working life, as well as reducing carbon emissions, has helped Farmfoods keep running costs down over the years.

    Farmfoods and Star Refrigeration have enjoyed a successful and longstanding relationship for decades. In addition to the condenser works at Solihull, Star has also recently installed two Azanefreezers and an Azanechiller at Farmfoods new facility in Bristol in 2014 and will continue to support the frozen specialists in the years to come.