There is no doubt that the initial capital investment made by customers when purchasing and installing refrigeration plant is significant. However, this figure typically only represents around 15% of a refrigeration system’s total lifecycle cost.
By far the largest ongoing operational cost is energy, with electricity accounting for over 70% of a plant’s total lifecycle cost. Maintenance and servicing, including component replacement, accounts for up to 15% of the remaining financial expenditure.
Long-term lifecycle costs should always be taken into account in the initial design of a refrigeration system. The best components should be selected to suit the application and deliver optimum energy efficient operation throughout the expected lifespan of the plant, which is usually in excess of 20 years and can be up to 40 years for industrial refrigeration plant.
Once the design is completed, components have been selected and the system is built and installed, the foundations are set in terms of what it is possible to achieve during the plant’s lifespan from an efficiency point of view. Optimising the efficiency of a refrigeration plant doesn’t stop at the commissioning and handover of the system. A proactive programme of planned preventative maintenance (PPM) is key to ensuring that plant is maintained at an optimum level of efficiency throughout its lifespan.
As one of the UK’s leading aftercare providers for industrial refrigeration systems, Star focuses on asset management through proactive maintenance to maximise plant efficiency and reliability. Each PPM programme is carefully tailored to monitor efficiency and prevent drift from optimum performance in order to achieve the lowest possible running cost. Star’s aftercare team continuously reviews and compares plant performance against the original design parameters and looks for ways to improve efficiency.
At our Monitoring Hub in Glasgow, specialist engineers use the latest technology to monitor plant health, to help avoid costly system faults and component breakdown. Remote monitoring enables senior engineers to regularly review operational data and alerts, which detect movement away from design conditions. These can provide an early warning of a reduction in efficiency and help identify potential future operational issues. Once data has been analysed remotely, remedial task lists are created for field engineers to attend to on site.