The essential role of spares in industrial refrigeration plant aftercare

Find out why spares are a critical component in industrial refrigeration plant aftercare


Calum McKenzie

Calum McKenzie

Scotland Regional Manager - Star Refrigeration


Food Manufacturing

Temperature Controlled Storage & Distribution

Pharmaceutical & Process

Leisure and Ice

Data Centres

Spares have an essential role in industrial refrigeration plant aftercare. When a component breaks or a fault develops, it is vital that replacement parts are sourced and fitted as soon as possible, to minimise downtime and disruption.

A highly responsive and reliable Spares service helps refrigeration engineers get equipment back up and running quickly following a fault or breakdown. This fast response can potentially save plant operators thousands of pounds in costly downtime.

Spares play an important role in plant aftercare support for customers in all industrial refrigeration sectors including food production, temperature controlled storage, pharmaceutical, IT, process cooling and leisure. A large proportion of the work undertaken by a service and maintenance provider’s Spares operation is reactive.

A significant demand for replacement parts is generated by service engineers undertaking equipment overhauls or dealing with plant faults and breakdowns. Engineers also provide a regular flow of work, with specialists from the Spares team often called upon to assess plant components as part of a proactive aftercare programme.

An effective Spares service needs immediate access to a vast stock of refrigeration and HVAC plant components. These range from simple electrical consumables such as fuses and bulbs, to major components including pumps, compressors and evaporators.

Refrigeration technology is constantly evolving and when an industrial refrigeration plant reaches an age in excess of 20 years, it is likely that some components will become obsolete. By maintaining close relationships with suppliers, the spares service team can advise customers in advance if certain components are no longer being manufactured. Guided by this specialist knowledge, refrigeration engineers may recommend a component overhaul on an ageing plant to remove obsolete parts and help avoid future issues.

The industrial refrigeration spares service team should have an overriding commitment to supply components specified by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for every customer wherever possible. Where no OEM specification is available, technical engineering knowledge is required to identify and source the right component for the job. Similarly, if an OEM part has become obsolete, the industrial refrigeration spares team must specify and source the best alternative.

Critical spares now play a key role in many industrial refrigeration plant maintenance contracts. Specialist refrigeration engineers are often instructed to undertake full plant evaluations and recommend lists of critical components to keep in stock. Carrying critical industrial refrigeration spares is a central part of planned, preventative maintenance. This approach can help prevent plant breakdowns and minimise disruption, saving operators thousands of pounds in production downtime.

A further assessment can be undertaken by specialists to identify plant components that are classed as a ‘single point of failure.’ These components have the potential to stop an entire system from operating and may include a single pump supplying cooling to an entire distribution network, or high wear components in use 24/7, such as control valves or shaft seal. If a single point of failure is identified, it is recommended that plant operators hold critical spares to minimise downtime should a breakdown occur.

Over time, the majority of refrigeration plants operate over and above their original capacity, due to an increase in production levels or throughput. Where this is the case, operators should seriously consider holding spares as part of a contingency plan. A relatively small investment in critical components could help keep the plant in production and represent a significant cost saving.

A proactive and predictive approach to plant aftercare is central to an effective maintenance service. Industry leading providers are dedicated to keeping customer plant running and extending the operational life of each system. The supply of quality spares plays a key role in ensuring optimal operation and resilience, helping customers to maximise uptime and reduce costs.

Star Refrigeration has nine regional branch offices, each with an in-house Spares operation working alongside the service teams. As the UK’s largest industrial refrigeration engineering company, Star has the buying power and approval to purchase from leading suppliers of high quality components. Replacement parts for plants manufactured by Star are straightforward to source, as the company works to maintain strong links with original suppliers. The team is also dedicated to sourcing and providing replacement parts for all brands of industrial refrigeration plant to provide the best engineering solution for each customer.

If you are interested in finding out more about Star Refrigeration’s spare service, visit

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The essential role of spares in industrial refrigeration plant aftercare