It is never too early to start planning for the hotter days – to enable you to avoid potential downtime when the summertime comes.
Although the UK weather is inherently unpredictable and generally not frequently nor consistently hot during the summer months, we do sometimes experience occasional ‘mini heatwaves’ which see temperatures rising up to 35C and above which can have dire consequences for temperature control equipment in factories across the country.
When temperatures soar and exceed average temperatures, the knock-on effect to manufacturing equipment can result in equipment failure and downtimes, ultimately costing UK manufacturers hundreds of thousands of pounds.
With rising energy costs – companies are already struggling to remain profitable, so would prefer to avoid any potential seasonal downtime at all cost.
Below are some top tips to ensure your temperature control equipment is ‘summer-ready’:
- Water Management – check that the water used in your chiller is of good quality and correct pH balance. If the cooling fluid becomes contaminated or is not maintained at the correct pH scale, it will start to impact the effectiveness of the system
- Contingency Planning – complete a site assessment and agree on what contingency equipment may be required
- Maintenance – ensure to schedule in regular maintenance checks to avoid costly breakdowns
In addition to spikes in temperature, it is also worth noting that downtime can also be triggered by other factors:
Overload/under specification: If the temperature rises, it can cause the temperature control system to go into overdrive, overloading the compressor – if the specification and the maximum working temperature for the cooling system is too low.
Ageing equipment: On average, a chiller is expected to work for 8-10 years if it has an average workload. If, however, it is in operation 24hrs a day, it will reduce its expected overall lifespan. Plus, as it ages, it will find it harder to cope with un-seasonally hot temperatures towards the end of its life.
People management: Maintaining an ambient working environment for the workforce is equally important. If the machines struggle to cope with the spikes in temperature, then the workforce will too, which will result in lost productivity.
Servicing: Many smaller issues or flaws during small-to-medium loading may go undetected at times and are often overlooked until they are put under the strain of overloading, resulting in the breakdown of systems. Carrying out a detailed service prior to the temperature increasing will help spot any potential issues, allowing time to solve any problems identified. Newsome has hire equipment available in the case of significant faults and issues, which will allow production to continue, while the original machinery can be repaired – to avoid any disruption to the process.
The greatest factor to think of when looking to invest in a new process cooling system is the balance of overall costs of the plant, against the potential impact of downtime. Manufacturers should prepare for the unexpected, allowing scope for potential summer spikes which may overload the system.
There is a fine line between accurate vs under-specification, and these small margins can be exaggerated in extreme temperatures. UK manufacturers are constantly challenged with keeping costs low, however buying a lower specification machine can ultimately expose the manufacturing process to higher risks if heatwaves occur, ultimately impacting mechanical downtime.
For a cost-effective long-term solution, it may be more economical to invest and install a system with a larger capacity that is guaranteed to operate effectively during abnormal rises in temperature/summer heatwaves.
Long-term hire vs capital investment
The alternative is a long-term hire agreement which allows manufacturers to adapt/change their cooling systems depending on the season. For example, a higher power output cooling system can be rented for summer months, which can then be replaced with a system more suited to colder periods in the year. What’s more, rental equipment is not considered as an asset, so does not need to be included on the balance sheet.
On a positive note, many of the issues can be avoided with forward planning. There are a range of short and long-term solutions to suit all budgets. Newsome is here to help you, whether you are a small or large manufacturer. We can ensure your plant is working to maximum efficiency with the appropriate equipment to enable you to adapt to seasonal change.
How Newsome can help
We specialise in providing chillers and ambient coolers, industrial dehumidifiers, HVAC and refrigeration systems most suited to your needs.
Whether you require sales, service or hire, we would love the opportunity to come and talk to you about becoming your trusted temperature and humidity control partner.
To learn more about how we can help you visit: https://newsome.ltd.uk/