View Full Version : Commercial

David PS
10-02-2004, 04:03 PM
Has anyone any experience of moving from commercial refrigeration to industrial?

How steep is the learning curve and what are the pros and cons.

10-02-2004, 08:40 PM
Learning curve is vertical :)

No, ... joking,...in my opinion, basic principles of commercial remains valid for industrial but everything is only bigger.

You ask for an opinion: it's much more challenging to do industrial because you will encounter a larger variety of systems, regulating devices, .... You have to think more and prove more that you understand what's going on in a big system.
It's more satisfying.

You're a lot more appreciated after finishing a job, especially after a difficult repair. Anyway, I feel better after a repair on a cascade system then after replacing a service thermostat in a household.

Never stop reading good books when beginning industrial, ask for advice anywhere.... try to fully understand the basics - at least those you need for your job - or try to feel what's happening inside a system....

Another benefit, perhaps a small one.... you work almost never alone and doing a job together with a colleague is mostly more fun. Day passes quicker.

Profits are better.

Con's: all items are heavier to carry, you can do a repair which can last more then a day, have to work late in the evening perhaps, making a mistake costs more, industrial machines cools mostly expensive and huge loads (a repair has therefore to be done fast and accurate), sometimes more dangerous, ...

David PS
11-02-2004, 06:11 PM
What about the change from HFC plant to ammonia plant.

11-02-2004, 07:23 PM
hi david,

I would say that most idustrial plants are by far more interasting,
controlers, big machinery, high currants,more refrigerant controls.

have a word with andy, I think he is doing that kind of job.


14-02-2004, 12:32 PM
Hi David PS:)
comming up from the comercial route is the best way of doing it. I know some industrial engineers that are quite good at compressor overhauls, but could not safely wire a simple motor, they have always had a spark to do it for them. Commercial guys would have a higher experience in electrical control systems, it's the nature of the game, refrigeration doesnot change, but the supermarket controllers are always changing.
I came from a small contractor servicing supermarket condensing units, this I was bored of after 6 months, we also did a little industrial work, enough to spark off my interest and point me in what was the right direction for me.:D
Kind Regards. Andy.:)

David PS
14-02-2004, 06:43 PM

I come from a similar background, starting out with supermarkets and becoming quickly bored by the standarised nature of the job.

I have progressed to management level, however in the long term the work stays the same and the engineers get worse, hence the query about industrial.

My original post was looking for information concerning the learning curve for the plant that would be new to me, for expample pumped ammonia, low pressure receiver systems etc..

I suppose the learing curve would depend on the company doing the teaching, apart from Star who would say does a good job?

You obviously progressed from commercial to industrial, having made the change would you ever change back.


15-02-2004, 01:34 PM
Hi David PS:)

having made the change would you ever change back.
I often ask myself the same question, usually whilst looking at my pay packet:(
The renumeration is much better in the commercial game, but in the end I would not be happy working at commercial equipment.
The job I have now is ideal for me, I do a bit of everything. I quote the work, project manage the work, commission the jobs, then invoice them. The draw back is I have to spend valuable time on maintenance type work, which I should be spending on talking to new customers.
I suppose the answer is take someone on, but it is very hard to get anyone to give the high level of commitment required for a operation such as ours. Skill is another problem, most engineers lack the basic skills required to do a decent job. Most can't even be bothered to use a vacumn pump properly or are not compotent enough to charge a refrigeration properly:confused:

apart from Star who would say does a good job?
I have heard some horror stories about the big names. There is still some small companies that take pride in their work, but the big names are pushing them out, buying up the work with cheap low quality installations, which they or no one else can effectively service.
If you are considering taking to Star they are looking for people in most areas, but they will tend to start people on a low salary and make them work their way up.
Kind Regards. Andy.:)

10-03-2005, 01:25 PM

I started off learning refrigeration during my Electrical Maintenance apprenticeship in a frozen meal factory. I got interested in the 2 and 5 ton NH3 plants and fortunate to be invited to work with an Armed-Forces trained Fridge guy. He shared his knowledge freely and emphasised the need to understand the principles, think logically, keep everything clean and be safe! Books and notes were always available from him.

I got to work with him at least 4 out of 7 days. I spent 3 years learning from him. On site there was also 25 free-standing R22 systems using Bitzer 4G2's. I found these systems more challenging than the NH3(R717) systems. The good thing about NH3 is that you can smell a leak. What an awful feeling it is when you walk into the path of a even a minor wisp of the stuff.

Anyway, this Fridge guy left for a more controlling role with another company, leaving myself and my boss the only two on-site able to deal with all the fridge gear. My boss advertised for Fridge guys, got plenty of replies from lads with vast experience and invited them in. On the tour of the plant their jaws dropped as they looked in awe of the size of the equipment. Some had never seen snow/ice on pipes/valves. We never got a guy. The right candidate still hasn't surfaced.

My boss wasn't qualified but a certificate of attendance on college courses. I asked for gas handling courses to constant knock-backs. Needless to say I am not qualified but am appreciative of the 6 years experience gained. I have since left to pursue my electrical/automation trade - qualified, of course. ;)

The Site Services manager seems intimidated by quals. He's had three lads who can do the job, all left because of him and still struggling for guys to this day.

How do you guys feel about unqualified people who can do the job? (Not trying to justfiy myself with this Q!) :o

10-03-2005, 06:48 PM
I am not so fond of al that paper qualifications.
When I studied refrigeration, due to me previous school qualifications, I did'nt have to do the practical lessons, only theoretical.
I ended as the 1st with my theoretical end work and on the final exams. Fine you think.
But...I also had to do the practical tests. They had a very simple setup, compressor (hermetic of +/- 1 Hp) with build on condensor an evaporator and a mechanical thermostat which controlled the compressor, in serie connected with the LP/HP. SV energised together with the compressor. They had made a fault and the purpose was to find the fault.

Well, I even didn't knew how to connect the manifold to the service valves and if I could have done it, then I realy wouldn't have a clue what I should see on the gauges.
Was I a qualified tech then? Yes, according to the papers they gave me but on that moment, I knew nothing.

What I'm trying to say: when we hired someone in the past, the qualifications he had was not important to me. I took him with me on a job, if possible a repair and after half a day, I could see realy clear if the guy knew his job or if he at least was willing to learn it.

It's what you can that counts and not what's written on a paper. In our job counts practical experience, the willing to learn continuously, re-reading books, that drive most of the frequent RE posters have, having fun repairing fridges,...

10-03-2005, 09:48 PM
starting out with supermarkets and becoming quickly bored by the standarised nature of the job.

Maybe a few of the tunnel vision individuals get the supermarket engineers a bad reputation,i wouldnt make any assumptions that all industrial guys are the creme de la creme though. :D