View Full Version : Engineers Scale

27-09-2001, 08:24 PM
Most companies have their prima-donna's but is there a scale of progression . Do all ac techs aspire to be industrial engineers, and for example, why do supermarket engineers presume they are at the pinnacle of their chosen field.

So what fields are at the top and bottom rungs of the ladder.

27-09-2001, 10:42 PM
Most companies have their prima-donna's but is there a scale of.... ?

Do you mean on rising prima-donnas:D

Do all ac techs aspire to be industrial engineers

The ones I know just want to be working less hard and making more money. Ideally, of course, we would prefer the money whilst playing at something else (boating, fishing or whatever). ;)

Why do supermarket engineers presume they are at the pinnacle of their chosen field.

Is it because they started from domestic fridge repairs and worked their way up? (Note He didn't ask about refrigeration engineers.

28-09-2001, 05:46 PM
Engineering Ladder UK

Work Experience Aimimg for 5 to 10 GCSE
Apprentice GCSE's / Entry Level NVQ's
Technician BTEC/HNC
Incorperated Engineers HNC / 1st Degree
Chartered Engineer Masters

Theres a NVQ scale for this but dammed if I can recall it. I can add the salary scales if I can find the report.

I have never touched a supermarket but if you only aspire to a white van and a pager then fine.

Refrigeration Engineers are thermofluids experts and rare beasts be proud.

Prima-donnas more likley to be software experts ...oops...just off snowboarding to avoid the customer (IBM ad);)

29-09-2001, 05:18 PM
Originally posted by Derek
I have never touched a supermarket but if you only aspire to a white van and a pager then fine.

So if supermarket engineers are kidding themselves about their prowess what should an engineer aspire to if they want to push or educate themselves a bit further?

A lot of good engineers want to remain hands on but career progression drives them towards some form of management, and in a lot of cases less money.

Surely industrial is not the pinnacle, as some people seem to think.

At the moment a good engineer would only be accepted as a thermofluid expert in certain environments.


29-09-2001, 05:46 PM
Oh dear

Seems someone might of upset you...

Supermarket guys are great and I never attempt to mess with their kit. I do find some maintenance practices strange especially the hotwiring of cut outs and some weird ideas of pressure system safety but it pays a lot of peoples wages and most of my shopping is OK to eat and not loaded with bugs= I'm happy.

Industrial refrigeration doesn't hold all the future for tech's but it does get specialised and that implies CV wealth.

Me I work on kit that neither would normally touch and I have this job by virtue of being able to read a p-h chart. I have done the sales and management bit but went back to get a masters. I now earn more with less stress - that doesn't imply no management skills needed now however.

The future is in not just looking at supermarkets there's more fridge out there than you think. Come along to the Institute Conference this year www.ior.org.uk and meet a few people.

Oh and pop down to the local snowdome (and buy a snowboard). Now there's a place I'd love to work........:D

01-10-2001, 02:46 AM
Not sure what this thread is about, Derek et al. Prima Donna's I understand. Supermarket ones especially. How to grow up as a fridge guy is another thing entirely.

One can only hope that the kernel of seed corn of management is a technician first, and a manager later. That's not to say a technician cannot fulfill himself being the best technician.

It is more to say that a manager without an understanding of what his or her people do, does not deserve to be the manager, no matter how talented, charming, educated, aggressive, or lucky he or she is.

Sooner or later, as a technician, the ladders become taller and more risky to climb, the tools more rusty, outdated, and cumbersome..... and most important, the new technicians more arrogant and stupid unless you are there with them to humble or temper their mistaken and inexperienced decisions, until they ultimately humble you... which is really a success story no matter the pain.

There is a time and place for a good and seasoned technician to belly up, support, and teach those who have begun where he or she began. I consider this the natural order.

No different than handing down a business to a deserving son or daughter, when one's bones begin to creak. Odd, how the things that work in family business seem unapplied in large companies. Such a waste, but yet I see second generation family businesses going down the tubes with spoiled and inattentive brat children at the helm.... eating the seed corn.

Perhaps my paradigm is flawed.

This particular prima donna is wise enough to know that if the supermarket he services is bankrupt, then there is little end to raising my price, but to the greater end figuring out how to save him money.

And funny enough, as a tech, I think I could do the win/win thing... but as a manager, I don't have a prayer. I cannot think for the 75 people who report to me, nor all the customers I serve. I cannot imitate all their situations. Thus, heirarchy begins. And once it does, there is no returning.

The chain of command. Delegation. The view from the damn bridge watching and permitting a thouseand errors because the only job is clearing the channel between iceburgs with the crew in hand.

Apologies to all. Just sorting and venting. Seeing troubling times ahead. Still worrying about things that most likely will become insignificant in the month or two ahead.

But I can keep something cold, if asked.

Again, apologies.


01-10-2001, 08:58 AM
Not sure what this thread is about, Derek et al. Prima Donna's I understand. Supermarket ones especially. How to grow up as a

Seems every day I loose the plot a bit more but good to hear from you again Dan. Hope Family and Friends unaffected by recent events.

It just seems that supermarket trade dominates the Ref and A/C press and other and all Engineers are considered to be low grade motor mechanics.

A few years ago the Engineering Council surveyed kids on the UK's most famous engineer... came back us a mechanic off a soap show (Coronation Street). Now thats sad.

I am happily to live with tech's who think they are the best as long as they do good work and tolerate those who do something a bit different (or in a different way) :cool:

01-10-2001, 03:08 PM
A friend of mine worked for a large distributor. He was assigned to take care of one of the GM plants, where he worked on one type of highly specialized system (bus A/C's), all day every day for many years. He was considered to be at the very top of the ladder.

Then the GM plant moved out of state. He was totally lost. Unable to work on any other type of system, and buried in callbacks, he found himself struggling with every job until he finally retired. It was sad.

03-10-2001, 02:35 AM
Thanks Derek, et al, and regards Randy for your interesting example.

Derek, if supermarket guys are the prima donna's it can only be because they work on the most poorly designed refrigeration applications on earth. For me, that is not something to necessarily be proud of. Think of it this way:

In any warehouse.... with any reefer... with any self-contained application.... and on.... refrigeration is principal in the design. Now....

In a supermarket, refrigeration sucks a hind tit as we say in the states, and perhaps you call a

The decorators and designers have their way and suggest we make stuff cold as an after-thought.
And to add to that, supermarkets think that we don't need doors on refrigerators but should keep things open for the public.

"I want that couch over there, and now I want it refrigerated.... make that ice cream. Do what you have to." The sales man says "no problem."

The installation foreman says okay, too. He puts it in (Screw it, they are paying for it.)

I am not sure, but if there is any reason for a supermarket tech to feel superior it would be simply because he works on the most bass-ackwardly designed equipment out there and he knows that there is no person with any wisdom overseeing him.

Also, keep in mind that supermarket refrigeration is tremendously distributed.... where we buy the product.

One at most every corner down hereabouts. For any warehouse application, I would expect one or two technicians... stationary engineers just making sure their refrigeration works ok. Not a bad 9-to-5 job, actually. Bonding with one set of circumstances that don't change dramatically. Dialling in a fridge aplication and reading a newspaper because "MY" **** takes care of itself...

I love the guys who apply for work and show me that they have "warehouse" or "cryogenic" or "a/c" experience. But when I look in their eyes, I don't think what I have to offer is what they are looking for. "ON-CALL!" Let me steal your life this weekend and pay you 4-hours pay for denying your life what what you would not deny yourself otherwise. Maybe you will be lucky. There is a tremendous difference between 2-hours response time and 24-hours response time.

In my mind.... there is no more crushing obligation than the one toward supermarket refrigeration.

Perhaps that is where the Prima Donna begins.

Going rate in Florida is to have a tech run service on 6-to-12 supermarkets. And he runs into all the people who want to re-arrange the couch. If there is water on a floor, well, shucks, it is the refrigeration guys' fault.

Whew.... I typed all that really fast and just plumb wore my alleged brain out. Let me take a breath.

My last distracted thought: There is no room for elite people if they aren't there to fix stuff. The Elite are the people who are there to fix stuff.

And that is all I have to say. So Humph!


I guess that's all.

29-10-2001, 02:41 AM
In my "regular" job I am a quality engineer... but I am seriously considering a move back to serving the public. I already own my own refrigeration service business... small but then I can't devote all my time to it with being a quality engineer.

I would rather take care of Mom and Pops than listen to production minded idiots where everyone is looking for components of lower quality to reduce cost... which proporitionally and directly increases the amount of failures in the field. Pinch a penny and pay a dime.

AND... I CAN make more money and have satisfied customers. So I guess I can have my cake and eat it too! :p

08-11-2001, 01:24 PM
Hi Guys.
Well I have read your posts and must put in a word for the Transport Reefer guys.
What about our work, we have to deal with electrical control systems, processor controled systems, diesel engines, Bus a/c as well as the standard refrigeration componants.
And yes I do agree WE ARE treated and payed as 2nd class mechanics.

08-11-2001, 08:39 PM
Originally posted by Reeferjon
And yes I do agree WE ARE treated as 2nd class mechanics. Well of course you are ReeferJon. Good heavens who else can entertain us by travelling down the motorway on top of a lorry cab trying to balance a can of gas, thermometer and PT chart.

LOL, anybody could do that, it's the ability to smile without getting the flies in your teeth that makes the pay scale go up:p

09-11-2001, 12:36 PM
LOL :cool:

10-11-2001, 12:29 AM
LOL from me too. Good one there, Brian. Monday I get to meet with the director of training for Thermo-King. Ostensibly, he is coming here to learn how to put together a program for our refrigeration installers and service techs..... but I worry that somebody somewhere is going to want to cross-train us for reefer work.

I am having a hard enough time keeping things at temperature with equipment well-ventilated, not-bouncing, in a spacious environment, with a consistent power supply.

I ponder how well I and mine would possibly do with equipment that travels from Alaska to Florida, making stops and changing from freezer to cooler, to freezer AND cooler with a deisel drive to boot... on the side of a road 6 miles away...

I doff my hat to you Reeferjon. You should start a thread regarding reefer work. I do not know what is expected from the service departments nor how you set up to take care of reefers...certainly you cannot be an expert nor tooled up to repair deisels and fridge in the field. What are typical service calls, response obligations, etc.

Yes, you might have to deal with bugs on your teeth, but at least most of your pigeons are dead.:)

11-11-2001, 02:03 AM
ReeferJon should request a mobile reefer section be added to this board and that he should moderate it. I know I could think of more than a few Q's on the subject. I too have pondered servicing mobile reefers.

12-11-2001, 10:41 AM
Ok someone has put the request in. As for Moderator what's the job.

We have 200ish engineers, ranging from filter spinners to full coms/controller diagnostic people, these guys work 6 days a week they rotate call at least once a week (usualy out all night and work all next day average radius 200 miles).

Most of these guys can handel reverse cycle or 3WV systems, the control systems are complex and require extremely good diagnostic skills. Most controllers are now CPU based.
Where a good reefer engineer comes into his own is in the MULTI compartment/Multi temp control area.
Winter is not our favouite time of year.

Any questions I will help to answer, this week I am running a 3 day course on Sat-coms and remote data access.

12-11-2001, 10:13 PM
Reefer engineers are a rare breed,we dont run inside at the first sign of rain.
As for being bug catchers (damn flies dont taste nice,must go clean my teeth)
Here in uk we dont get a lot of sunshine so if u take a real good look at a UK reefer engineer u might just notice hes got webed feet:D

13-11-2001, 08:19 AM
bl##dy hell I don't suppose you have gills, 3 pairs of hands and night vision as well.
Oh and do you also have the build in 'Truck driver sensor'

13-11-2001, 08:02 PM
Truck driver sensor?
oh yeah if there is a button it has got to be pressed,no matter what it does.

14-11-2001, 01:22 AM
Well, Ok, gents. I met with a guy in charge of training for Thermo-King. They train more than 2000 techs a year. That amazed me. They have a nicely structured program, too. Most of the training is done centrally in Minneapolis. Here are the parts that surprised me:

1. Most of the Dealer trainees have deisel background and the concentration is on teaching deisel mechanics how to do refrigeration.

2. Electronics... the pressure on reefers and containers to perform flawlessly is incredible.

3. Most of the work.... as described by the trainer... is what I would consider shop work. Not field calls. Although there is a requirement for a truck that has interesting doodads such as a tarp or fixed weather barrier for techs servicing trucks in the field.

I am just learning what you reefer guys do, so expect me to be wrong in my initial observations. The Satellite and GPS technology strikes me the most challenging obligation.

Thermo-King makes their own scrolls and screws, which is also a surprise. I was glad to know that they are devoting time to training on Carrier equipment, as well.

That is a summary of my initial dip into your world. Other than I have always thought that reefers were the most god-awful-ugly arrangement of componentry for servicing.:)


14-11-2001, 02:26 PM
Glad your meeting proved fruitfull.
In europe TK training in done in Brussls during the 1st quarter.
In UK the biggest dealer of TK equip is Marshall Thermoking.
We do our own enginer in-house training and a more customer 'orientated' version.

1. Yes traditionaly most enginners have diesel background HOWEVER these days in europe we just remove a lump and get a fresh one out of the box.
As a result we try to get engineers with a more autoelectrical background to cope with the controllers etc.

2. Our electronics are but extremely reliable when you consider their environment.

3. In the UK the fleet managers insist on reduced downtime, as a result the vast majority of work it carried out on site, they could be on truck-stop, at a customers site or even at a delivery site.
Most units upon return to base are reloaded ready for despatch so out of hours breakdown (24/7) is a prerequisite.

On the SAT/GPS/GSM issue this area is highly specialised, in UK the tech is just taking shape.

As for Carrier support, all I can say is the UK dealer network for both Carrier and TK have a BIG problem supporting each other.

You think they are ugly, you should have seen them 10years ago.

16-11-2001, 01:30 AM

When you mentioned "downtime" I recalled a phrase that the TK fellow mentioned that didn't quite strike home when he said it. He mentioned that TK requires at least one uptime truck with each dealer. Did I hear this right, and can you elucidate? All my real thinking happens either when I am driving away, somebody else is flying home, or when I hear somebody say "Dan should know the answer.":)

16-11-2001, 10:44 AM
our reference to downtime would include service shedules, breakdowns, mods and reworks.

I can only assume their reference to 'uptime truck' incidates a mobile repair facility.
as I mensioned ealier, in the UK we operate mobile repair 24/7, because of the shear distances in the US etc, I believe they insist the Reefer in brought to the shop for repair/service.

09-06-2002, 11:16 PM
DAN is the man:

Havinmg worked on 3 different Supermarkets here in Central Oklahoma and the owners always wanting to "save money put in this compressor" same size hjas the old one then continual breakdowns... And Yes Im the one respondsible. I put it in. All the owners did was furnish it. I'm supposed to be the expert. The case had this and that and the compressor that it was on, worked fine for 6 years. SO when the compressor finalyy went out the 4 time and I pointed out the cylender walls were pitted and the refrigerant was equalizing back through the compressor then on a start up pumped out the oil and then locking up It was, my fault. The compressor rebuilder says it was from slugging. (These rusty pits couldnt have been from slugging, only from the compressor sitting open to the weather before it was haphazzardly repaired).

The supermarket owner bought the compressor from a rebuilder "OWENS HERMETIC" in OKC. And when I saw this I finally decideed to take it to the local Copeland WholeSalers and have them send it in for detailed teardown. HUH, Then the local wholesaler rep tells me it wasnt marked for teardown and was just sent back in. I really feel like the rep (who was getting his engineering degree, and was hoping for a placement with Copeland) did this on pourpose. Yea U might think the Prima Donna's are the super market Techs and may very well be. But I tell ya this DAN is right on the nail head when he says they have the most challenging area of our industry to work in.

In the 1st place they dont usually get to work on new equipment. They dont have wire diagrams, or piping diagrams has all these were lost or filed away 10 to 30 years ago when the store was built. The amount of things and owners between the time a mechanic arrives to address a problem and the origonal installatiuon is more closely associated with the square of pi.

These fellows work often long hours and under some of the dirtiest conditions and then have to put up with penny pinching owners that only know the very basics and that "it worked ever since it was put in like it is now, why change anything? It'll cost too much!"

HAs far has engineering goes if ya want to work with numbers and be a part time accountant enginmeering is where its happening. In some ways manufacturing companys are scared to let anyone have power or control over the production or development of a new idea unless he had a few letters behind his name, I can see the need for this. After all they have a board of directors to answer to. So if you aspire to do and learn more, I can only suggest this; be has specific has you can about what you want. Evaluate your education and skills and ask your peers for an evaluation of the same. You might even give them a "form you designed" to ask specific questions. This is part of yourt fact - managment finding mission. Dont be offended if you ask and dont like what they say. If everythinmg you hear is good and your just fine, someone is holding out on you. I preface on a survey form that frees up the truth may help. Especially if it contains the real reasons your wanting to know these answers. Change is not going to come to those who have all the right sklills and education, cause they dont need it.

Im still learning. Since 1978. And this forum only helps me to realize I have even futher to go than I thought.:D

10-07-2004, 08:11 PM
Most companies have their prima-donna's but is there a scale of progression . Do all ac techs aspire to be industrial engineers, and for example, why do supermarket engineers presume they are at the pinnacle of their chosen field.

So what fields are at the top and bottom rungs of the ladder. :)

For me, success is to walk a way from a broken unit having repaired it and understanding what the problem was.

I cannot see what the pinnicale is as it it so varied, I suppose it must be to be a good listener to both people and systems and be happy with being competant at your chosen proffession

10-07-2004, 08:43 PM
For me, success is to walk a way from a broken unit having repaired it and understanding what the problem was.

Amen to that. Add to that, walking away from a problem that is many years old and repairing it and knowing that you did because you finally understood the root cause.

I cannot see what the pinnicale is as it it so varied, I suppose it must be to be a good listener to both people and systems and be happy with being competant at your chosen proffession

Listening to both people and systems is a nice way to put it. The technicians who make the best repairs are usually the technicians who communicate often to the office, the customers and their co-workers. And who hear the odd sound and search for the odd temperature.

10-07-2004, 09:11 PM
I have only been in the trade for 5-6years, one thing it does teach you is modesty.
Many times I have gone to a job, thought I new what the problem was, confidently carried out the repair, (sometimes a cost to the customer), only to find that wasn't the problem in the first place. Do this a few times, it soon puts you in your place.

I have to remind myself, "its only a machine".
I work in a major teaching hospital; I like to think of systems as patients, sounds a litle odd, let me explain:

If its so ill it cannot talk, it has a real problem that needs to be diagnosed;

no movement: lack of power. Why?

Low on energy: Short of fridge. How?

physical, emotional breakdown: high/low temp tripped

If we went to the doctors and he gave us to asprin without diagnosing the reason for our illness, we can become very ill, could even be fatal if the right treatment not given.

Maybe I have breathed in to much fridge or have lost the plot, but it seems to keep me in a job!!!!

11-07-2004, 07:02 PM
I work in a major teaching hospital; I like to think of systems as patients, sounds a litle odd, let me explain:

That's Ok so long as you don't give any of your patients any OXYGEN :p

11-07-2004, 07:28 PM
The patient can talk. You just have to learn the language. It will tell you exactly what is wrong.

30-09-2004, 01:37 AM
Okay lets see how this works. 1 British Pound = 1.75 US Dollar. An average refrigeration technician (engineer) will make approx. 20-30 US Dollars per hour.

This is of course based on where you live. Rural areas make less. Big Cities make more.
It does of course cost more to live in a city. I expect this rate to skyrocket in the next couple of years because young people are not getting into the trade. The demand for what we do is getting greater.

Based on the above exchange rate how are the wages in England for refrigeration people?

30-09-2004, 10:50 PM
Some pay rates from this periods Service Engineer in the UK taken from job adverts; sorry all in GBP, (my calculator's broke!)
AC/Fridge 18-24K pa
Fridge Pack 10-12 per hour
Supermarket 9.50 - 10.70 per hour
Mobile AC service 22-25K pa

Not too exciting, is it ? :(

01-10-2004, 06:47 PM
Some pay rates from this periods Service Engineer in the UK taken from job adverts; sorry all in GBP, (my calculator's broke!)
AC/Fridge 18-24K pa
Fridge Pack 10-12 per hour
Supermarket 9.50 - 10.70 per hour
Mobile AC service 22-25K pa

Not too exciting, is it ? :(

So 30 US would be around 17 Pounds. So we are in the same ball park. As long as we have enough money for a beer at the end of the day! :)

01-10-2004, 08:50 PM
Hi Bencool.

It is difficult to compare cause the cost of living and cost of parts plays an important roll here.

On a certain project, you can make more money then a big company cause you have less expenses.

A one man show (J.A.) can make even more by using sub contractors and doing other jobs meanwhile.

I charge 150NIS to 200NIS which is $33 to $44 an hour +Km.
No other expenses so at the end of the day I have left in my hand more then a big company doing the same job.

But a litre of diesel costs me only 2.8NIS which is $0.625.

In Europe it will be a lot more but the price of the vans is lower.
Imposible to calculate but whats important, at least for me, is that I love what I'm doing! :)

01-10-2004, 11:24 PM
whats important, at least for me, is that I love what I'm doing! :)

when you love something..............everything else is just........Insignificant

03-10-2005, 02:17 PM
Hi Guys,
If theres one thing I've learned over the past number of years is that there's always more to learn. Just when you think yor getting a grip on it something new pops up.
As the old saying goes "every day is a school day"

I've met guys with an inflated opinion of themselves in the past and observed the following the more these people think of themselves the less they know.

At the end of the day were all trying to make a living who cares if your working on splits or a space ship
Be the best you can be and help those less fortunate than you. in other words

Shut the **** up and get on with it.

If someone wants to assume there better than the rest of us just because they work on a particular plant or kit type thats there problem.


03-10-2005, 05:18 PM
let me put my 2 cents in and it is 2 cents:) i work for a international hotel chain with a hotel in Jamaica the Caribbean as an a/c refrigeration engineer, thats the title they have given me and my pay works out to about 4 US dollars an hour, 2 pounds Uk anyone can beat that:D
i do maintenace,break downs and instalations,the hotel has 16 walk-in coolers and freezers 428 rooms chill water system that cools the rooms and their ballrooms, 3 trane chillers not to mention the outdoor containers and the undrecounter units in the 3 kitchens and on top of that i am expected to assist the kitchen engineer,the plummer and any one else that may need help from time to time,note just me but all engineers are required to do same,sounds like fun,right!

03-10-2005, 06:29 PM
I don't know about your laws, but in both Texas and Oklahoma, in order to use the name engineer in your title you must (1) be a graduate of an accredited engineering school and (2) also passed the two exams to be a registered professional engineer. You are subject to heavy fines if you pass yourself off as an engineer and not registered as such. So there is a distinction between engineers and technicians.


03-10-2005, 06:42 PM
So there is a distinction between engineers and technicians.

There is no distinction and no law to back it up in the UK.

What you call a technician is frequently referred to as an 'Engineer' in this contry. Consequently the term is somewhat debased.

justin bieber fans (http://justinbieberfan.info/)

03-10-2005, 07:40 PM
In the UK you can call yourself a Lord Mayor if you like.....

a railway line tapper is a sonic engineer......... for instance

Yes, we love all these posh sounding titles........

Im thinking of a nice title for myself..........Im bored with calling myself "just" an engineer, in reality Im a Mechanic.........Yurghhhhhhhh

On my business card I call myself Consultant Engineer...


I just love all the attention!!:) :) :)

03-10-2005, 07:45 PM
How come we can suddenly see the age of the poster?


03-10-2005, 07:46 PM
On my business card I call myself Consultant Engineer...
Careful Abe - your head might swell :D

04-10-2005, 02:03 AM
In Texas, the Texas Professional Engineering Act (a state statute) defines what you have to do to be called an Engineer. They police this and do invistigate members complaints. A quarterly newsletter is published and list violators of the ACT and the amount of the fine. For improper use of the term engineer, the fine ranges from $2,000.00 US to $10,000.00 US. If your firm provides an engineering service to the public, you have to register the firm with the state as well as have a Texas registered engineer actively involved in the design.

I know that Carrier, York and Trane have all been called on the carpet for using the terms Sales Engineer or Service Engineer. The first time thay are given a verbal notice and after that a monetary fine.

There are a lot of registered engineers that I consider a joke to the profession. With 5 years of college in mechanical engineering, heat transfer and thermodnamics, several years working in service, project management, manufacturing and sales, along with passing two grueling 8 hour professional engineer exams, I have earned the right to be called an engineer.

I whole heartly support the separation of the term engineer for those actively working as engineers and have the proper qualifications.

I do not mean or intend to tick-off the qualified technicians. I depend heavily on our technicians for the day-to-day items in the working of the equipment just as they depend on me for the detailed design of the components and system.


17-07-2006, 06:39 PM
The same thing occurs in the ammonia refrigeration side of things, but we all learn to deal with everyones personality flaws as it pretains to the job