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  • Who would be a refrigeration engineer?

    By Tony Deith

    What kind of person do you have to be to become a refrigeration engineer? Do you have to be extremely clever or in some cases extremely stupid? Have you ever come across a particular problem or customer and think, why am I doing this?

    Being a refrigeration engineer requires many different personalities or hats in order to be able to go about your job with as little hassle as possible. The first hat required is that of a dogs-body, this is worn when we first become trainees. However, this will change later to the hat of a human being once it is realised that we can now perform certain tasks, such as clean condensers and change the odd fan motor. Eventually we progress to that of human being with a personality that can perform a wider range of tasks, such as 24hr call and sometimes the odd first fix. Then comes the scary part - out on your own and without back up. When this stage is reached you have become an engineer (or you think you are.)

    You are now out on your own and have a van (that is what it says in the logbook) and a set of tools, but use the term TOOLS lightly. The calls are now flooding in - literally, as most of them are water leaks, this is when you don the hat of a plumber and are now the face of the company in the customers eyes and always will be. As your confidence grows you, begin to feel that you can fix anything, but in reality, half the service department is following behind you and you are affectionately known as the rubber ball as everything you hit bounces. This will disappear over the next year and you will receive the title of engineer who is all right - especially when he covers my 24hr callout. At this point, you empty out all the hats from the bag and put them on at the same time, very fetching.

    These hats cover a multitude of sins, firstly the communication hat that is used when bull****ing, I mean explaining to the customer what the problem is or when having a good moan about the job, as if we do that. The next hat is that of diplomat especially as you are the fifth engineer to attend the same problem this week (reference-rubber ball) and the customer is rather upset. Also, reference communication. The majority of engineers are blessed with common sense and some are not. But we are not all perfect, we all have our weaknesses and strengths whether it be in the mechanical or electrical hats that we wear when performing the role of refrigeration engineer, some people wear these hats well, some not so well and some not at all. Some people claim to have these particular hats, but nobody has ever seen them.

    Everybody wears their hats differently and in their own style, which shows through in their personalities. Refrigeration engineers are a breed of their own who thrives on overtime and gossip, the juicer the better if you ask me. Over the last few years, good engineers are thin on the ground and less skilled personnel are tagging themselves as refrigeration engineers. That is not to say that not every body who comes into this trade from another trade makes the grade, but a few give the trade a bad name. Now that ACRIB are more involved and the trade is now better regulated the standard of apprentice to engineer should become better.

    Tony Deith
    Comments 72 Comments
    1. santana's Avatar
      santana -
      Quote Originally Posted by WebRam View Post
      This is great. Nice and informative links buddy. Thank you for sharing them.
    1. wilko123's Avatar
      wilko123 -
      Want a job

      Quote Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
      As I had noted, there are many graduate and registered engineers that are a joke and I am not proud to be in the same classification. I fully agree that any degreed engineer needs to spend some time in the field and shop and actually get dirty. Book learing does not begin to cover the education needed to become a real refrigeration enegineer. There is very little in printed books in the college level that you can learn industrial refrigeration from. You can learn the theory and then, you need to get to work.

      In our introduction to engineering course, an old professor that had also worked in indusrty, told us that when we graduate with an engineering degree, we were not yet engineers. In the 4 or 5 years we spent in college, they had given us the tools to become an engineer. It was up to us to take those tools and become engineers.

      I have spent many a day, week and months in the field on installations, start ups and trouble shooting industrial systems as large as 8500 HP and asl low as -106 deg F ET. I can start with a clena sheeet of paper and design th eplant from the ground up. Or I can go into an existing plant and redesign it for another applicaton. Or I can trouble shoot a system that is not performing to expectitation.

      It has taken 5 years of mechanical engineering college and 41 years in the industry to get to that point and I am still learing about the systems and how they behave.

      But I do not feel that a technician has earned the title of engineer and I resent a technician calling himself an engineer. Engineers and technicains are two differenet jobs and two different sets of education and training. They have to work together nad help each other.

    1. anglajudy's Avatar
      anglajudy -
      This is judy from china we manufacture polyurethane foam panel(thickness 50/75/100/150/200mm)fire rating: B2
      We also offer cold room doors. such as: sliding doors. selfclosing doors, manual sliding doors, Half-buried doors and so on. stainless steel frozen shelf, trays, work table, conveying line, handwashing trough, meat trolley cart and so on
      web: www.sdhuayu.com.cn
      Email: judy.angle88@huayumachine.com
      skype: judy401401
      MSN: judy.angle88@hotmail.com
      MOb: 008615224364350
      TEl: 0086-543-2962678
    1. Lastguest's Avatar
      Lastguest -
      I have been in this game now for49 yrs and love it from Methyl Chloride, Ammonia, sulphur Dioxide etc etc. It has been very good to me and my family and probably do it again

      You got to be a bit crazy but it is the most underated and toughest of trades to learn eternally learn I should say and yes we are a strange breed. Well we used to be but the training is just not there any more. Pipe men and parts changers now

      Also the old guys always liked good beer..

      Respect to all

    1. Lastguest's Avatar
      Lastguest -
      I forgot to mention I am a Refrigeration Engineer not a Technician n never will be.

      Without engineers you got Zilch


      The moving finger writes & leaves a broken fingernail behind!
    1. femalerotor's Avatar
      femalerotor -
      Good training IS scarce indeed
    1. GMeale's Avatar
      GMeale -
      Indeed I worked for such a company in OH that was forced to change its name due to the word "engineering" being on the company name without a state licensed engineer on the staff.

      Quote Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
      In many states in the USA, you cannot use the term "Engineer" in your title or perform engineering work unless you are registered in the state as a licensed professional engineer. In addition to the engineering degree and PE license, I have spent many a day in the field on start up and trouble shooting as well as in the shop designing and building the systems.

      I have met and worked with many "engineers" that I am ashamed to admit that they are in the same profession that I am in. I have also met many great refrigeration technicians that I find a lot of pleasure working with and learned a lot from them in the field. Then there are the ones that have little basic knowledge of the profession and are classified as parts changers.

      I am very fortunate that I have had the opportunity to work with some of the truly great refrigeration technicians in this country.

      The P.E. license is much like being a CPA or a lawyer. You cannot sell your services or use the term in conjunction with your name unless you have passed the appropriate exams.

      All I am pointing out is that the title engineer needs to be respected. I do not pass myself off as a technician in the field as, I have not taken the class A, B or C certification in the state to be a refrigeration technician.
    1. Iced-T's Avatar
      Iced-T -
      I have been working as a engineer (Degree holder) in one of the Industrial compressor manufacturing companies for 3 years now (I work for Refrigeration as well as chemical plant projects) .... from what i have learnt, it is crucial for an engineer to actually get down and dirty so that when he is designing a system he is able to provide enough service allowance for the techs to do there work and maintenance.... the only way to learn this trade is through hands on experience. The books and software can only take you so far.
    1. TomN's Avatar
      TomN -
      Refrigeration Engineer should be reserved to name refrigeration Professional Engineers who design and invent complex refrigeration systems. Refrigeration Specialist should be reserved to name Refrigeration Technicians and Mechanics who are subject mater experts in the construction, troubleshooting and maintenance of complex refrigeration systems.
    1. MikeHolm's Avatar
      MikeHolm -
      Quote Originally Posted by TomN View Post
      Refrigeration Engineer should be reserved to name refrigeration Professional Engineers who design and invent complex refrigeration systems. Refrigeration Specialist should be reserved to name Refrigeration Technicians and Mechanics who are subject mater experts in the construction, troubleshooting and maintenance of complex refrigeration systems.
      Not in the UK where "engineer" also means technician or mechanic over here. Doubt they will change, haha.
    1. aabbcc's Avatar
      aabbcc -
      Just My 2 Cents..
      I have tried and read all the posts...

      ALL have right and wrongs. All thread has evolved in strict lines or should I said strict boundaries.
      I mean every one is calculating and measuring from its point of view and from there to there... FINISH

      Well The theory of relativity explained else... so everything is relative or not relative.

      The reason is that the one with Degree eventually tought the systems and training FROM PEOPLE without DEGREE, where just applied the tech - handy knowledge for many years.

      You see Refrigeration Science is very young... You all speak for CARNOTT and all are aware... (Even I am pretty sure no one has read his biography - anyway this is out of subject )

      So our science is let's say 70~80 years old??? OK... Now will come some people and say back in 1850 or less someone Jacob Perkins made this... ANd the other...

      So Even This Jacob was not a REFRIGERATION ENGINEER... Maybe a physicist maybe nothing....

      In fact what actually was LEONARDO??? NOT Di Caprio... DA VINCI... Was he an engineer a technician a DOC?
      And was he a certified engineer???

      same in nowadays... THE NEWBEES learn from the OLDERS... And NEWBEES after a while getting older.
      Who made the egg.. The chicken? and who made the chicken.. The egg.

      Technology advances day by day... Theory changes ...

      What is worth... Every one with a degree or a good technician can give solution to the problem...
      Same a not so good engineering or certified or MsC will give sitty result... Same with a common mediums technician will give sitty result..


      Do not get stuck .... Best is to have the theory and NOT afraid to dirty your hands AND MOSTLY ...

      DISPUTE THE BOOKS AND THEORY YOU LEARN... Go other way and prove what you learned.

      This is that takes us to the next level... And this is how patents and innovation works.

      -3rd generation in Refrigeration systems.
      -Owner of a wall full of degrees.
      -Owner of a well known manufacturing company of refrigeration systems.

      -Still an apprentice and always looking for optimization...
      -Still am learning from elders... Can't just beat that...

      Without feelings to hurt any one or disagree... Just my 2 cents..

      Unfortunatelly is not like that
    1. Refcol's Avatar
      Refcol -
      Some people suffer what I call "Title snobbery" in any work environment! I work for a refrigeration company and I work on domestic units through to small industrial, AC in vehicles, domestic and commercial... heatpumps, De humidifiers water chillers and everything in between...I learn everyday but know little as there is too much information retain for one person, even the most passionate. Like many I started my working life as something else (auto Mechanic) and got into the trade through need of work, working in a manufacturing of bottle coolers, working my way up from shop floor to R&D project manager...I have worked with so called skilled and unskilled along the way. I have learnt off them all.. But I dont like labels and dont class myself as an Engineer.
      Rant over!
      That's my CV done...any Jobs out there..lol
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