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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. zeeshan's Avatar
      zeeshan -
      Hi every one,

      Im zeeshan here i have a problem of motor current alarming in reciprocating york chiller water cooled
      so please let me know its solution.
    1. monkey spanners's Avatar
      monkey spanners -
      Quote Originally Posted by zeeshan View Post
      Hi every one,

      Im zeeshan here i have a problem of motor current alarming in reciprocating york chiller water cooled
      so please let me know its solution.
      Hi Zeeshan,

      Can you give a better description of the system, model numbers etc, and as much information about the fault as you can.

      Jon
    1. TXiceman's Avatar
      TXiceman -
      I have been working in the large industrial refrigeration are since 1970. It is a good way to earn a decent living for those that can think.

      There are true systems technicians and then there are the ones that are classified as parts changers.

      Only so much information is published and the rest is self taught. you have to get out and work with the various types of equipment.

      I am a registered (professional engineer) mechanical engineer and get really tired of technicians being refereed to as engineers. I am sorry, they did not attend college for 4 plus years, practice engineering under direction of a registered engineer and pass two 8 hour engineering exams. So lets call technicians technicians and let the ones that earn the privilege of being called an engineer be called an engineer.

      Ken
    1. zeeshan's Avatar
      zeeshan -
      Quote Originally Posted by zeeshan View Post
      Hi every one,

      Im zeeshan here i have a problem of motor current alarming in reciprocating york chiller water cooled
      so please let me know its solution.
      Hi jon,
      Here below i m giving u detail of the york chiller system:
      1- Model # YCWJ78TT-50 PE.
      2- Manufacture : YORK
      3- Alerming on screen Motor current fault.

      I m waiting for ur reply soon


      With Thanks & Best Regards
      Zeeshan
    1. Nh34life's Avatar
      Nh34life -
      Quote Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
      I have been working in the large industrial refrigeration are since 1970. It is a good way to earn a decent living for those that can think.

      There are true systems technicians and then there are the ones that are classified as parts changers.

      Only so much information is published and the rest is self taught. you have to get out and work with the various types of equipment.

      I am a registered (professional engineer) mechanical engineer and get really tired of technicians being refereed to as engineers. I am sorry, they did not attend college for 4 plus years, practice engineering under direction of a registered engineer and pass two 8 hour engineering exams. So lets call technicians technicians and let the ones that earn the privilege of being called an engineer be called an engineer.

      Ken
      Hey ken I would like to aggree with you on some aspects, there are very few engineers in this trade but often they get to hold the un deserved title of "Refrigeration engineer" expecially in this country (NZ) I would prefer if they were called techs or mechanics as unless you have the passion and drive to understand as much as your little mind can handle your title of en-gen-ious cannot stick. I live and breathe this Tradefor 14 years I didnot go to university but Ammonia drives me crazy and cant get enough of the sound of 1mw machinary ramping up to full capacity, im inovitive and can make split second life threating decisions at the drop of a hat, that is an engineer. I dont neeed to listen to a lecture for 4 years to earn that respect, I get that from my peers.
      Being Honest and admiting to what you do not comprehand is the only way to move forward both in the people learning and for the person who is explaining a thermodynamic princable to a simplified proceedure,
      I have Watched this forum for many years and respect your opinoin very highly as you are saddly one of very few True engineers in this forum, Keep mup the support so more people can be inspired to excell in this demanding Trade
    1. fridge2195's Avatar
      fridge2195 -
      I started April, 1971 and yes attended college for all those years. I had to do electrical engineering in addition to Refrigeration. Oh such distant memories of a bygone era.
    1. monkey spanners's Avatar
      monkey spanners -
      Quote Originally Posted by zeeshan View Post
      Hi jon,
      Here below i m giving u detail of the york chiller system:
      1- Model # YCWJ78TT-50 PE.
      2- Manufacture : YORK
      3- Alerming on screen Motor current fault.

      I m waiting for ur reply soon


      With Thanks & Best Regards
      Zeeshan
      To get your question read by people who may be able to help, you need to post it as a new question and not on one already started by someone else, start a new thread in the industrial section stating what the system is and a good explanation of the fault.

      I don't work on systems that size so can be of little help to you.

      Jon
    1. zeeshan's Avatar
      zeeshan -
      Hi ,
      Here below i m giving u detail of the york chiller system:
      1- Model # YCWJ78TT-50 PE.
      2- Manufacturer : YORK Chiller water cooled system 170 ton
      3- Alarming on screen is: Motor current fault.

      Could any one give me solution of my this problem

      With Thanks & Best Regards
      Zeeshan
    1. TXiceman's Avatar
      TXiceman -
      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. icesav's Avatar
      icesav -
      Hi Been in the trade for 5 years. Done my 2079 and safe handling etc. Done industrial flame brazing. Changed hermetic compressors, fan motors, pumps, TEV, Sight glass, filter driers, evap coils. Etc etc. Trouble shoot a lot of AC problems and repair a lot of faulty refrigeration systems.

      Does this mean I am an engineer....... I would say NO does this make me good at my job Nope...........But I do it every day I try my best to learn and improve and I always do things by the book no cutting corners. I’m no engineer but as far as working with someone who has sat and read books for 4 years+ and someone who has worked in the field for 15 years, I would much rather work with the person with the 15 years field experience.

      A true engineer has TIME under his/her belt doing the job and getting their hands well and truly dirty. Refrigeration really can test you mentally physically and does come with a few hazards... I respect anyone with experience in their chosen field.

      There is a huge gap to span between knowing the BOOK and doing the job. I will do the job by the Book but it may take several different avenues to get to the point where you can start doing it by the book.

      What I know about this field is nothing but I try to learn something new every day. In refrigeration the attitude a person must have every day is that they may not know what the problem is but they have the tools and fundamentals to find out how to solve the problem.

      Just my opinion.
    1. sondavid75's Avatar
      sondavid75 -
      Dear every one !
      My customer had used GAS R142 for A/C . In present this gas can not buy in the market VietNam . i want to change R142 by another gas .Do you know this mater? Please help and send me . Thanks to your cooperation.
      Best regards
      Sondavid
    1. L4vK's Avatar
      L4vK -
      There is a line to be drawn between Technician and Engineers, thats for sure. But I think there is someone in between those 2 guys. I am still at school and I know witch of those three id rather be learning from !
    1. voltair's Avatar
      voltair -
      hi
      ICESAV you just hit the nail on the head. 'Huge gap between knowing the book and doing the job'.keep learning something new everyday
    1. TXiceman's Avatar
      TXiceman -
      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.

      Ken
    1. CAPTAINBIRDSEYE's Avatar
      CAPTAINBIRDSEYE -
      I guess a crazy fool would kinda sum what kind up lol
    1. TXiceman's Avatar
      TXiceman -
      CAPTAINBIRDSEYE - 05-04-2011, 12:50 PM I guess a crazy fool would kinda sum what kind up lol


      ????????

      Ken
    1. monkey spanners's Avatar
      monkey spanners -
      Quote Originally Posted by TXiceman View Post
      CAPTAINBIRDSEYE - 05-04-2011, 12:50 PM I guess a crazy fool would kinda sum what kind up lol


      ????????

      Ken
      Think its a reply to the original question of who would be a ref engineer.

      Reminded me of this!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbikMxihtoU

      Jon
    1. johnanthonyhome's Avatar
      johnanthonyhome -
      You have to be completely insane.
    1. joe magee's Avatar
      joe magee -
      You need both in this trade, Engineers and techs. We learn from each other. Very few engineers I work with could go in the field and do what I do. I could not sit behind a desk and crunch numbers and do what they do. I have the utmost respect for them and they for me. When problems occur in the field they look for feedback from me not just numbers but my experinced opinion. How many times have I gone on start ups pulled out the engineering sheets and laughed. By the time I get done the as builts don't come close to what they sent me. I never considered calling myself an engineer. Refer tech or mechanic is fine by me.
    1. Mark Selby's Avatar
      Mark Selby -
      I agree with TXIceman and could only add that a lil piece of paper dont make you a tech either
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