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  1. #1
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    Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking



    Hi all, newbie here! Hopefully have this in the correct subforum!

    I run a (small) ice cream business, making ice cream rolls using cold plates from a manufacturer in China (yep, I know what you're thinking, cheap parts and will break easily!).

    To get an idea of what the unit does, have a google of ice cream rolls. I don't want to link to the machines themselves on Alibaba, as it'll look like I'm advertising! Essentially its a refrigeration unit which cools a cold plate down to about -20 centigrade.

    I knew similar people had issues with their machines breaking down, I believe most of them had leaking refrigerant. A know one company had 20 machines break down the day they arrived! 3 more companies in London had their machines break at some point. I wanted to try and avoid this, and assumed making it explicitly clear to the manufacturer that I didn't want this to happen to me would be enough! I requested an upgraded compressor and bigger fan condenser unit would be enough too.

    You guessed it, my machine has broken down too! After only using it less than a dozen times!

    I know the machine gets a bit of a bashing about as it gets transported to locations, so it moves around a bit and sits in a back of a van. I also know that China is synonymous with cheaply built stuff.

    Unfortunately there is honestly no one in the UK, or Europe for that matter, who build these machines! So I'm stuck with buying from China at the moment.

    Do any of you have any suggestions about what I can ask the manufacturer to do to hopefully avoid this happening more often? Such us, are the Chinese known for avoiding using good parts in specific areas (not just the whole machine!), such as joint, gauges or whatever?

    I know I'm taking a risk buying from there, but with nowhere else to buy from at the moment, I have no choice. I want to do my best to reduce risk the most, and giving specific instructions is the best I can do for now I believe!

    Thanks for any help, appreciate it!



  2. #2
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    Welcome to the forum.
    Let me explain something about the Chinese industry. They haven't invented anything, they only copy other products from around the world. They produce in big nass, low quality products and the low price is tempting people to buy and after a short while it breaks and then the same people are looking for a local product but.... the factory had closed down because of cheap stuff from china flooding our markets.

    This machine was copied from a European manufacturer, most probably Italian, don't give up and find someone who makes them. one of the thing that shuts down small businesses is repairing costs and shutdown time, can you afford it?

  3. #3
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    Honestly, I spoke to a business owner who renovates vintage vehicles for food trucks, he's spent years in the industry and is used to sourcing machinery for all sorts of types of food. He went to Italy and he couldn't find anyone who manufactured this item! The Italians wouldn't have made this ice cream machine as they use more traditional methods, you won't find this concept there!

    I know the machines are commonly known as 'Thai Fry Ice Cream' machines, meaning that at least they originate from SE Asia. I know a few people who have tried to source within Europe, but to no avail, and I'm sure they'd be better at it than me!

    One more question, if refrigeration equipment is shipped by air, is it more likely to break down due to the lower pressure at high altitude? I was just thinking as all my competitors had their machine arrive DOA, whereas mine was fine (at first!)

  4. #4
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    Andy,
    Without knowing what part of system breaks down, it's hard for anyone to give advice.
    I could only suggest someone with good knowledge inspects it.
    Maybe it's just a bit of fine tuning or something.

  5. #5
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    .

    In general the fridge is a set of complex parts, under pressure
    and wanting to vibrate loose. So well built machines will have
    the correct components (like you asked for) but they will prevent
    them from moving and vibrating. A well built machine will clamp
    all the pipes and loose bits, it will seal everything in tar like tape
    and it will use rubbers as mounts.

    If the system works as it should then make sure there are no loose
    pipes, fittings, hoses, electrics than can bounce, vibrate or move
    in transit.

    It might be worth (once repaired) getting it looked at by someone who
    can ensure it is transportable proof (or as near as possible) and then
    when it is transported always make sure it is well secured and strapped
    down to reduce the risk of vibration and damage.

    Rob

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  6. #6
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    Hi Andy,

    What was breaking in the machines - any idea?

  7. #7
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    Not sure what was breaking, I should be having an engineer fix it at the end of this week or next week. All I know is that everyone had refrigerant leaking from somewhere!

    Attached is a photo the manufacturer sent me, using it to relax my fears by saying that they have 'upgraded' their pipe work! It looks no different to what I had before, and clear that its not clamped down and easy to vibrate etc. WhatsApp Image 2016-09-28 at 11.16.17.jpeg

    I'll get back to you guys once the engineer has repaired it and see what he says!
    Thanks again!

  8. #8
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    Brian_UK is online now Moderator I am starting to push the Mods: of RE Site Moderator : and general nice guy
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    What atrocious pipework, is that as close in line as they can get looking at the righthand joint.
    Brian - Newton Abbot, Devon, UK
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  9. #9
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    That one is particulary bad isn't it! This is their 'upgraded' pipework!

  10. #10
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    .

    Ok so I count at least eight weak points and I would
    tie-rap together with rubber between to prevent vibration.

    The joint on the right is a beauty, I'll agree

    Get somebody who knows what they are looking at to
    tidy that lot up and what can't we see...........?????

    Regards

    Rob

    .
    .. ... -. .----. - / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . / --. --- --- -..

  11. #11
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    Re: Refrigeration unit from China - Cold plate for ice cream rolls: keeps leaking

    Hi folks, thought I'd just give you an update:

    Had an engineer look at the machine. He tested the pressure and said it was fine, and believed that there wasn't a leak. The machine still didn't give an even spread of coldness across the pan however still, but he believed that the machine was working fine.

    He agreed that the build quality wasn't great. I asked him if there was anywhere in the UK/EU which does bespoke made machines and he suggest Holmes Group in the UK, who I've already emailed.

    He also said Carrier has a good reputation, so I'll be contacting them too. If you guys have any more suggestions please let me know, it'll be appreciated!

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