It was a chance enquiry some four years ago that provided the springboard for TQ Environmental to establish a significant foothold in the air conditioning refrigerant leak detection market.
Gary Hall, managing director of the Wakefield-based business, recalls: “A business contact got in touch and said they were having issues with their existing product and they were looking for an alternative to what was out there.’’
Part of the problem for the customer was that the sensor could be triggered by hairspray or deodorants, a particular concern for systems in hotels.
How it works
The TQ31 is designed as a single point, self-contained unit but can be connected to a TQ32 area alarm panel, below, which enables group monitoring of individual rooms for common refrigerants used in air conditioning systems or CO2 build up. Resistant to cross-sensitivity from hairspray and deodorants so can be used in hotel or office applications. A single alarm panel will typically monitor one or two floors depending on the number of sensor needed. The 3-digit LED display shows individual room numbers. Configurable alarm outputs can provide plant trip signals and alert the reception desk, via an optional TQ35 indicator panel or third party alarm.
As a result of that initial query the TQ31 was developed and launched with a timed delay to offset the aerosol issue. More than 3,000 units were sold last year, with installations in hotels, offices and high-end residential developments.
TQ was not a newcomer to the air conditioning sector, having previously won orders through the TQ4200 infra-red system which is also suitable for some refrigeration applications, but it accounted for a small part of the business five years ago and there is no doubt the arrival of the TQ31 opened up new opportunities.
Gary Hall explained: “We were always viewed as a high-end manufacturer, probably because of our involvement in marine monitoring systems and industrial refrigeration. We could offer a solution before but the cost of a sampling system meant people were not always prepared to pay for it. With the TQ31, we wanted the best possible product for a lower cost. We have definitely been pleasantly surprised with the way things have gone, particularly as the TQ31 is R32-ready.’’
TQ is ISO 9001 certified, the international standard for quality management systems. It guarantees 100% traceability and the company believes that a large part of the success of the TQ31 stems from the fact that it is designed and manufactured in the UK.
The company is very proud of the level of testing and quality standards for every unit that leaves its HQ, just minutes from the M1. TQ moved to its current home just over two years ago and the workforce of 18 is made up of seven production staff, four service engineers, one R&D engineer, two accounts staff and two directors.
They are joined by the sales team of Mark Scott, who has been with the business since 2016, and Gary Allen, who joined from Parasense in May this year.
An impressive training room hosts one of Fujitsu’s regional training academies and also enables TQ to stage events such as the recent IOR Cool Talk, which attracted around 50 delegates.
“The move has worked out really well for us,’’ Gary Hall said. “It’s a much better fit for the business.’’