Time for return to planned maintenance


03 November 2021
A BITZER reciprocating compressor during reassembly

Refrigeration contractors and end users are being urged to re-establish regular planned maintenance and servicing of equipment.

Green Point UK, BITZER UK’s compressor remanufacturing and support arm, says a dramatic reduction in routine maintenance during the extended lockdowns is causing a spike in refrigeration compressor breakdowns.

General manager Will Pribyl said: “A lot of planned, routine maintenance that would normally have been carried out during the lockdowns was suspended, for perfectly understandable reasons. However, refrigeration equipment continued to operate throughout this time and was subject to all the usual wear and tear, with the inevitable consequences for components, wear parts and impact on filters and motors.

“We are already seeing the results of this in terms of compressor failures and system issues. If people have not already done so, we highly recommend that contractors and end users reinstate maintenance regimes so that any issues can be addressed and equipment brought back up to scratch.”

A key part of routine maintenance for multi-pack systems includes planned rotation of compressors. The issue particularly affects packs with relatively simple control systems whose default run sequence results in extended running hours for certain compressors, while other units remain underused or even idle for extended periods.

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It is also an issue where secondary compressors are repeatedly brought into service for short periods to support the primary compressor when additional capacity is required. Such on-off cycling over time causes stress to motors, which can result in overheating and, in the extreme cases, complete burn-out.

Pribyl added: “On many multi-compressor packs, a small number of compressors often end up doing much of the work due to the run sequencing control and load profile. This is obviously not ideal and invites trouble. Add to this the cut-back in routine maintenance during the pandemic, and it creates a serious source of stress and risk for refrigeration systems.

“It is a lot less expensive to rotate compressors, removing worn units and remanufacturing and replacing them on a planned basis, rather than waiting for the pack to break down and having to replace the failed unit in an emergency.”

Green Point operates a planned compressor rotation service for multi-compressor packs as part of its support for contractors, ensuring plant remains operational and continues to perform efficiently. The approach is aimed particularly at business critical areas such as the food and drink industry, data centre cooling, and high value process applications such as pharmaceuticals and the chemical, oil and gas industries.

“The ideal rotation interval will depend on the operating conditions and running hours for the pack. However, we can advise contractors so they can in turn formulate a sensible rotation programme for their end user customer,” Pribyl said.
“As the work is planned, we make sure all necessary replacement components are in stock, so turn-around is as fast as possible, usually just a couple of days. However, as the outgoing compressor is removed on site, a like-for-like replacement is immediately installed, so downtime is minimised and system capacity remains unaffected.”

For more details, contact Will Pribyl at Green Point UK on +44 (0)1908 622125, or email [email protected]