In the food and beverage sector, few processes are as time-critical as refrigeration. When cooling systems develop a fault, customers expect GEA Refrigeration to act fast – and always within their contractual response time of four hours. To provide an even faster service, and to be sure of keeping customer downtime to a minimum, GEA needed to get closer to its equipment and to its customers. GEA now fits Secomea remote-monitoring technology as standard with all service contracts, and provides its customers with a more responsive and more effective service package.
GEA Refrigeration is a global supplier of industrial refrigeration and heating systems with built-in sustainable-energy technologies. Its customers operate in a wide range of industries – primarily food, beverage, dairy, oil and gas – all of which require precise temperature control to maintain critical systems or protect perishable goods.
Stable temperatures are such a business-critical operational requirement, GEA’s customers have a standard four-hour response time built into their contracts. Maintaining such a fast and responsive level of service demands plenty of resources. For GEA Refrigeration’s UK operation, that means a service team of ten area managers and 64 engineers spread across the country. But could there be a way to make their workload easier and improve the quality of the service?
“SiteManager is a vital tool for helping our customers run their refrigeration systems more energy efficiently. By finding and fixing faults earlier, we keep our customers running at optimum efficiency. By fixing faults or errors remotely we’re also saving time and energy on service engineer visits. Most of all we’re providing a far better service – a time-critical, 24/7 support package offering comprehensive process control through our own GEA Omni control panels„
– Mike Henson, Service Director – GEA Refrigeration UK Ltd.
GEA Refrigeration UK realised that it needed to work smarter to make better use of its service team. And the easiest way to work smarter is to know more about each item of equipment that’s out in the field.
The company had already invested heavily in real-time and historical information through its GEA Omni control panel, a touch-screen command centre that helps users monitor and control an entire refrigeration system for greater energy efficiency. All GEA needed was an easy and secure way to access its control systems no matter where they’re located.
So GEA turned to Secomea’s remote-access solution and its top-of-the-range industrial IoT Gateway, the SiteManager 35xx series. SiteManager 35xx has the capacity to remotely accommodate just about any adjustments or changes that GEA might want to make to its GEA Omni control panels.
SiteManager and GEA Omni were a good fit. It was easy to set up SiteManager to connect GEA service engineers to remote refrigeration equipment. Remote access was such a simple and logical choice, GEA decided to include SiteManager as standard with all customer-service contracts in the UK. The technology helps GEA provide cradle-to-grave support for its heating and cooling equipment.
SiteManager has proved its worth. GEA now gives its customers the kind of full-lifecycle support they deserve. If a piece of equipment does develop a fault, GEA can instantly tell whether it’s the kind of fault that needs an engineer on site or one that can be rectified remotely. Or maybe monitored till the next routine service visit.
There’s more. From their remote-monitoring station, GEA can spot faults that are not yet visible onsite. This puts GEA ahead of the game; it can take measures to fix these issues before they become a problem. SiteManager enables vitally fast responses in a sector that typically suffers downtime losses of £15,000 an hour.
This kind of preventive maintenance also extends the life of GEA customers’ refrigeration plant and systems. They get more years of use out of their investment in refrigeration, underpinned by a comprehensive package of service support. The food and beverage sector, in particular, can be confident that chilled fresh food will stay chilled when they choose GEA systems.
GEA Refrigeration is one of the largest suppliers for food processing technology and of related industries. The global group specializes in machinery, plants, as well as process technology and components. GEA provides sustainable solutions for sophisticated production processes in diverse end-user markets and offers a comprehensive service portfolio.