Text Size
Friday, January 19, 2018

Season 2017/2018

 


 

 recent article from ACR magazine

NEWS ITEM -  BEWARE , F-Gas outlaws are getting caught

19 May 2014

 

Companies and individuals who carry out F-Gas work without the required accreditation or certification are being tracked down and compliance is being enforced, explains Steve Crocker of Refcom.

A small cowboy element can cause a disproportionately large amount of harm to our industry’s reputation and this is becoming evident in the increasingly robust enforcement of F-Gas regulations. Companies and individuals who fail to hold appropriate F-Gas certification or accreditation are not only being hunted down in growing numbers by the authorities, but are also being found out through customer complaints to Refcom about their work.

Refcom is the F-Gas certification body with which about 88 per cent of F-Gas certified companies are registered. In the same way that Refcom worked closely with Defra in setting up the F-Gas Company Certification scheme, now Refcom is liaising closely with the Environment Agency (EA) in its enforcement activities. Defra is still the policymaker but the EA is the policeman and Refcom is assisting with the investigative process.

Protecting commercial interests

All of this investigative and enforcement work is designed to help protect the commercial interests of the vast majority of companies that are complying with F-Gas regulations so that they don’t have to compete unfairly with businesses that are cutting corners. It is also to protect the industry’s professional reputation from being damaged by the small minority of installers and maintainers who flout the law and, of course, to help meet the objective of the F-Gas regulations thus safeguarding the environment from unnecessary leakages of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Some unscrupulous businesses are simply ignoring the F-Gas regulations and hoping that they’ll get away with it. They either have no certification at all, or they have previously obtained interim certification but didn’t bother to upgrade to the full certification, which became a legal requirement in July 2011. This corner cutting mentality invariably has other symptoms, such as second-rate work. Customer complaints about unsatisfactory work within the scope of the F-Gas rules – the installation, maintenance or servicing of stationary refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment containing or designed to contain F-Gas refrigerants – start an investigation process that can often lead to uncovering failures in F-Gas compliance.

This unlawful element is also found out because properly accredited companies in the same geographic area eventually hear about them and report them. Refcom and the Environment Agency receive and encourage such information feedback from law abiding certificated companies.

Logos but no validity

Other violators are being more devious, trying to get around the regulations in ways they hope will allow them to argue their compliance – these actions are being uncovered by our investigative work with the Environment Agency and help from our members. A common offence is hiring, on a sub-contractor basis, individuals who have F-gas qualifications and then send them to do the installation or servicing work on the company’s behalf. These companies then claim to be certificated and often display a certification body logo on their website or stationary.

For a business to hold a valid company certificate, it must directly employ its own engineers and not pay them as sub contractors. Through our work with the Environment Agency, Refcom logos are being removed from uncertified company websites and those contacted are now seeking their own company certificates or receive formal regulatory advice.

Certification theft

Other complaints have led to investigations that have unearthed even clumsier violations. In recent months, one particular company was found to be using another company’s valid Refcom company certification. In instances like this, the Environment Agency will work with its own local area officers to make direct contact or liaise with local authorities’ Trading Standards to ensure these companies become compliant if they wish to continue trading in the future.

The Environment Agency is made aware of unscrupulous companies identified by Refcom and our members and works to ensure compliance. Those companies that choose not to work with the Environment Agency receive legal notices requiring direct actions with given timescales and, as a final option, those that continue to offend will be prosecuted by the Environment Agency’s legal teams in the same way it enforces the waste industry.

Refcom knows the Environment Agency is methodically going through business registers, websites and chat rooms tracking down companies to ensure they have the appropriate certification. The Environment Agency is working with certification bodies and trade associations to investigate cases that arouse suspicion.

And Refcom is in contact with the EA on an almost daily basis, reporting its own findings and helping to support our certified companies. From about 800 companies that were failing to comply with F-Gas regulations in 2009, we’re now down to around 90. If you’re one of those, there’s a fair chance you’ll get caught.

Refcom logo

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 At our final meeting of the season on April 10th.  We were lead by our London Blue Badge Guide "Stan the man" around Notting Hill Gate area of London, the numbers of attendees were down this year but as ever it was an informative and enjoyable walk finishing a a friendly hostelry.

We look forward to September for another 6 months of Refrigeration updates and companionship.


 

13th March 2014   16 regular attending members gathered at Chimes Bar for our usual monthly meeting, but unfortunately our guest speaker and Hitachi had parted company and no replacement was found   this was not discovered until 7.15pm on the night. But as ever we coped firstly by asking each of  the attendees to give tips of the trade or just reminisce!

 

We started with car AC;  then differing gasses and their explosive qualities, Plant maintenance; secret military locations, disposal of redundant NH3 and Sulphur gases;  100 year old coldstores with cork and rats!! The recent RAC show which is sadly depleting in size; National Trust properties; Recent flood stories etc etc . etc

 

Folk didn’t get up and leave early so it couldn’t have been too bad.

 

We also suggested topics for Brendan to arrange next year: Can you suggest some or even have a favoured company or rep who would talk to us who are eager to keep up to date on refrigeration and akin topics?

Next month on the 10th we have our walk around London Town   details not readily to hand yet but I will contact the regular attendees soon with an underground station to meet at with your loved ones (or wife even} for a hopefully warm dry night out which as ever will finish at a hostelry!


 

Thursday 6th February 2014 REPORT on meeting in conjunction with the Institute of Refrigeration, at 33 Queen Street.

Are doors on fridges the best environmental solution for the retail sector?

3 members attended for a debate on the merits of the use of doors on Refrigerant Display Cabinets.

The meeting was preceded with refreshments of tea, coffee, sandwiches etc and a brief opportunity for networking.  The members were joined by some of the Institutes services section and students.

Opening with a general overview and various facts and the development of supermarket display, the chair for the evening, Ms. Judith Evans, introduced Mr. Alex Pitman of the Co-op and Mr. John Austin-Davies who led the discussion.

Mr. Alex Pitman spoke first, in favour of the doors being fitted, although making the case for their fitting during manufacturing rather retro-fitting; citing that the Co-op was ‘rolling out the fitting of doors in all their new stores and in those being refitted.   

Mr. John Austin-Davies then opposed this view, suggesting that with the improved case design, doors were almost unnecessary and that they impeded sales, limiting their value further.   

Both speakers suggested that the selection of tests for cooled cabinets showed sufficiently varied results, therefore, proving to not be completely reliable.  However, improvements to case design indicated 30%-80% energy savings; similar savings were available with fitted doors.  The limiting factor in all cases was the customer usage.   

It was pointed out that with lifecycle costing being considered more rather than just capital cost, the inclusion of doors may continue to get more support as the inherent benefits seem to gain when looked at in the long term.

The discussion was then opened to the floor, when your Chair, Malcolm Lay started by suggesting that the use of doors was purely academic as such a large proportion of sales went direct from the warehouse to the customer and that as this trend was increasing even display cases were becoming obsolescent.

Further debate covered the relative benefits of roller shutters, sliding and hinged doors as well as cooled rooms and recycled cooling

 A vote for the alternative options was called for and although close, with doors just won.

 


 

 January 2014 Meeting Report

Mark and Andrew entertained us - yes entertained the 16 members with their presentation into the world of national and international skill competitions ranging from Hair Dressing down to our specialist subject of Refrigeration nationally known as SkillFRIDGE. (the UK had 36 Skill trades represented internationally at the 2013 Worldskills event in Leipzig).

 

They began by each of our members reading part of a paper titled “ARE YOU READY TO PERFORM” which relaxed us all! So before starting any project in daily tasks we should consider 1st Preparation, 2nd Performance, 3rd Planning and very importantly Reflection.

 

To take part in the Worldskills International Competitions; competitors must be younger than 23 in the year of the competition:- and it can take 3 years from nomination into the national SkillFRIDGE trials and regional competitions in order to be selected to represent the UK in refrigeration at the Worldskills International competition!  

 

At competition level, the marking assessment criteria is strict. The international test covers both refrigeration and air conditioning skills, the tasks are designed where design diagrams have to be interpreted, so that materials and components have to be fabricated, assembled, wired, tested to standards, and commissioned to ensure energy efficiency. There is also an electrical fault finding, and component replacement task and it all has to be performed in no more than 20hours total!

 

And if that wasn’t enough, all this is in front of the noisy public in huge exhibition halls - So no pressure!

 

The national SkillFRIDGE competition is very similar; it is a 12hour test and does not include air conditioning or component replacement, but nearly all the other skills needed to be a refrigeration engineer are covered (we don’t test competitors to tear down or rebuild compressors)!

 

In both national and international competitions, the test projects are pre announced with line drawings and a brief of what is expected during the competition, but no sizes, but then on the day 30% changes are announced that define the detail dimensions and operational parameters!

 

To enter the competitions, students are nominated by colleges, employers and training centres. Competitions can really improve individuals, even if they don’t come first, all competitors say they enjoyed the journey and learned real skills along the way that help them in the job and ultimately their employer! competitors are out of their comfort zones and often have to problem solve, but by entering, all competitors can go for a ‘performance excellence’ qualification, which can be earned right through to degree level for the very best international competitor.

 

These competitions are all about raising the standards nationally and globally. There are training grants available for the international competitors, but not for the SkillFRIDGE competition, there is therefore a need for industry/company support and sponsorship, and it was said that if all companies in the industry sponsored £100 each year to help in accommodation, fares etc, the SkillFRIDGE competitions could have a secure future!!

 

Much discussion Questions and Answers followed this educational and enjoyable evening over the traditional glass of beverage. Mark then had to beat a hasty retreat to get the last train to Manchester, Andy being a local lad guided Mark to Pimlico tube station.

The meeting continued,where we discussing our banking arrangements, Our next London Walk and the February meeting to be held jointly with the IOR


 

No December 2013 meeting .... But regulars got together prior to Christmas which went well,  26 gathered for a 4 course meal at Chimes, along with a few silly quiz questions.  An enjoyable evening  

 


 

Now Mick Warren sends this warning note

"Hello Ron happy new year to you all , Mum and I are doing ok. Pass this message out about the dangers of R600, do`nt get complacent -- I was working with some yesterday and a spark from the vac pump on/off switch ignited some and blew everything up, I was not badly hurt but customer did not like having his kitchen blown up, Michael"

Our meeting on Thursday 14th Nov 2013

was attended by 13 members had a meeting to discuss  energy costings. Our speaker no longer has contacts so this report has been removed to save fruitless calls to the company, Thank you

After a  beer and discussion Keith Sweatman of Airedales gave us an update on the fire which devastated their production works and offices in West Yorkshire, He explained how the 400 employees had pulled together to get a major part of the works up and running again. Their parent company and Insurers really got together to finance the restoration, and hopefully full production will by January 2014

Again he thanked all who supported Airedales and if you need any help from them call their HQ via 01132391000 www.airedale.com

Our next meeting is in December for our regular members who know who they are.

So the following meeting will be an open one for all  in our trade on

Thursday 9th January  on"World Skills Standard Specifications for RAC"

 

 


 

 

OCTOBER 10th 2013

Our AGM was held with 18 members attending, and your active committee re-elected, Ron is still managing the accounts and secretaries duties. Our accounts are still healthy due to the good management of our predecessors by arranging sponsorships from the old "London Refrigeration Show": although our expenses each year exceed our income. In the current climate the society should be able to  continue for around 10 years.
New blood is needed to take over the above posts, so please if YOU have any skill or aptitude make yourself known to our chairman Malcolm Lay.   Brendan continues to arrange interesting and varied speakers each month, and our next on November 14th will be
                  "Energy Projects including Utility Bill Verification"   - 
 
                                 

Report on 

   Our recent October 10th meeting of your Society was ably  led by Mr Jason Bettles of Munters a part of Nordic Capital who produce and supervise their installed dehumidifying equipment in cold stores and production areas. (This is only a small part of their global portfolio)
    Jason started with basics explaining "damp air in" produces ice, snow, or moisture on evaporators, products and floors.  By reducing these symptoms defrost times can usually be reduced and their intervals increased. In one example from a defrost every six hours was reprogrammed to once a day, saving temperature rises of products and less cleaning times on floors etc.( please see their web site for full details or contact Jason direct)
     This is achieved by circulating the room air through a rotary wheel containing a desiccant of silica jel which is bonded in a patented method to "crinkled" composite wheel heat exchanger,  which captures the room’s moisture. The wheel moves about eight revolutions per hour, and ambient air is heated to around 100 degrees centigrade and passed through a one third section of the moving wheel in the opposite direction to the refrigerated air.  This heated air constantly dries the re-circulated moist air in the wheel reducing the RH from around 75% to less than 25/% even to 10%  giving the above listed savings. The rejected moist air now around 10 to 70 deg C is vented safely to waste.
    Jason gave examples of around 900 firms who are  using these systems, but Munters have a wide range of other products which can be explored by checking their web site
www.munters.co.uk or a direct call to our host This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 01480432243 at their British HQ in Huntingdon Cambs.
 
The full presentation can be found here

Login Form