Supporting clients in all stages of their projects, STS has worked in various market sectors assisting in a range of ways, including: the definition and development of innovative concepts, feasibility studies, technical specification preparation, commissioning sign off and plant trouble shooting. This has covered work for food production, storage & distribution companies, the process, pharmaceutical & petro-chemical industries along with building services and leisure applications.
Concept definition & development
- Work into Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) plant for generating electricity from waste heat
- Novel displacement cooling systems for chilled food distribution centres
- High-reliability sub-sea cooling of gas compression drives
- The development of ice climbing walls for the leisure industry
- The design & introduction of new concept ammonia (R717) refrigeration systems for building services applications
- Potential solutions for large R22 replacement projects in the petro-chemical industry.
Most projects can have several potential options to their successful completion. STS has worked closely with many clients to:
- Identify the potential options associated with their projects
- Define the criteria by which the options can be judged
- Prepare feasibility reports that evaluate and rank the options, both technically & commercially, against the criteria and the relative weighting for each that has been agreed with the client. The criteria applied varies from project to project but typically includes:
- Process requirements, ie load size, load profile, operating temperature
- Infrastructure constraints, ie power or water or space limitations
- New refrigeration system installation or an upgrade / retrofit of an existing one
- Project funding basis
- Project programme requirements
- Investment cycle, eg -5 years, -10 years or 20+ years
- Payback periods, eg -1 year, -3 years, -5years for matters such as efficiency improvements
- Attitude to and opportunity for innovation
- Attitude to sustainability, eg opportunities for heat recovery / heat generation from refrigeration compressors operating as heat pumps
- Attitude to risk
Energy & performance studies
Knowing how well your cooling plant and its associated systems are operating is vital to understanding their level of effectiveness and efficiency. STS has worked for clients in many industry sectors, carrying out energy & performance studies as a basis for resolving a range of issues, including: the potential for additional energy savings, the need for additional plant associated with process expansion or the impact of proposed refrigerant replacement initiatives.
A Hazard & Operability (HAZOP) study is a structured and systematic examination of a planned or existing process or operation in order to identify and evaluate problems that may represent risks to personnel or equipment, or prevent efficient operation. STS has supported clients in these assessments both as the Team Leader and as a team member. While most commonly applied in process industry applications, the technique of HAZOP can be effectively applied in many industry processes and operations.
Prototype building & testing
One of the strengths of STS is in the practical bent of its engineering team. This has allowed it on a number of occasions to take a client’s concept and develop it to a point where the most appropriate next step is to test it by means of prototype testing. Typically, the engineering and testing of the prototype is managed within the team, with the build carried out either within the Star Group or by a 3rd party, as appropriate. Examples of this have included developments associated with:
- A novel technique for the processing of rare whiskies
- A device for lifting objects off the sea bed
- A freeze-thaw process for dealing with sludge from water treatment plants
- Trans-critical CO2 plant for supermarket applications
- The scaled down model of an ice feature for public display
Expert witness work
With the wide ranging, specialist and expert knowledge of the STS team it is on occasion called on to provide support as an expert witness. The support has been provided to a range of clients including end users, public bodies, equipment manufacturers and other contractors.
Once a route to project fulfilment is mapped out a specification detailing the requirements is critical to its successful implementation. The specification is a document package that should provide clear, consistent and comprehensive information to prospective contractors and should ensure the same in return from them. The Technical Specifications that STS prepares for clients is based around a framework that provides for this by typically covering:
- Introduction to the Project
- Refrigeration and Ancillary Plant Performance Specification
- General Installation and Equipment Specification & Standards
- Scope of Supply
- Specific Design & Project Considerations
- Project Programme
- Items Outside of Vendors Supply
- Information to be Provided with Tender
- Documentation to be Provided in the Contract.
Proposal review & validation
STS provides support to clients following contractor proposal submissions, through the review and validation of them. This is also a critical service, providing confirmation that the contractor understands the project requirements as defined in the Technical Specification and ensuring that there are no gaps or misunderstandings with regard to what is to be supplied. The review and validation assesses proposals both technically and commercially, and has the dual benefit of providing clients with a clear decision making tool for comparing proposals and providing contractors with clear feedback on the scope of their proposal.
Installation & commissioning sign-off
As the final stage in a project cycle, STS provides review and sign-off of the installation & commissioning processes. This typically involves appropriately timed and regular site inspections through the build phase, along with witnessing of performance tests. This final phase provides clients with the comfort that their installation has met the requirements of the Technical Specifications and will deliver the level of performance their investment merits.
STS has wide ranging experience in the troubleshooting of underperforming refrigeration plant and their associated systems. The wealth of practical design and operational experience that the STS team can bring to bear has ensured that not only have the root causes of poor performance been identified but, as importantly, practical solutions on rectifying them have been provided.