Heuch exports Support Master for Rheinmetall Germany

Keeping military vehicles in fighting shape is no easy task:

Keeping dirt, water and mould at bay, battery preservation and limiting engine run time are significant maintenance issues for military land systems.  The Victorian designed and manufactured Support Master by Heuch drastically reduces the effort and costs associated with systems life cycle maintenance and maintains vehicles in a mission ready state at all times.  The Support Master also allows of continuous operation of electronic systems during training without increasing engine running hours, further reducing the maintenance burden.

Heuch’s Support Master combines generation of dry air for the conservation of electronics and materials, as well as providing smart battery conditioning and support charging.  Dry air passes through the interior of vehicles and equipment kits preventing corrosion and mould growth.

(Picture 2 – Corrosion)

(Picture 2 – Mould Growth)


While the intelligent battery charger maintains the vehicle in a mission ready state, increases life and reduces costs of batteries and operation of systems without idling engine.

Rheinmetall ordered the Support Masters as part of a larger land systems deal to Lithuania, with more orders expected from NATO allies soon.

Glen Hardham, Engineering Manager for Heuch, attributed their export success to their innovative solution and ability to rapidly move from prototype to production.  “We received great support from Rheinmetall Australia to help get this world class product into their global supply chain.  I’m proud that we have proven Australian SME manufacturers can still compete and win on a global scale.”

However, Glen is most enthusiastic about the benefit the project brought to Heuch’ s team.  “To pursue this opportunity, we took on an engineering intern from one of Melbourne’s leading Universities and brought on two new apprentices full time.  While the intern has returned to studies, I’m proud he’ll have a significant project win to place on his resume and the apprentices have simply been fantastic, taking real ownership of this job!  With continued export success we are looking to add another to our team.”

(Picture 4 – Heuch MD, Steve Oakley during prototype trials with Rheinmetall’s’ Boxer in Germany; late 2018)

(Picture 5 – Heuch Apprentice Refrigeration Mechanic Emma, with two production units; 2019)

While the Support Master was designed for Rheinmetall’s Boxer, it is compatible with most military vehicles.  “There is an opportunity for us to significantly reduce the ADF’s vehicle life cycle costs with our unit. Not just with the recently ordered Boxers, but with all our land systems.  Similarly, with further help from Government and Rheinmetall Australia, we hope to see the Support Master in service with other EU defence forces into the future”, explained Glen.

Service Master Benefits:

  • Reduction of scheduled maintenance at crew-level
    • Time saving of monthly crew service  => 8 h/vehicle
  • Eliminate mould risks
    • No hygienic risk for the crew
    • No downtime of the vehicle
    • No decontamination costs
      (ca. 10,000 € per vehicle excluding exchange of spare parts)
  • Avoidance of corrosion
    • Extension of equipment life time
    • Reduction of maintenance time and effort
    • (Removal of corrosion damage accounts for approx. 20% of the maintenance budgets)
  • Batteries/ electrical system and equipment
    • Extension of life time of batteries
    • Reduction of spare part costs
    • Reduction of engine run time and maintenance
  • Storage costs
    • Reduction of stocks for a lower capital commitment
    • Reduction of administration and clearing efforts at depot
  • Maintenance effort (corrective)
    • Reduction of unplanned maintenance activities
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Solar Power Refrigeration Solutions

A direct replacement for diesel powered refrigeration equipment, Heuch’s solar power units are designed to operate in the harshest and most remote environments. They are suitable for areas without a reliable grid connection, emergency services, disaster relief and defence applications.

Our award winning solar refrigeration solutions are designed to be transportable world wide and can be deployed and operating, at no cost, in minutes. There are no fuel costs or fuel quality and logistical problems that accompany current diesel solutions.

The mobile solar powered refrigerators units are supplied as turn key packages in 20′ and 40′ ISO high cube shipping containers and are fully customisable internally. +4°C and -18°C variants are available and provide 24 hour cooling in any environment.

Potential applications range from food and medical storage, post harvest, in-field pre-cooling, server rooms, research labs and morgues. Removing cooling equipment allows for offices and first aid centres, powered workshops or a uninterruptible power supply.

Read more about our solar refrigeration containers here.

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Innovator of The Year Award Winner.

Meet Steve Oakley, the managing director of Heuch Refrigeration and winner of the 2016 Innovator of the Year Award.

Oakley recently commenced commercialisation of the world’s first 100 per cent solar powered refrigeration containers, a project that was central to winning this year’s award.

Oakley first began the project in 2005.

“The time wasn’t quite right then. The project worked technically but it wasn’t commercially viable,” Oakley said.

“Now its the right time, the right people, the right product and a bit of luck.

“Our new products are still at the fringes in that context but they are now emerging as a competitor and will become increasingly so in the future.”

Oakley’s nomination was a bit of a surprise as he only found out about it when he was notified that he was a finalist.

He was nominated by the company’s business development manager, Martin Oakley, who also happens to be his son.

Martin Oakley has an interesting background he has two business degrees and completed a refrigeration apprenticeship.

“I was very proud to have my son nominate me. I was presented with a gift even without winning,” he said.

So what are the qualities of an innovator?

“A disorganised mind, a propensity to doodle on ideas in the search for new alternatives and a willingness to commit when the occasional good idea gets traction,” Oakley said. “Without innovation we are doomed to fail simply by standing still.”

The opposite of innovation, according to Oakley, is an attitude of “that’s how we have always done it.”

Heuch Refrigeration has always been involved in a diverse range of projects and with the changing landscape Oakley said the company is refocussing its efforts in the fruit and vegetable growing and processing industries.

“We look forward in the coming months to introducing some wonderful new products we are pleased to be associated with out of Europe,” he said.

“The energy and process efficiencies these systems can provide is outstanding, we are very excited about the possibilities.”

Founded by the late John Heuch in 1970, the company thrives on a ‘why not?’ culture and a willingness to adapt to change.

Two of its senior managers joined the company as apprentices in 1978. Oakley believes the HVACR industry has changed considerably since he first joined it in the early 1980s. “I think today’s industry is safer, cleaner, increasingly more mature and effective,” he said.

“I am very proud to be part of an industry that when challenged 20 years ago with consequential damage to the ozone layer we took up the challenge and adapted.

“Our industry has been at the forefront of change.

Oakley said winning the award has been great for the business. “The value to the business is difficult to understate that little glass award is potentially worth more than its weight in gold,” he said.

“As news of the award has spread so too has the peer support and encouragement for a small but vibrant refrigeration engineering company battling away in a global market.”

Original article located here.

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Common refrigeration defrost management

All cool rooms and freezers use evaporators or coolers to help regulate temperature inside the room.

When people and equipment enter and exit a room they let varying amounts of ambient air into the space which needs to be brought back down to the regulated temperature. This air generally contains a significantly higher level of water vapour than the room. The water vapour or moisture in the air is naturally drawn to the coldest element in the room which just happens to be the fin and tube surfaces within the evaporator.

The coolant circulating through an evaporator or cooler is always colder than the air circulating around the room. Depending upon the criteria or special circumstances used by the installer to create your system, this coolant can be anywhere between 3°c and 8°c colder. After a period of time the accumulated ice and frost on these surfaces restricts the air flow over the unit and also acts as an insulator.

This significantly reduces the efficiency of your evaporator and creates a significant risk of consequential damage to compressors downstream by way of liquid refrigerant floor back and oil wash out. Both of these scenarios can have a measurable impact on the costs of operation.

In order to allow the refrigeration service to get back to working at optimal levels, you need to remove the frost build up as quickly and effectively as practical. There are many methods employed, all with their own strategic advantages and disadvantages.


The simplest and cheapest method is generally only applied to coolrooms operating above +2°c. In this mode any ice formed during the normal running time of the system is melted by the cyclic stopping of the cooling system, whilst maintaining the room air flow. The room air melts the ice which falls to the drop tray and away to waste. The number of stoppages and the length of the off cycle time could be either unforced or forced depending upon the room controls and system demands.

It is not uncommon for room temperatures to rise by several degrees under this methodology and so consideration needs to be given to the effect on product quality and storage certification needs.

ADVANTAGES: Cheap to install and operate. Simplest

Little temperature control authority, suitable only for some cool rooms, risk of water droplet carry over into the room and product.


One of the most common methods in defrost management is to utilise AC electrical elements on or within the evaporator or cooler. This utilised a heating element within the coil block. Used predominantly in freezer rooms and cool rooms where off-cycle defrost is unreliable or too slow.

During a defrost cycle, determined by the automatic system controls or a manual initiation, the circulation fans are switched off and the heating element on.

The number of defrost cycles per day, length of defrost, defrosting temperatures, dropping time post defrost are determined by the system controls. These controls may employ the very simple time start: time terminate or the more complex system response controller.



Moderate in complexity and speed to defrost, good control authority, suitable for all small to medium sized rooms.

Moderate cost to install, high energy cost to defrost and recover.


Another way of performing a defrost is through the use of the heated refrigerant already in your system.

“Hot Gas Bypass” systems can be found in both larger systems and small package equipment and will generally require the attentions of a refrigeration maintenance engineer to ensure it is both effective and reliable. These systems stop the cooler fans and divert a percentage of the hot discharge vapour from the refrigeration compressor outlet directly to the evaporator to life the temperature of the heat exchanger. The evaporator coils are heated from within, melting the ice and frost.

Like the electric defrost system, the number of defrost cycles per day, length of defrost, defrosting temperatures, dripping time post defrost are determined by the system controls. These controls may also employ the very simple time start: time terminate or the more complex system response controller.

Since this method also changes the refrigeration system complexity, careful consideration needs to be given to the system balance and lubrication issues that might be otherwise adversely affected.



Speed to defrost, good control authority, suitable for all small and larger sized rooms, lower energy cost to defrost and recover.
High cost to install, moderate in complexity.


“Reverse cycle” systems are most often found in packaged equipment since they require the attentions of a refrigeration services designer to ensure it is both effective and reliable. These systems stop the cooler fans and literally reverse the system operation so the cooling is now performed outside and all the rejected heat is sent to the internal cooler. Since the cooler or evaporator fans are not running, the heat is almost wholly retained within the unit melting the ice and frost from within.

Like the electric defrost system, the number of defrost cycles per day, length of defrost, defrosting temperatures, dropping time post defrost are determined by the system controls. These controls may also employ the very simple time start: time terminate or the more complex system response controller.

Since this methods also changes the refrigeration system complexity, careful consideration needs to be given to the system balance and lubrication issues that might be otherwise adversely affected.



Highest speed to defrost, high control authority, suitable for package units only, lower energy cost to defrost and recover.
Moderate cost to install, increasing complexity.

The important component of any of these three common methods of defrost management is to take the time to ensure that the system is correctly configured to suit your particular establishment.

Each and every defrost costs and the need for defrosting is a simple consequence of daily operation. A periodic review of effectiveness and bottom line impact can be a very worthwhile exercise and best results accomplished by engaging operational and refrigeration maintenance personnel.

If you are looking for assistance navigating these issues or looking for a defrost management solution for your refrigeration system please give us a call on 03 9793 6088 or contact us below an obligation free chat with one of our refrigeration maintenance technicians today.

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Heuch Land Forced Australia Innovation Awards Nomination 2016

Land Defence Australia Nomination for Innovation Awards 2016

Land Defence Australia has announced the shortlisted finalists for the 2016 National Industry Innovation Awards and we are very pleased and humbled to say that we have been nominated.

Sixteen Australian defence innovators have been shortlisted for this prestigious award over three categories and winners will be announced at the Land Forces Australia Asia Info Pacific conference on September 7th 2016 in Adelaide.

We would like to thank Land Defence Australia for the nomination and to provide a quote by Ian Honnery, CEO of Industry Defence and Security Australia Limited – “The 16 Australian companies and individuals shortlisted for these Innovation Awards actually define the leading edge of the technology areas they are working in. Their goal is to give the Australian Defence Force a vital combat edge, while providing enhanced protection to the men and women who wear our country’s uniform.”

Heuch has been nominated for our Solar Power Refrigeration Containers. Our solar refrigeration and freezer containers reduce the logistical problems such as a reliable and clean diesel supply. We have designed these solar power refrigeration containers to be able to suit environments including remote area and rugged environments, where access to standard refrigeration and electrical grids are not possible. For further information on our Solar Power Refrigeration Containers click here.

The interest expressed by Land Defence Australia meshes neatly in our existing programs with the public and private sectors, helping to develop systems to empower communities and aid in disaster relief services.

For further details regarding these awards please click here.

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Heuch Refrigeration Leak Detection

Refrigeration Leak Detection

Refrigeration leak detection has come a long way since the days of rubbing soap to look for bubbles to appear. With an increased focus on environmental effects due to refrigerant loss and the stresses of efficiency from an industrial perspective, reliable and quick gas leak detection methods are more important than ever. Especially with the rising costs of refrigerants and the r22 phase our regulations.

With a multitude of tools and tricks on the market, it can be a mine field as to what the best solution is for your equipment and manufacturing facility. A refrigeration or HVAC system does not “just need a top up of gas”, it could be a symptom of another issue such as a leaking weld or damaged coupling. Not only is replacing lost gas an avoidable and unnecessary expense, but regulations require leaks to be repaired with urgency and companies ignoring leaks could be facing some large fines.

Recently in the HVAC-R industry we have seen some of the refrigerant leak detection applications move away from the traditional use of nitrogen to a non-flammable mixture of hydrogen and nitrogen.

This combination has proven to be a winner and has ultimately enhanced the environmental compliance from refrigerant leaks as well as reducing maintenance times and costs to the company if a system shutdown is required, all whilst increasing system energy efficiencies.

Did we also mention this is up to 100 times more accurate than the traditional bubble method?

Make sure your next programmed maintenance service covers a leak detection check of your refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

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Heuch HVAC Leadership Awards Finalists

Winners announced for the 2016 HVACR Leadership Awards

By Sandra van Dijk
2 August 2016.


Winners of the 2016 HVACR Leadership Awards were formally announced at CCN Live, which was held earlier today at the Royal Randwick Racecourse.

The event, which was well-attended by a cross section of industry, opened with a keynote presentation on the latest trends in HVACR by Lux Research Asia Pacific managing director, Cort Isernhagen and Lux research director, Arij Van Berkel.

Attendees were given a broad overview of the changing HVACR landscape including the latest technologies gaining traction across the globe.

The first category to be announced was the award for 2016 Sustainability Leader. Sponsored by Heatcraft, the winner is Cold Logic technical director, Brad Semmler.

The Industry Rising Star Award, which is sponsored by ABB, went to Intrust Energy Solutions managing director, Michael Guli.

One of the most competitive categories in the awards program was the 2016 Woman of the Year in HVACR Award which was sponsored by Daikin.

The winner is Edefice director, Ania Hampton, the first woman to be appointed president of the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH).

The 2016 Emerging Leader in Energy Savings Award which is sponsored by the Australian Refrigeration Association (ARA) went to Scantec Refrigeration Technologies managing director, Stefan Jensen.

Well known as a pioneer of ammonia systems in Australia, Jensen is an accomplished engineer that has written extensively on energy efficiency benchmarking.

The next category was Innovator of the Year, an award sponsored by Temperzone.

With three finalists it was another competitive category that went to Heuch Refrigeration managing director, Steve Oakley.

The company has just commercialised the world’s first 100 per cent solar powered refrigeration containers. (You can view these here)

The final award was the HVACR Leader of the Year Award which recognises excellence in leadership.  Sponsored by Daikin, the award goes to a professional with a well established HVACR career, a professional that has contributed to the development of the industry.

The winner is the national refrigeration manager at Coles Supermarket, Stuart Saville.

We all know Saville from his work on the retailer’s Gas Loss Mitigation and Retrofit Program and his involvement in the very first installation of a transcritical C02 System at Coles.

CCN Editor, Sandra Van Dijk, thanked all of the nominees for taking part in the awards program as well as guest judge, RACCA president, Kevin O’Shea.

Full article here. 

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Heuch HVAC Leadership Awards Finalists

HVACR Leadership Awards: Meet the finalists

By Sandra van Dijk

With only a few days remaining until the winners of the 2016 HVACR Leadership Awards are announced, its time to meet the finalists.

The anticipation is building, as finalists prepare for the award presentation which will be held on Tuesday, August 2, at the Royal Randwick Racecourse.

The winners will be announced after a keynote presentation by Lux Research Asia Pacific managing director, Cort Isernhagen and research director, Dr Arij Van Berkel. This is your last chance to secure tickets at https://secure.twodeforce.com.au/hvacr/register

The first award category to be announced at CCN Live 2016 is the Sustainability Leader in HVACR Award which is sponsored by Heatcraft. The first finalist is Cold Logic technical director, Brad Semmler.

Best known for leading edge system design, Semmler was instrumental in the creation of Australia’s first ammonia heat pump recovery plant. Semmler began his career as a refrigeration apprentice in the 1980s. Passionate about refrigeration, the hallmark’s of Semmler’s projects are energy efficiency and sustainability.

The second finalist is 100% Renewables director, Barbara Albert. After years of working with all levels of government on how to transition to renewable energy, Albert is set to launch her very first book “Energy Unlimited – Four Steps to 100% Renewable Energy” in September.

She has won awards for developing Master Energy Plans and contributing to projects creating more sustainable HVACR systems.

The third finalist is Lucisco director, James Martin. He has been with ActronAir for more than a decade and oversaw the implementation of DC motor technology and inverters, while Lucisco promotes the latest solar and power storage technologies. His Six Sigma black belt is proof of his commitment to continuous improvement. Martin takes a holistic, life cycle approach to sustainability.

The next category is the Industry Rising Star Award which is sponsored by ABB.

It has been a huge year for our first finalist, DTM Air Services tradesman, Nathan McHugh. Earlier this year he won the gold medal at this year’s WorldSkills Australia national championship and is now preparing to represent Australia overseas.

Although McHugh only completed his trade earlier this year and is only 20 years old, he is now moving on to his second trade undertaking an electrical apprenticeship as well.

The second finalist is Intrust Energy Solutions managing director, Michael Guli Since completing his Certificate III in air conditioning and refrigeration in 2012, Guli has been building his own little empire with his company that is now expanding into plumbing, building services and solar installations. He is only 25 years of age and since establishing his business last year has doubled staff numbers from two to four.

For the first time ever, CCN introduced a new category this year the Woman of the Year in HVACR Award which is sponsored by Daikin. The first finalist is Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association president, Kim Limburg.

For more than a decade Limburg has worked tirelessly as an advocate for ARMA members showcasing a high level of resilience in a male dominated industry. It is a testament to her tenacity that ARMA now has over 1,000 active members.

Limburg’s nomination is in recognition of her ability to motivate, inspire and lead as well as her commitment to ensuring HVACR operators have a strong voice.

The second finalist is A-Gas managing director, Louise McCann. When it comes to successful women, McCann is an excellent example of how professional women can play a senior role in a global company and lead with both vision and exceptional management skills.

McCann has set high standards when it comes to corporate responsibility, company culture and personal integrity. Her nomination recognises her business prowess and ability to overcome the many obstacles that make the role of managing
director in this industry so challenging.

AIRAH president and Edefice director, Ania Hampton, is our third finalist. Since graduating with an honours degree in mechanical engineering in 2003, Hampton has been a passionate advocate for sustainability. In 2015 she joined the AIRAH board and in 2016 became the first female president of AIRAH ever to be appointed in the organisation’s almost 100 year history.
Whether she is leading sustainable design teams or balancing her role as a professional consultant with being the mother of two young boys (aged eight and three), Hampton is an outstanding example of a woman who is actively making a difference.

The fourth finalist is Staycool Heating and Air Conditioning sales manager, Lisa Dainty She has come a long way since joining Staycool Heating and Air Conditioning as a receptionist in 1999.

Since then she has worked in all areas of the company, showcasing her passion and dedication to the industry.  Dainty was nominated by her peers for being a constant source of inspiration and for her ability to design heating and cooling systems
for Melbourne’s largest home builders.

A popular category in the awards program is the Emerging Leader in Energy Savings Award which is sponsored by the Australian Refrigeration Association (ARA).

This year’s finalists includes Blygold Oceania owner and managing director, Mark Weir, who is in the business of energy efficiency.

He operates one of the largest corrosion prevention coating suppliers to the HVACR industry in the world by protecting condenser performance.  Weir said it is his passion for sustainability and energy efficiency that led him to his current business venture with Blygold, a company which is operational in 50 countries across the globe.

The next finalist is Scantec Refrigeration Technologies managing director, Stefan Jensen

Well known for his expertise in energy efficiency, Jensen has pioneered the commercialisation of central, low charge ammonia refrigeration systems.  By the end of 2016, Jensen said there will be nine of these systems operational in Australia and one in China.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1978, Jensen began his career with Danfoss in Denmark.  Since then his career has been extensive. He co-founded Scantec in 1996 and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) in Washington, USA.

The third finalist for this category is Air conditioning Air Purification Technologies engineer, Lindsay Pelser.

With 40 years experience as both a tradesman and engineer in the HVAC industry, Pelser could be described as an energy savings veteran.

He is best known as a pioneer of hydrocarbon systems and was involved in one of the first installations of hydrocarbon chillers at a dairy farm in Victoria. More recently Pelser said he has been involved in a world-first shopping centre installation south west of Sydney.

He has designed and installed a hydrocarbon air conditioning plant which is producing energy savings in the range of 35 per cent.

Another category that is always highly competitive is the award for Innovator of the Year, which is sponsored by Temperzone.

There are three finalists including Samsung Electronics national project engineer (air conditioning division), Deepika Naicker. Working for large corporate companies such as LG and Samsung requires plenty of creative thinking and forward planning, according to Naicker. She describes her contribution to being innovative as “process driven” because “smooth rollouts” is key to showcasing innovative technology.

The next finalist is Heuch Refrigeration managing director, Steve Oakley. This is the man behind the world’s first 100 per cent solar powered refrigeration containers suitable for remote area, off-grid and disaster management applications. Heuch Refrigeration has just completed trials and commenced commercialisation of this clean, green and innovative solution. (You can check them out here)

The third finalist for this category is Optergy product manager, Marc Abdelahad.

For Abdelahad, innovation is all about transformation. For him it is about being in control with minimal effort so it’s not surprising to learn that he works with building management systems that combine intuitive technology that can be used on the smallest, mobile devices.  Abdelahad is a big believer in ‘continual product improvement’.

The final award to be presented next week is the HVACR Leader of the Year Award. This award recognises overall excellence in leadership and will go to a professional that has a well established HVACR career. Sponsored by Daikin, there are four finalists vying for this award.

They include Minus 40 managing director, Michael Bellstedt. Before showcasing his skills at Minus40, Bellstedt was well known for his expertise as a refrigeration design engineer.

He has an impressive resume highlighting energy efficiency projects from Germany to South Africa and beyond.

Bellstedt was the founder of the Green Cooling Council in 2003 and since then has become a technical leader and mentor, especially when it comes to natural refrigerants.

Another finalist is Coles Supermarkets national engineering refrigeration manager, Stuart Saville. Since he began his career as a technician in his early teens, Saville has proven himself as a leader in innovation and design.

Before joining Coles Stuart realised his deram of establishing his own refrigeration company. He has been involved in a number of landmark projects at Coles including the implementation of the supermarket’s first transcritical Co2 system and developed a successful Gas Loss Mitigation and Retrofit program.

The next finalist is AIRAH government relations manager, Phil Wilkinson. With a Masters of Engineering and a profile in this industry that is unparalleled, Wilkinson doesn’t really require much of an introduction.

His high profile and influence as an advocate for the HVACR industry is far-reaching. Wilkinson’s vision for the future of this industry has been translated into PRIME, which he helped create.  It is a blueprint to transition our industry to a low emissions future. He was also involved in the R22 refrigerant Phaseout Guide and the industry’s first HVAC system ratings tool, Calculating Cool.

The fourth finalist for this award is Sydney TAFE senior head teacher, Greg Riach. With such a long standing career in education, this is a man that has shaped the hearts and minds of thousands of apprentices and students.

For more than 30 years Riach has been at the forefront of education and training for the RAC industry. Ultimo TAFE is currently at the forefront of the electronic delivery of education thanks to Riach’s contribution to extending TAFE’s capabilities.

Full Article Here.

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Heuch - Frost Heave Prevention and Slab Heave.

Frost heave

Frost heave can be found in walls, floors and any other areas associated with freezer rooms and colder environments, both constructed and natural.


What is Frost heave?

Frost heave (sometimes referred to as ice heave, slab heave and concrete heaving) occurs when sub-zero ambient temperatures penetrate the earth or a structure and freeze pockets of moisture. As these pockets freeze, they expand. This potentially enormous pressure has to go somewhere, so it pushes the earth or structure outwards toward the point of least resistance. When considering ground based frost heave, this is usually up to the surface, and creates little mounds. Areas that exhibit Freeze-Thaw-Refeeze cycles can be particularly persuasive and cause slab heave.


Why is frost heave important?

A bit of frozen moisture doesn’t sound like much, but it has the ability to seriously damage floors, building foundations, roads and driveways. Much in the same way that a little steam doesn’t sound like anything to worry about, until you contain it, then it can drive a train, or electricity producing turbines!

Moisture is always drawn to the cold. So when a pocket of ice forms under the soil, underground moisture is drawn to it, freezes and adds to the pocket. This is a problem that the people of Canada (for example) have to deal with on a seasonal basis. The frost heave often pushes sideways and damages the foundations of their houses and basements.

In the commercial sector, if the floor of a freezer isn’t heated, the frost heave will lift and crack floors, create a very uneven surface, prejudice walls and structures and make for a very unsafe work environment. It can penetrate poorly sealed walls, freezing and bulging, damaging the structural integrity of the very walls themselves.


How to spot frost heaves.

It starts with a bit of a sinking feeling. Often, businesses we visit will comment that the foundations of their building are sinking, but a quick inspection points out that actually, the floor is lifting! Sometimes the floor heating has failed, and other times it hasn’t been installed at all.

Early signs to look out for include:

  • The corners and edges of the freezer room appear to be sinking.
  • Uneven spots in a once very flat freezer floor.
  • Cracks in the concrete that are only getting worse.
  • Bulging or warped walls of the freezer room.


How to fix frost heave

At the first moment you suspect frost heave is occurring, check that your floor heating is working!  If the walls are the problem, check that your freezer room has been vapour sealed correctly and effectively. Is there forklift damage to the external skin of the cool room panels? Do the door jambs need repair?



If your floor is electrically heat traced, check the circuit breaker to make sure it’s still working. If it can’t be reset, check for a second circuit. Often a second heater is laid in the concrete to add a level of redundancy and peace of mind.

If the floor relies on outside air ventilation, check that the pipes or channels supplying air flow aren’t blocked or supporting nesting rodents and their families.

If your floor uses hot gas or reticulated glycol from your refrigeration system to heat the floor, this will need reviewing by your refrigeration services company.

The bad news is that if these have failed, the heating was poorly installed, or never installed, then the fix may become expensive.

The first step is shutting the freezer room down to let the ice pockets thaw and the floor to settle. This can take weeks in some cases and obviously disrupts productivity, and is only a very temporary measure. The results are variable and there is no guarantee this action will not in itself cause consequential damage.

To fix the problem from here, you might have to have the freezer floor re-laid. Getting a contractor in to tear up the existing floor and insulation, lay floor heating and re-pour a concrete floor. But once it is done, is something you no longer have to have in the back of your mind.


Have a coolroom panel professional inspect the joins and penetrations in your walls. They will be able to detect if your vapour seal is adequate, and identify where the moisture is getting in.

If it’s caught early, and the vapour seal is repaired, the room might be able to simply returned to service.

If not, the coolroom panels may have to be replaced.


The best fix, like almost anything, is PREVENTION! 

Heuch - Frost Heave and Slab Heave.

Notice the pallet racking leaning due to an uneven surface caused by frost heaves.

How to prevent frost heave.

Best prevention is to have a regular maintenance program by knowledgeable techs and make sure floor heating is being looked at and included in your programmed maintenance service.

If you are going to be buying or leasing a new facility, check with the current occupants/landlord to find out if the freezer room has floor heating, and make sure that it works!

If you are having a new freezer room built, discuss the floor heating methodology with your supplier.

  • What floor heating system are they offering?
  • What backup method if offered?
  • How is it being installed?
  • Can it be repaired or what redundancy is included?
  • How much energy will it consume? Remember this heat energy is required 24 hours a day, 365 days a year!
  • Is waste energy reclaim used?
  • How much floor insulation will be laid?
  • What type and specification is the vapour barrier system?
  • How will the installer implement the vapour barrier?
  • What insulated cool room panels joining system is proposed?
  • When will these steps happen in the construction program? Planning inspection visits during construction is a good idea.

A little vigilance and a little investment now will save you many times the expense in down times in productivity, lost storage space and will ensure a safer workplace for you and your colleagues, as well as giving you the invaluable gift of peace of mind!

Heuch can help make an assessment and develop a cost effective programmed maintenance schedule. 

Talk to Heuch’s engineering team when considering your next refrigeration system expansion.

Further references: www.ashrae.org; www.astm.org; www.bradyips.com.au; ASTM D5918-06

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Programmed Maintenance Heuch Service Van

Is Programmed Maintenance the Right Service Solution for Maintaining Services?

The best ways to service and maintain your facility equipment has long been a heated debate. Programmed maintenance is often viewed by many companies as an expense that wastes time and resources when the age old adage of “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” reactive mode is in play.

However here at Heuch we have found that a repair service in the reactive mode can be costly, sometimes up to as much as three times higher than the same repair service done within a programmed maintenance schedule; regardless of whether it is industrial and commercial refrigeration services, air conditioning services, solar energy service or heating and cooling services. It costs the business more.

The hidden and true cost can also be found in unscheduled, unplanned downtime, lost delivery targets and disruption to scheduling. These events often lead to multiple employees looking for duties or waiting to start again.

When maintaining services in the reactive mode, we have often found that companies need to spend more money on inventory with spare parts, they have higher overtime labor costs, have an increase in downtime when the machine needs a repair and costs them more to get production back to the same level of efficiency considering lost production time and in some cases the necessity for expedited shipments.

If in the event of a machine failure we have 24 hour, 365 days a year breakdown services to ensure your facility is operational as quick as possible!

Programmed maintenance scheduling allows you to arrange any disruption at a time that suits your planning schedule. It also allows us to come in and assess the efficiencies of all machinery and ensure you have the longest useful life on your equipment with a best value driven outcome. We call it a condition driven preventative maintenance program. We work with you to look at several indictors to determine current efficiencies and potential loss of productivity that could be detrimental to your plant operations and critical systems.

So basically, it is the means of holistically considering your productivity, product quality overall effectiveness of your facility in the most cost effective manner.

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