Renting: the cool alternative
Carrier Rental Systems is a provider of specialist temperature control rental products. It has been in operation for over 15 years in the UK, originally as Chiller Rental Services, before the company was purchased by Carrier Rental Systems – a move which resulted in a large capital investment for the company in the UK to enable it to continually evolve and offer its customers the latest products and technologies.
So – why is renting the cool alternative?
“We offer our customers a back-up plan, so our equipment has to be reliable,” said Marc White. “Our vast range of temperature control rental equipment is provided with a comprehensive service support package which includes a complete pre-hire system design and equipment specification service.” This service ensures that customers obtain the most efficient and cost effective solution to match their requirements.
Carrier Rental Systems engineers are trained in all aspects of equipment installation as well as undertaking risk assessment & hazard perception courses to ensure they consider any risks applicable to the customer site. The time it takes from initial contact to getting the equipment installed will depend on the application and customer requirements. White explained: “We generally send out a regional sales person to assess a customers requirements and to discuss the logistics of the installation. However, in some cases installation can be achieved in a matter of hours.”
Asked why a company would consider renting cooling equipment instead of purchasing it, White explained why so many food and beverage companies are making the decision to rent. “The food sector in particular needs to undertake a great deal of test production runs for new products and often there is not the capital expenditure available for these new product developments to warrant purchasing a new line and all the associated cooling equipment. Renting allows companies to achieve their goal without massive investment in new equipment and allows companies to test out the popularity of new products with consumers without slowing down production output on existing lines.”
White went on to explain that the rental of cooling equipment can also help the food industry to cope with peak demands, without having to over specify existing equipment to allow for occasional extra capacity. “With the run up to Easter, Christmas and the summer period often resulting in a need for additional storage capacity and/or increased production demands, rented cooling solutions, for use anywhere along the production line, can be the ideal solution,” he said.
The average rental period in the food sector differs, but is usually around 8-12 weeks for a typical application.
Interestingly, White explained that Carrier Rental Systems does have a significant proportion of long-term customers in the beverage sector – where hire periods of between two and five years are common. “Many of our beverage industry customers are happy to rent the equipment because it means that they do not have responsibility for any system breakdowns – if a chiller breaks down, the repair costs could be in the tens of thousands of pounds to fix, and might require long periods of equipment downtime. Renting the equipment means that their costs are fixed, month on month, with no nasty surprises, and we are responsible for ensuring that production is not affected in the event of any equipment malfunction.”
White explained that many food and beverage companies today have a limited capital expenditure budget, which can make it difficult to gain approval for large purchases. However, most will be able to sign off a rental agreement providing the peace of mind that comes with fixed outgoings.” The plant engineer also knows that they will have rapid engineering support from us if the equipment goes wrong,” he said.
“One of our customers recently commented that the rental package makes their cooling system ‘future proof’ and takes many pressures away from the on site maintenance team.”
R22 Phase Out
Although the phase out any R22 refrigeration systems has been ongoing for some time, in line with current regulations, research carried out by Carrier Rental Systems last year indicated that many companies in the UK had still not implemented a satisfactory strategy to comply with the legislation changes.
R22 is a HCFC low temperature refrigerant used in process chillers, industrial refrigerant plants, commercial cold storage facilities and air-conditioning systems. From the end of 2014 R22 will no longer be available for use in refrigeration systems in any form, so it is important to ensure that necessary action is taken now to update equipment where necessary. By the end of the year all R22 users will have either had to have found acceptable alternative refrigerants or have invested in new plant. Equipment rental may ease any upheaval during changeover and will ensure that there are no blips in production. Alternatively a longer-term rental solution might be an alternative solution for some, removing the need for large capital expenditure to replace outdated equipment.
Distribution Centre Cooling Solution
When the ammonia chiller at the regional distribution centre of a major supermarket was in need of essential maintenance, it was necessary to shut down all of the site cooling plant, so the company needed a solution to ensure chill store temperatures were maintained at 3.5°C. Closing this regional distribution centre was not an option as it supplies many of the company’s major stores across the country.
Carrier Rental Systems was able to provide the company with a large scale cooling system for the 200,000ms distribution centre.
It was a big project with a requirement to maintain a temperature of between 3°C and 4°C across the whole store. The key account manager at Carrier Rental Systems worked closely with the customer to design a system and integrate it into the store to avoid any disruption to the operation. The bespoke solution included several internal air handling units, pipe work supports across walk ways, temporary fencing for safety, and state-of-the-art low noise 455kW chillers, multiple pump sets, generators, cable/distribution and over 1,000m of pipe work.
The project was delivered on time, on budget and without disruption.
Eight Good Reasons to Rent... Not Buy
- Tax relief – Rental expenditure is 100% allowable against corporation tax and will reduce what you pay.
- No capital expenditure – If you are waiting for capex approval or cannot get approval for a fixed period, then a medium term rental is a good option to be able to continue operation or win a new contract based on that contract requiring temporary plant.
- Fixed monthly costs – The rental price is constant, so this allows your company to budget accurately, plan for outgoings and keep cash flow high.
- 24/7 call out included – Every Carrier Rental contract includes a 24/7 call out facility. The company guarantees to have a trained engineers return all breakdown calls within one hour. If the problem cannot be solved over the phone, an engineer will be on site within four hours of making that decision.
- No maintenance charges – Maintenance invoices or repair bills can amount to many thousands of pounds. All maintenance requirements on the equipment are included within the rental fee.
- Flexibility – Hire can be for peak periods or topping up cooling requirements – so instead of hiring a 1,200kW chiller all year round, you could hire a 750kW chiller for the year at a reduced cost and then hire an additional 450kw chiller to cover just the peak period.
- Research & development – If you need extra capacity to trial a new product or process, then short-term rental can offer a low cost way of meeting this need.
- New premises or short lease – If you occupy a short lease on your building, or are a start-up company rental can be a good option – you might not want to install a new air conditioning system or require cold storage until you expand.