But in recent years, OEMs and component manufacturers have begun to offer detailed consulting services. Buyers now can describe their facility and outline refrigeration needs and the manufacturers offer ways to meet those needs.
And yet another dynamic is component manufacturers working with OEMs on creating a refrigeration system.
One example of such manufacturer involvement is Tecumseh. For five years now, the company has offered custom designed and complete refrigeration systems.
"These systems represent a value-laden package of engineering, design, and performance, while simplifying procurement," said Bill Merritt, global vice president, commercial refrigeration and system business.
"While Tecumseh continues to provide efficient reciprocating, rotary, and scroll compressor mechanisms for OEM applications, many customers have realized they need more help with refrigeration technology."
Tecumseh has structured its Refrigeration Systems Technology Centers (RSTC) to support OEMs. A key product category for the RSTC is the complete refrigeration systems (CRS) line, in which complete and modular refrigeration systems are manufactured in multiple RSTC facilities around the world.
"The Tecumseh offering begins with consultative engineering design assistance," said Merritt. "The Applications Engineering Team will work with a customer to go from a clean slate to a custom refrigeration solution. Other OEM's choose to hand over existing designs for a value engineering makeover."
After completing a system's requirements definition, Tecumseh engineers work through prototyping, reliability testing, agency approvals, and system proof testing. "This work not only relieves the OEM of engineering investment but also creates significant procurement savings," said Merritt.
"In a before example, the OEM could be supporting and procuring a hundred separate components," said Jim Rutz, director of marketing.
"That means the OEM is maintaining engineering records, drawings, specifications, quality control processes, and purchasing administration to support all of those components.
"With a CRS solution, all of those instances are reduced to just one procured item number. And because Tecumseh produces the entire system, Tecumseh controls the process of the complete package prior to shipping and installation into the OEM's cabinet or application, which results in lower warranty costs and reduced scrape rates for the OEM."
The typical anatomy of a CRS product is the same as any refrigeration system: compressor, condenser, evaporator, flow controls, fans, and perhaps a few other controls. "The value comes through the integrated design approach that results in a very compact package that becomes a plug and play solution for the OEM," said Rutz.
"While package systems can often sacrifice some efficiency and run louder than split systems, Tecumseh's use of more efficient compressor designs and careful airflow management often yields improvements for customers on these key attributes," Rutz said.
The result of Tecumseh's approach to the CRS offering has been a significant rate of adoption by their customers, according to the company. Installations include vending, food service, floral, walk-in box, and other cabinet designs.
For more information, visit www.tecumseh.com
Publication date: 04/03/2006