UK: An industrial refrigeration system installed by Star Refrigeration in a Scottish fish plant has been running 24/7 with no cooling loss for almost 40 years.

Star installed the system for Associated Seafoods in 1979. It’s been running non-stop for an estimated 324,342 hours, and engineers reckon there is plenty of life left in the old girl yet.

The two refrigeration packages were supplied to Associated Seafoods for its cold storage and production facilities located on the Moray Firth coast of Scotland, in Buckie.

Star Refrigeration’s oldest cooling plant seems a relic from the past to the untrained eye, but the proud owners will tell you a different story. Built to last, each package consists of a single compressor, LPR, four-way valve with patented reverse-cycle defrost technology, an evaporator and twin-circuit condenser.

“It’s a great system, it still hits -25ºC in the cold store,” says Roddy McDonald, Associated Seafoods maintenance manager in charge of routine checks to the system.

“I’ve been here for around 27 years, and the system was already in place when I started. It is always running – 24/7. We worked out that it’s been running for 324,342 hours non-stop” he added.

Star’s Scottish regional manager Calum McKenzie said, “This is one of the first systems built using the low pressure receiver. During defrost, refrigerant flow is reversed, with hot gas flowing to the evaporator where the latent head of condensation is used to melt ice formation. This process has now been proven to be an exceptionally efficient way of defrosting and it is used in the most modern and energy-efficient refrigeration systems today.”

The systems initially ran on ozone-depleting R502and since converted to non-ozone-depleting and low global warming potential refrigerant.

Despite running for almost 40 years, Roddy MacDonald is confident Star’s system can keep going for another decade: “As long as it is kept well looked after as until now, it could keep going for another 10 years, easy.”