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David Soyka reports on how Republic Refrigeration flawlessly fabricates custom designed cooling systems with the latest technological advancements employing over 200 years of combined design and build experience committed to customer goals and satisfaction.
Republic Refrigeration does it all— design, build, install, maintain industrial refrigeration services and solutions that improve efficiencies and increase profits for a range of food processing, cold storage, chemical and pharmaceutical and distribution companies through the United States, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. It even provides safety training and regulatory compliance programs on the use of its systems.
“We are not only one of the largest providers of industrial refrigeration services in North America, we are perhaps the only full-service company,” says CEO Walter F. Teeter. “Republic Refrigeration can provide a complete end-to-end solution or just perform a specific task, such as if a customer comes in with a blueprint and just wants us to install a system to spec.”
He adds, “Another thing that makes Republic Refrigeration unique is we’ve developed a Process Safety Management program to ensure our customers remain in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations as well as the latest industry safety and insurance compliance standards. I believe we are only one of four or five contractors in the country that offer employee safety programs. We also provide our NH3 PSM Pro web-based software for customers to track and store all components of PSM documentation. In addition, our technicians routinely stay up-to-date with the latest requirements and safety bulletins specific to an individual project. We even help customers comply with often confusing Chemical Facility Anti- Terrorism (CFAT) filing requirements with the Department of Homeland Security.”
Of course, Republic Refrigeration’s core service begins with quality design and engineering that ensures conception leads to a finished project that cost-effectively achieves desired results. “Every project is unique,” Teeter notes. “You simply cannot cut corners with a one-size-fits-all approach. We sit down with our customers to determine their processes and their short- and long-term goals, as well as any safety issues and regulatory compliance issues specific to their facilities and locations. With this information we can design a refrigeration system that is the most economical, efficient and easily expandable. We take a proactive approach to complete every project within budget, with minimal to no changes to the initial design, and on-time.”
Headquartered in North Carolina, Republic Refrigeration has a staff of eight graduate engineers, six professional engineers and twelve seasoned superintendents. Teeter himself is a professional engineer with degrees in mechanical engineering and economics.
“Of course, every customer is concerned with price. Our extensive engineering expertise helps ensure we provide the value customers are looking for,” Teeter says. “Good engineering also creates systems that are highly energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Today’s customers are looking for solutions that feature reduced refrigeration charge and better water usage. We’re also seeing a resurgence in CO2 (carbon dioxide) refrigerant systems, particularly in supermarket equipment. This is because CO2 is a natural and comparatively inexpensive refrigerant with low global warming potential, with equivalent or better performance than traditional refrigerants.”
Teeter emphasizes that a dedicated sales engineer oversees every project from beginning to end. “That’s another key differentiator of Republic Refrigeration,” he says. “Most other companies have shifting points of contact—a salesperson at the beginning of the project, then an engineer during installation and then someone else to service post-install. In contrast, our customers are assigned a single-point-of-contact completely familiar with their individual needs and requirements throughout every phase of a project, from design through installation to ongoing maintenance. Whenever our customers need to talk to someone, they talk to someone directly involved in the project who fully knows what is going on from all engineering, logistical, safety and regulatory aspects. We provide the best in the industry working with them from conception to finished product.”
Teeter stresses that Republic Refrigeration’s unparalleled customer commitment is what sets it apart from other industrial refrigeration contractors. “Our guiding principle for any project, whatever the project’s size or scope, is to partner with customers to provide uncompromised quality and integrity towards helping them exceed their goals for productivity and cost savings.” Which explains how Republic Refrigeration can boast a 90 percent rate of repeat business, well above the industry standard.
Typically, where most projects run over schedule and over budget is during the installation phase. “We minimize the potential for installation problems by anticipating problems during the design phase and developing contingency plans,” Teeter says. “By looking for problems before they actually become problems, we avoid nasty surprises that cost time and money.”
Piping is a key factor not only to achieve proper installation, but ongoing efficiency. “One of our design principles is to route piping in a straight line wherever possible. Corners and long runs slow the rate of flow. Proper pipe sizing also ensures proper refrigerant flow and maximum operational efficiency,” Teeter points out. “Consequently, we guarantee a clean, leak-free system with all components optimally aligned. The result is less maintenance with easier repairs and updates.”
Republic Refrigeration maintains three fabrication facilities in the southern United States, totaling some 72,000 square feet, fully compliant with all governing costs standards, including ANSI/ASME Section IX, ANSI/ASME B31.3 Process Piping and B31.5 Refrigeration Piping. “Assembling components in a controlled environment results enables us to install a system that is as ‘clean’ as possible,” Teeter points out. “Our modular engine rooms provide leak-free, trouble- free environments to fabricate and assemble systems.”
In addition to fabrication, Republic Refrigeration maintains its own dedicated electrical controls and pipe insulation departments. “By not relying on outside contractors to provide these services, we can achieve higher quality control, Teeter notes.
No industrial system is a “set it and forget it” installation, either. “Our commitment to after-sale service is another characteristic that sets Republic Refrigeration apart,” Teeter says. Factory trained technicians are available 24/7 to provide everything from routine service and parts to emergency repairs.
All of which goes to prove how a company in the business of keeping things cool can offer customers such a warm reception.