Total Process Cooling is an established name in the water-cooling industry, operating with 30 years experience in the market, before being acquired by Summit Systems in 2018. Summit TPC‘s expanded range includes the TPC portfolio, as well as Italian temperature control specialists, Frigel. Summit TPC’s Sales & Projects Manager, Richard Smith, is the next PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…
What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Summit TPC respond?
The main trend I experience and believe will continue to grow, is the desire for cooling systems in both plastics and the general industry as a whole to be more energy-efficient. Coolers with a lower energy use are favoured, reducing owners running costs and carbon footprint. A desire for more eco-friendly refrigerants in chillers is also a driving force.
While these are the key requirements for new installations, a lot of owners are still not aware that they can significantly reduce both their bills and carbon footprint by retrofitting a free cooler in their chiller line. The savings on such a device are always an eye-opener to owners, the savings on energy bills often pay for the investment in a free cooler in as little as 6 to 12 months. At Summit TPC, we are trying to make owners more aware with our retro-fit free cooler technology they can be ticking both boxes in terms of reducing bills and carbon footprint on their existing plant.
How has Summit TPC developed during your tenure?
At the start, Summit TPC already had a substantial range of cooling solutions, TPC had been supplying these for over 25 years to the plastics and general process sectors. However, Summit TPC’s philosophy has changed during my time here and is now much more focused on delivering an overall cooling solution, from start to finish. These solutions speed up production for injection moulders and, at the same time, reduce the running costs. We also now offer trials of equipment so customers can see the results for themselves before committing.
We have, at the same time, seen a bigger focus on our support side of the business, increasing our service and support department and preventative maintenance programs. This approach has been very welcomed by customers who want to focus on their production needs and know that any cooling will be looked after by Summit TPC.
We have also introduced monitoring systems, IoT (Internet of Things) for chillers, which is now growing in momentum. These monitoring systems not only give owners a lot of information at their fingertips but also allow them to become aware of a potential issue ahead of time, so it can be easily dealt with before an actual production-halting fault arises.
What do you credit as the key to your success?
It’s important to understand what your customers’ concerns are, what gives them issues in production, and from there, find the solution that removes those concerns with any system offered.
Secondly, you can never stop learning, whatever age, there is always new technology and ideas being introduced at Summit, and it is important to continue to take this on board and continue to grow!
What has been the greatest challenge in your career?
Starting a company with a blank piece of paper and the simple idea to create a cooling company that could give the right cooling solution to a customer, not just a single product. It was a gamble and the first few months was an education!
After 15 years it had grown but had gone as far as it could and was eventually taken over by a single product line manufacturer who then stayed with supplying a single type of cooler design.
Being part of Summit TPC has been a perfect solution because that original philosophy I believed in, the right equipment for the application, is the Summit philosophy.
What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an apprentice joining now?
There is always a solution to be found, so look at things from different angles before deciding on the correct one.
For an apprentice, I would say always keep asking questions and learn not just your own product ranges and solutions but everybody else’s.
What hidden talents do you have?
I play the guitar and write and release songs on digital outlets to the unsuspecting public!
I like the challenge of creating something from nothing. Last year I wrote a song with a French/Polish band for their album which is doing quite well and also played with my own band at a festival in France which was a great experience. The artists had free drinks, which are always a dangerous thing if you’re about to try and play!
I also play badminton at two different clubs and while I have a trophy from a few years back, I play now just for enjoyment.