How many years are you working for DTE and in the cooling business in general? In 1977 I started as a machinist with the Royal Dutch Navy. Until 1990 I fulfilled various positions within the refrigeration technology as a 3rd class engineer and petty officer. After that I started working in civil society at various refrigeration companies. I have worked as a mechanic, commissioning engineer, installer and purchaser. Since 2015 I’m employed at DTE, initially as a mechanic and purchasing support, but since 2016 as a service coordinator.
What is your role within DTE? As a service coordinator I am the first point of contact for customers regarding service questions. This includes after-sales, scheduling appointments with customers for Maintenance & Inspection, repair or breakdown visits. Also the support of mechanics and preparatory work such as preparing correct documentation and arranging materials. If necessary, we consult the engineering department to share specific knowledge and to find the best solution. Furthermore, the handling of spare part requests is one of my tasks. In order to be able to answer a service question properly and quickly, the DTE machine number is always very important. This is a unique DTE machine number that can be found on the type plate of the machine, to which all specifications, history, etc. of the machine are linked.
What do you like most about your job? The unknown, with every phone call you don’t know what’s coming. You have global customers on the phone and you have to translate the customer’s observations into a possible actual problem. Besides experience in refrigeration technology, which is very important, also knowledge of the customer’s processes and installations can play a major role in solving the problem. Even though I can not always immediately solve a problem, I notice that it is important to customers to tell their story and feel heard. The feedback and nice reactions from the customer after solving a problem are very satisfying. For me as well as the colleagues in my team, because there contribution is also very important. I often notice some panic with the customer. So, I always try to bring some lightness and cheerfulness to maintain the balance in that situation.
How many machines have been installed since its start-up in 1984? I don’t know exactly, because we build a lot on a customer-specific basis. We now have about 1950 unique machine types in our system. In order to be able to provide the right support, good documentation of the built machines is very important. This is a strong point of ours, for example every machine is photographed before it is shipped. Photos are a good way to clarify things to the customer.
Do you have an example why only experts should work on a cooling machine? I remember being flown in by helicopter to an oil rig as a refrigeration engineer for an air handling unit malfunction. It turned out to be an HD malfunction, which was resolved after resetting. The cause was a loose electrical connection of the condenser fan. The malfunction was solved in a few minutes. But I spent 3 days on the oil rig before I could be flown back.
You would think that there would be enough technicians on such an oil rig to observe this. On the other hand, I often notice reluctance among non-refrigeration technicians to work on a cooler. Mainly because they have heard something about refrigerant gases and the strict legislation, but don’t know exactly how it works. We therefore prefer that customers contact us to prevent accidents and to find a solution together.