The Rental Option For Food Manufacturers
By Marc White, director, Carrier Rental Systems
Effective temperature control is a vital component of modern food production. Most processes involve the application of heat and cooling at various stages, and making sure it is delivered in the right quantity at the right time is key to the final quality and safety of the product.
There are a number of situations where it makes sense to rent rather than purchase equipment. The most obvious is when equipment breaks down. A batch of products may be partially processed and vulnerable to spoilage unless quick action is taken. In addition, a stopped production line can threaten the fulfillment of orders and quickly cost a business significant revenue.
In this situation, renting temporary cooling or heating provides an immediate solution. It can be up and running within a couple of hours, saving the day and giving breathing space for existing equipment to be repaired.
Another situation where hiring makes sense is when there are periodic or seasonal surges in production. Adding capacity with hire plant enables producers to capitalise on demand, without investing cash on new equipment that may not be needed next month.
Research and development is also an important area to consider. Producers keen to develop new lines may find innovation difficult, particularly if they are already at full stretch. Hiring equipment gives the extra capacity to enable development work to go ahead, without a huge capital outlay that would otherwise be difficult to justify.
Finally, some companies still operate cooling equipment dependent on R22 refrigerant, which is being phased out. If there is a leak, it is now illegal to top-up systems with R22. This means that such equipment is now effectively obsolete, exposing the producer’s business to significant risk.
Renting chilling equipment running on a suitable alternative refrigerant provides a valuable safety net, that ensures continuity of production and gives the manufacturer time to plan and budget for the replacement of obsolete plant in the longer term. An extra benefit is that modern hire equipment may be much more efficient than older plant, and result in lower running and production costs.
Specialist hire companies such as Carrier Rental Systems, with experience of food and drink production, will be able to advise on particular equipment needs. This includes not only chilling and heating plant, but also the ancillaries required, such as pumps, fans and electrical systems.
The benefits of renting don’t stop at crisis management. For example, there are significant tax advantages to hiring equipment, as the cost is 100per cent allowable against corporation tax. Renting also helps companies budget, as hire costs are fixed in advance with all servicing and maintenance included.
In our case, this includes 24/7 call out in recognition of the critical nature of plant to production.
For some companies, the cost-certainty offered by rental is so attractive that they choose it as their preferred way of financing major items of temperature control plant. The assurance of fixed payments, plus 24/7 call-out in the event of breakdown, can be compelling.
Given this, it is perhaps not surprising that long term rental is a very popular option in the food and drink sector.