One of our most-loved brands, Tecumseh has been constantly innovating for the last 85-years. Their experts know reliability is vital in refrigeration, which is why they promise ‘cooling for a better tomorrow.’
It’s the company’s commitment to rigorous quality assurance and continuous improvement that’s ensured that the units we stock remain reliable and robust, even in the most extreme conditions.
Andrew Williamson, Product Innovation and Quality Leader at the Reece Group explains how we choose our partners:
“We work with suppliers that have that joint vision with us to empower our customers, so that they can be successful in the market.”
Andrew Williamson and Roger Stringer (Product Testing Lead – Refrigeration) work as part of the Reece Group’s Product Innovation and Testing Lab team, ensuring that our products deliver. We spoke to them about Tecumseh’s long-term effectiveness and commitment to innovation, reliability, and quality assurance.
What does the lab look for when designing, assessing, and testing products?
Roger Stringer: The lab tries to take a very holistic approach. We must think of all of our customers; the contractor and the end users.
We look to make sure the products are fit for purpose and do what they're designed to do. They need to meet all the required standards, be very safe, and easy to use and install.
What is quality assurance?
Andrew Williamson: Quality assurance, for us, is about covering all bases. There are lots of elements in the research and development process where we identify spaces that could create quality concern issues in the future.
Compressors and condensing units are first tested at the manufacturing facility by Tecumseh. Then they are tested by our third-party partners in the manufacturing facility, who assess the product before shipment. Finally, at Reece we make sure that we've tested product in the lab before it goes to market.
Our branches and customers are integral in this process – we listen to how they feel about the product and whether the product is meeting their needs.
What are some of the quality assurance processes we have in place?
RS: During the production process, Tecumseh checks the product multiple times along the production line.
They test-run every condensing unit at the end of the production line and record that data. When the first production run product is delivered, we take some random samples and we test those thoroughly in our lab as well, so that we can confirm that the data that Tecumseh realised in their tests is what we see here.
How do we ensure that standard is met for the Australian market?
RS: Standards are really important, as they're all about safety – we incorporate this into the design process.
We have a checklist for every type of product that we are developing, and we check that that product meets all the items in that checklist before going into production. We work very closely with every supplier on every step of the process.
How has Actrol been able to help Tecumseh?
RS: Tecumseh are the experts in refrigeration and commercial refrigeration, especially their equipment. We however are the experts in the local market.
The products that we stock from Tecumseh these days are very different to the products that Tecumseh would have created, had we not been part of that supply chain.
The success of the Tecumseh product in Australia is largely due to that renowned reliability that Tecumseh have. All those little add-ons and changes that we've made along the journey to tailor the product to be specific Australian and New Zealand market.
What specific things have we done with Tecumseh?
RS: We do lots of little things that people probably don't even notice. We fold the base plates of the condensing units so that it’s always 20 millimetres; so that when you got to lift a product, you don't hurt your fingers or cut yourself.
We've added little copper tails so that it is a copper-to-copper join, which is much easier than if it's copper to brass, or copper to steel.
The electricals we've designed with a similar flow all the way through the product ranges. So, if one of our customers works on a small HTA Evo unit, they'll find very, very similar electrics in the very largest ACPAC that we produce.
And that means that when you're out at two o'clock in the morning trying to fix something, it's all familiar. That makes it very easy for our customers – which is what we want.
Our product range includes open condensing units in our HTA range as well as packaged condensing units in our brands ACPAC and COMPAC, which both feature Tecumseh compressors.
Actrol’s strong relationship with Tecumseh ensures that their units, spare parts, and technical information are available right across Australia and New Zealand.