Huber sent out a technician named Michael Nock to our facility on Monday, who I have nothing but positive reviews about. However, he seemed frustrated with some of the other people, and especially management at Huber, and while I can sympathize (having worked the field tech job and having to rep and answer to clients problems on expensive machinery that I had no hand in fucking up and making terrible decisions regarding), I think he should invest in the heaviest Sunday newspaper he can find to beat the brains out of some of the people in his office until they stop doing stupid shit.
With that said:
Our units are drastically undersized. I knew this from some calcs I had run prior to his arrival. I know this is not anyone in the Huber technical department, but I very much doubt that the tech side is incapable of sharing the calculations with the sales side who way overpromised the cooling abilities of the 815’s, even knowing what kind of load our business planned on putting them under. From my talk with Huber (George I think) the week prior, they told me that the 815’s are good for a maximum of 80-100L jacketed reactor (~20-25 gallon). Our plans called for a minimum of 35 and more likely 70 gallon (2x 35 gallon) reactor capacity. We realistically need at least 4x the cooling capacity that the 815’s can offer at -40C and don’t need units that go all the way to -85C like the 815’s do. Unfortunately that means a significant additional amount of money to go to higher power 6-series Unistats like the 620W.
Needless to say a sales guy bothering to do some basic math would have resolved many of these issues before we got them in the field and found that they are nowhere near powerful enough. IMO having worked with sales people that both the engineers and the technicians wanted to kill this is a management problem and not one that can be put on anyone on the technical side.
Other issues I brought up with my initial post:
Huber is sending me a new Pilot One controller for the unit which has thrown touchscreen errors and I will send the one which has continued to error back to them. It would have been better if Michael could have brought one with him but I understand if his corporate overlords won’t do the sane thing and just let him go to job sites with spare parts.
The can’t restart after error thing is frustrating. Michael said that they have to build these to comply with EU regulations which is why I can’t reset an error like E-63 (low pump pressure) without powering down the unit. I understand different regs for different areas, but the smart thing to do would be to allow these things to be flashed to the territory its getting sold in. They already seem to understand this as you can upfit other models to get them to be UL listed. Maybe not enough people have bitched about this “feature”.
Same deal with the lack of auto-restart attempt after alarm, this is probably also due to EU regulations.
Documentation is terrible. Michael agreed with me on this one. A quick start guide that is worth a shit would go a long way if you’re reading this, Huber management.
A corollary to the painfully bad documentation is the broken software. Michael showed me two other ways to data log which the manual doesn’t really delve into, one of which requires the laptop to be attached to the 815 via a USB cable. If the software is broken, either fix it or make it known that there are workarounds that need to be done in order to make datalogging work. This isn’t rocket science, and a disclaimer on the download page of Spycontrol or a Readme.txt file would go a long way towards not pissing off the people using the tools published on Huber’s website to do what the machine + software is advertised to do out of the box.
The lack of price and availability on process thermocouple is between Huber and the dealer we purchased the units through and since have been dealing with. Not sure exactly where the blame lies here. When Michael sent me quotes on other (larger) cooling units he included something about the process thermocouple but no price/availability information.
I think the air burping/level gauge/expansion tank process would be far less frustrating with a larger expansion chamber. Given that these 815’s are drastically undersized for the app we told Huber’s sales guy that we were using them for, this may be less of a design flaw and more of a problem with the person who promised the 815’s suitability for our intended application, and resulting mismatch of cooling equipment with the size of reactors we are using.
Huber has given us some options we are poring over to try and get the most throughput we can. Most of these seem to involve moving to a larger water cooled chiller with a secondary water cooler we can locate outside of the building. Associated cost is much higher, which isn’t the end of the world but would have been a lot easier to deal with the first go around rather than after we’ve found that what we’ve been sold is way too small for the task at hand.
I feel like Huber is making an earnest attempt to right this situation and I very much appreciate that, but at the same time a lot of these things would have been non-issues if their documentation was better and their sales force was trained better.