Industrial refrigeration installer at CEF Industrie in Boulogne-sur-Mer, Cédric Dufossé has developed extensive expertise in his specialist area. A seasoned professional, this former soldier loves transferring his knowledge to younger generations.
“What I like about my job is having autonomy, working in the field and discovering different plants and processes with each new assignment.” Cédric Dufossé, 47, is an industrial refrigeration installer at CEF Industrie (a VINCI Energies business unit specialising in industrial and commercial refrigeration) in Boulogne-sur-Mer, in the Hauts-de-France region, northern France.
“My work involves starting up systems that have been sized by the design office and improving their efficiency,“ he explains. “It requires a lot of patience. You have to let a machine run in order to observe its behaviour and adjust the settings. It can take two or three weeks depending on the complexity of the system and the season.”
His job has a real impact on energy savings. For example, maintaining the efficiency of a machine set at -7 °C when it usually operates at -9 °C can generate electricity savings of 4% over the year.
Cédric Dufossé is currently involved in the commissioning of a new plant in Arras for biopharmaceutical firm LFB, which manufactures plasma-derived medicinal products. He finds the project particularly interesting since it covers “a large 12-MW refrigeration system with different temperature regimes (-25 °C, -8 °C and +6-12 °C), which are more complex to manage. I’m working alongside two automation specialists, adjusting the programming of the system to the required settings.”
“I enjoy sharing my knowledge and seeing young people grow in their field.”
He has been based on site since December 2022, and commissioning is due to take place by the end of May or beginning of June 2023.
Patience, accuracy and adaptability
This type of challenge does not faze an experienced technician like Cédric Dufossé. He recalls a particularly complex project carried out in 2019 for Frais Embal, a fish processing plant, in Boulogne-sur-Mer. “We had to start up two transcritical* systems, each operating with 800 kg of CO2, and to set up about 50 evaporators. Installation took one year and commissioning three weeks. Moreover, there was an additional requirement to take into consideration since the plant was due to move to a new site on a specific date,” says Cédric Dufossé.
Accuracy, patience and adaptability are all qualities that the CEF Industrie installer broadly acquired and developed in another life – the military. Having joined the naval infantry at 19, Cédric Dufossé, based in Poitiers then in Gabon for two years, undertook many missions, for instance in Kosovo, in a number of combat roles including sniper.
“After ten years, I wanted to get my career change under way by returning to my initial training as refrigeration specialist,” he explains. “At technical college, I was good at maths, physics and chemistry, so my teachers advised me to go into the refrigeration industry, a good source of employment. I was more tempted by electricity but I found my way in the end: in this job, 80% of activities are of an electrical nature.”
Expert and mentor
A refrigeration specialist in the army for seven years, he returned to civilian life and his home town of Boulogne-sur-Mer at the age of 36 to work for the company Axima Réfrigération, where he improved his automation and control skills. The relationship with his manager was not always easy: “I have a strong personality!” he says. So when in 2018 a former Axima colleague, who had left to work for CEF, put him in touch with his business unit manager, Cédric had no hesitation in joining the Boulogne-sur-Mer unit.
His experience as installer and service technician quickly made him the refrigeration expert in the company and a mentor for younger employees in the team. “I’m currently supporting two young team members,” notes Cédric Dufossé. “I give them technical assistance over the phone or, for more complex problems, on site. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and seeing young people grow in their field. It also enables me to maintain links with the team because being an installer is a solitary profession.”
Team spirit is something that Cédric Dufossé feels strongly about, as illustrated by his involvement over the past four years as representative on the company’s social and economic committee, an employee representative body. “This means I can be in contact with the business unit manager, other technicians and the rest of the staff. Since the lines of communication are kept open in the company, it is rewarding when you can move things forward for employees.”
The job takes time and, true to his principles, he intends to hand over to younger staff at the end of his term of office. Over the next few years, Cédric Dufossé’s ambition is to continue doing his job as an installer and to further support young people “so as to make way for the next generation.”
* A transcritical cycle is a thermodynamic cycle in which the refrigerant used can be below and above the critical point.