Food and-beverage industry keeps its cool with latest refrigerants

28 August 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201811207

Food & Beverage
Heating, Cooling & Ventilation
Transport & Logistics

TO comply with local and international regulations and requirements, the South African food-and-beverage industry is moving from commonly-used refrigerants such as R404, R507, and R22 to natural refrigerants such as R600, R290, and carbon dioxide, in addition to new-generation HFO blends.

At the same time, a flood of imports of sub-standard refrigerants in disposable cylinders from a plethora of global suppliers is hampering the cooling capacity of systems. That’s according to A-Gas South Africa sales representative Werner Terblanche.

He said this also raised a red flag for environmental issues such as leakage from poorly-maintained systems, and subsequent venting into the atmosphere, which has a major impact in terms of global warming. Against this background, A-Gas South Africa launched its Rapid Recovery aftermarket service.

“The main aim of Rapid Recovery for the food-and-beverage industry, in particular, is to ensure it complies with all necessary local and international regulations and requirements. It is both a local and global requirement that all refrigerant gases be recovered due to the potential adverse environmental impact,” Terblanche said.

A-Gas has applied its Rapid Recovery model sucessfuly in Europe and the US, and has now extended this service offering to Africa. “In this way, we can assist both end users and contractors in being fully compliant, at minimal cost and in the fastest time possible.”

For example, the service can recover 700 kg of refrigerant in as little an hour, as opposed to days with traditional methods, which represents a major cost-saving for the food-and-beverage industry, where any downtime has a huge implication for both productivity and the bottom line. The Rapid Recovery service is also ideal to assist technicians who are either effecting essential repairs or decommissioning older systems.

Another important service offered to the food-and-gas industry is Gas-Trak Online (GTO), an interne- or smartphone-based program that allows end users from companies to technicians to monitor and control their cylinder fleets. “A lot of companies acquire cylinders from multiple suppliers, which they can then centralise for optimal distribution and tracking purposes,” Terblanche said.

It also allows for increased transparency as to the total quantity of refrigerant consumed.

All refrigerants supplied by A-Gas South Africa comply with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards. This is a global professional association that advances heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration system design and construction worldwide.

“However, there are suppliers importing inferior product into Africa, and end users have to be fully aware that this is not in accordance with the necessary regulations and requirements. Therefore, we have seen a marked increase in customers from Africa enquiring about the latest advances in both refrigerant development and regulatory compliance.”

According to Terblanche, a good example of the latter is South Africa being a signatory to the Kigali Agreement, an extension of the Montreal Protocol, which regulates the phasedown of refrigerants with a high global warming potential.

As both an ISO 9001- and IS0 14001-accredited company, clients can rest assured that A-Gas South Africa supplies only the latest ‘green’ refrigerants and technology. “Our refrigerants are not only tested prior to being exported but are retested upon arrival at their destination by independent laboratories.

“Africa is a growth hub at the moment, with rising populations and increasing urbanisation rates. This means that the food-and-beverage industry in Africa itself is expanding, which has also resulted in increased demand for our advanced products and services,” Terblanche said.

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