Show and Tell

by Bob Garrison
International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration’s annual meeting provides a first-hand glimpse at the latest ammonia refrigeration equipment, supplies, and services.
Think of it as a colorful version of “show and tell,” but with ammonia refrigeration equipment . . . blue compressors, green compressors, 18-foot tall steel condensers, giant centrifugal blowers, and bright silver refrigeration coils everywhere.
Let’s face it. There are not many trade shows dedicated to ammonia refrigeration. Yet that’s just what food and cold storage industry professionals found during the 26th annual conference of the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) showcasing the latest in everything from compressors and controls to contractor services and even carton tunnels.
“I was impressed with a number of equipment improvements including condenser and evaporator doors that provide more access,” said Darrell McKinnon, director of engineering for Atlanta-based Nordic Cold Storage LLC, a regional provider of third-party logistics services.
“There are new, single-screw compressors with a smaller footprint that will save space in the engine room and require less oil charge,” he adds. “Several refrigeration control systems now feature better graphics to make them more ‘user-friendly.’ I also saw new technology to monitor motor vibration levels. That’s good information to have because of mechanical integrity requirements for process safety management.”
“I’d never been to trade show with that type of emphasis. It was great being able to look over so many different technologies . . . and even climb inside a few of them,” added Michael Chapman, a risk management program specialist with Tyson Foods Inc. “Maintenance is critical to us and it was nice to see suppliers addressing that issue and providing improved access to refrigeration system components.”
Easy does it
Ease of maintenance was one of several themes highlighted by exhibitors. For example, accessibility was a key design feature on new Aircoil™ evaporator units from Baltimore Aircoil Co. (BAC) The Aircoil units showed hinged fan housings for easy service access to fan motors and fans, as well as maintenance access to coils and drain pans. BAC officials noted, as well, that Aircoil evaporator units have die-formed, continuous fins with a flat pattern and full-collar design to optimize performance, resistance to airflow, and cleanability.
Among BAC’s other highlights was the CXV evaporative induced draft condenser, an 18-foot-tall unit that IIAR attendees could walk into, climb over and otherwise inspect . . . from every angle. In addition to a patented heat transfer process (unique filter coil design reduces scale formation), the CXV design affords easy maintenance accessibility (from outside) with no more need for personnel to get wet in the service process.
Meanwhile, EVAPCO Inc. not only talked about its own new line of evaporators (the ST Series), but other maintenance-related improvements as well, including its new GoodTower Sentinel® monitoring system for evaporative cooling equipment.
The program keeps track of all cooling tower critical operating parameters including water temperature, inlet water pressure, basin water level, conductivity, pH, fan vibration, motor current, and run time. The unit immediately notifies operators of any “out-of-tolerance” conditions and as a result inspection time is reduced with any problem areas quickly identified.
Another operator-friendly improvement was EVAPCO’s new “Super Low Sound Fan” for cooling towers, closed circuit coolers and evaporative condensers. Available on all 8.5-ft. and 12-ft. wide applications, the fan is capable of reducing unit sound pressure levels 9 dB(A) to 15 dB(A).
Difference in the details
Still more products demonstrated operational improvements such as Frick’s, a branded unit of York Refrigeration Systems, debut of its latest RWF II compressor — applauded for combining the best in size with the best in operation and durability. Although it won’t be fully available until the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the company’s RWF II Model 134 — designed to fit small spaces to expand operating capacity without new construction — features flange mounted, low-noise motors (to eliminate cold and hot alignments, reduce sound); a SuperFilter™ oil management system with 50-percent greater dirt holding capacity (for longer bearing life); mounted, solid-state starters; and external oil cooling.
Keeping the field technician in mind, Frick also located all RWF II’s critical service points and openings on a single side.
Also combining size and efficiency in a small form was SUPERMAX™, a new all-welded plate heat exchanger from Tranter PHE Inc. Officials said SUPERMAX provides the thermal efficiency and compactness of a plate-and-frame unit under conditions that may ordinarily call for a shell-and-tube unit. Designed for use with liquids, gases and two-phase mixtures at pressures to 600 psig and at temperatures up to 1,000°F, SUPERMAX works with aggressive media such as organic solvents, steam heaters, and interchangers that are beyond the capability of a gasket plate and frame.
It’s a gas!
Instrumentation companies, ranging from manufacturers of refrigeration control systems like Hench Control Corp. to gas detection monitor suppliers Manning Systems Inc. and GfG Instrumentation — also brought new ideas and systems to the show.
A world leader in gas detection equipment, GfG demonstrated its CI21 ammonia stationary transmitter for food processing plants and refrigerated warehouses. Based on the Charged Carrier Injection sensor, officials said the CI21 provides continuous detection and monitoring of ammonia levels. Available in detection ranges up to 10,000 ppm, the CI-21 can operate in a wide range of temperatures (-35°F to 130°F) and humidity levels. Eliminating the need frequent sensor replacement, the CI21 is not depleted by ammonia exposures. A fast response (T90 <10sec.), long life and low maintenance make the CI21 transmitter an ideal sensor for most all ammonia detection applications.
Manning Systems showcased the GM-10 Multi-Channel Gas Monitoring System — a multi-channel stand-alone monitoring/safety device designed to support up to 10 Manning Systems gas detection sensors. It also can interface with plant central safety controls. Modular construction allows users to add up to 40 extra relay outputs and individual 4/20m — a signal output from each channel (total of 10). The GM-10, combined with Manning Systems gas specific sensors, covers the leak detection requirements and indicates gas concentration status for an entire plant at a single glance.
At your service
Related supplies and services complementing refrigeration equipment included showings by The Stellar Group, a design/build firm with a range of specialized services and RAE Corp., a broad supplier of heat transfer equipment.
Stellar’s offerings included a complete package of design, fabrication, installation, and contracting options. The company inventories refrigeration replacement parts and equipment at 25 regional distribution centers nationwide and likewise helps operators address Occupational and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) process safety management standard: Online & Onsite Auditing, Scheduled Compliance Reviews, P&ID evaluations & online storage, Onsite Operations & Maintenance Service, and Risk Management.
Also offering instant, on-line assistance is RAE, which officials said is one of the first companies in the air conditioning industry to provide automated technical support that combines selection, drawing, pricing, and processing. Meanwhile, RAE has augmented its offerings with the “raeStore,” an on-line store for replacement parts or refrigeration coils.
A leader in heat transfer equipment, RAE also bolstered its overall product line (Century Refrigeration, Refrigeration Systems, Technical Systems, and RAE Coils) with the recently acquired King Coil brand of stainless steel, carbon, and aluminum coils.
Options abound
Officials from Realcold Milmech USA and parent The Realcold Group discussed the company’s carton tunnel equipment for product freezing or chilling. The equipment has particular appeal to processors and cold storage operators working with dairy or meat products.
At a cost that’s comparable to manual blast cell conditioning, Realcold tunnels can condition more product in a smaller footprint, officials said. Carton products enter and exit the systems at optimum conditions thanks to two-pass product movement and uniform airflow, time and temperature. Meanwhile, the tunnels not only eliminate forklift traffic (and potential damage) but also the need for continuous labor and supervision.
IIAR’s annual conference featured as many as 20 different sessions including panel discussions and technical paper presentations. Topics ranged from “End-User Perspectives on Evaluating Contractors” to “Pressurization of Critical Process Areas.” Copies of published technical papers are available individually, in a printed bound volume and on CD. Papers are available to members and non-members. Visit or call (703) 312-4200 for details.
Mark your calendar
IIAR hosts its next annual ammonia refrigeration conference and exhibition March 13-16, 2005 in Acapulco, Mexico.
Bob Garrison is Editor-In-Chief of Refrigerated & Frozen Foods