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January 10. 2003

Air conditioning and refrigeration system maintenance

To comply regulations aimed at reducing the amount of refrigerants released into the atmosphere, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems on ships must operate efficiently and be repaired promptly when leaks are detected.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations stipulate that only EPA approved equipment may be utilized by personnel carrying out repairs on refrigeration systems on vessels in U.S. waters. Failing to comply can result in an instant fine of $27,500 for ship owners and operators. The EU and other authorities also impose strict requirements in this area.

Purging a system of refrigerant is often necessary when carrying out repairs. An investment in approved equipment that performs this task saves the ship operator money that would have otherwise been spent on new refrigerants to refill the system.

The Unitor Refrigerant Recovery Package

Unitor's new Refrigerant Recovery Package comprises a complete set of approved equipment for efficient and effective onboard recovery, recharging and re-use of refrigerants. The equipment meets all current U.S. EPA and EU legislation, requirements and approvals and enables air-conditioning and refrigeration systems to be maintained in full compliance with current regulations.

The Unitor Refrigerant Recovery Package is supplied complete with the following components. Individual elements of the package may also be purchased separately:

  • A Vacuum Gauge, used to determine if proper vacuum has been obtained. It will also help indicate if the system is not leak-tight.
  • A Recovery Unit that has been developed specifically for marine use. The unit is light, portable and meets the most stringent industry standards. Features include an oil-free compressor and HP switch and a recovery rate of up to 380 kg per hour.
  • An Inlet Drier for the Recovery Unit, a 3-pack of spare filters that remove dirt, moisture and particles from the refrigerant being recovered.
  • A cordless, portable Electronic Leak Detector. Can detect as little as 5 ppm, making it one of the most sensitive units available. Features a six-segment visual leak size indicator and a variable frequency audible alarm.
  • A Recovery Cylinder with two connection ports to enable charging of liquid and extraction of vapour simultaneously (most cylinders have only one port with a non-return valve). The Recovery Cylinder is delivered with a complete set of documentation including
  • A multi-exchangable label to be affixed to the cylinder for proper product and vessel identification. The label can be used for all types of refrigerants.
  • Filling and cylinder handling procedures
  • Technical drawings of cylinders
  • Material Safety Data Sheets
  • A Digital Weighing Platform, used to avoid overfilling the Recovery Cylinder and ensuring that the exact amount of refrigerant charged into the system can be logged. This aids monitoring of consumption and leakage.
  • A four-way Manifold with pressure and suction gauges and an optical sight glass and connection hoses. This gives a full overview of system performance and visually monitoring the system during refrigerant recharging.
  • A Vacuum Pump that removes moisture and non-condensable gases after the system has been opened for maintenance and repair. The pump has two stages, a rating of 20 microns and a displacement of 113 liters/min.

The Unitor Refrigerant Recovery Package is part of Unitor's total refrigeration offer that includes systems and equipment for newbuildings, conversions and retrofits; worldwide availability of R-22 plus the new "alternative refrigerants;" a network of refrigeration service stations in 14 major ports and spare parts centres in America, Europe and Asia.

For more information