The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) is set to release guidelines designed to help users safely install, operate and maintain ammonia refrigeration systems that use a charge of 500 lbs or less (and under 100 lbs in the next step).

Known as Ammonia Resource Management - Low Charge (ARM-LC), the guidelines are a scaled-down version of the IIAR's ARM guidelines for ammonia systems using charges of between 500 and 10,000 lbs.

The aim is to help end users comply with the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires that a place of employment be “free from recognized hazards.” The guidelines are currently being reviewed before final publication at the end of the year.

Author of the ARM-LC guidelines, Peter Thomas, told Ammonia21 that the good news for operators seeking to convert to low-charge ammonia refrigeration is that under ARM-LC equipment manufacturers and contractors will shoulder most of the work involved in the safe operation and maintenance of these systems.

“For the owners, probably the most important thing they can do, outside of selecting the system that they're going to install, is selecting a good, qualified contractor,” he said.

Under the guidelines, contractors that install low-charge ammonia systems will still be responsible for training their on-site employees. The guidelines cover safety hazard training, monitoring of the system, and steps to take in an emergency.

Thomas said the ARM-LC guidelines recommend an audit of the system every five years, which he described as a fairly straightforward process. The document also includes templates that operators can use to create their own maintenance and operational procedures.

Locally, users wishing to learn more about low charge NH3 refrigeration systems can attend a presentation by Scantec managing director, Stefan Jensen, at the upcoming ARBS Exhibition to be held May 8-10, 2018.

Jensen's presentation includes local and international case studies. The presentation will also cover the future prospects of low charge NH3 technologies in areas such as plate freezing, in-line chilling and blast freezing and super low charge applications employing the LOGAS defrost concept.

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