IIAR’s First Central America Conference Highlights Industry Growth

The International Institute of Ammo­nia Refrigeration held its first regional seminar for Central America and the Caribbean in Costa Rica last month, an event that marked the organization’s increasing involvement in education and safety advocacy in Latin America.

IIAR leaders said the seminar attracted a record number of attendees, from eight different Latin American countries, and offered an unprecedented opportunity for the organization to work with industrial refrigeration groups inside Costa Rica.

Seminar participants said they attended the October 15-16, 2013 meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica, to take advantage of the edu­cation and networking opportunities in a region that is seeing an increased focus on industrial refrigeration.

In Central America, where, in many cases, government regulations and safety practices are evolving to keep pace with development, the time has never been better for IIAR to supply its extensive re­sources. And that need is especially clear in countries that have not been tradition­ally focused on ammonia refrigeration, said Ricardo Mardones, President and General Manager of Houston-based consultancy, RIMA Refrigeration.

“There are no standards that ex­ist here [in Central America] that the industry can follow,” added Mardones, “So there is a big emphasis on promot­ing and adopting the IIAR standards within this region. Everyone who does business here is aware that we need these standards to grow as an industry, and to grow safely.”

Mardones was not the only U.S.-based IIAR member in attendance at the Costa Rica seminar. Large companies like GEA Refrigeration and Parker Hannifin are also looking south to new markets, and advocat­ing the widespread adoption of IIAR’s educational resources.

“There are many companies that are investing in this region now,” said Mauricio Quiroga, Sales Manager for Mexico and Central America for GEA. “Where markets were once more closed, they are opening up to investment in spurring the growth of industries that depend on our technology.”

Growing demand for agricultural products that are traditionally export­ed from Central American countries and recent free-trade agreements are bolstering an expanding cold chain.

At the same time, several of those countries, newly minted as eco-tourism destinations, find themselves facing mounting pressure, either as a result of their involvement in agree­ments like the Montreal Protocol or from the expectations of their new tourist visitors, to find environmen­tally responsible cooling technologies.

“There are a lot of agricultural produce industries, like those that grow tropical fruits and vegetables that de­pend on industrial refrigeration,” said Quiroga. “Those industries are grow­ing, but we’re more focused on ammo­nia refrigeration these days, not only because of that growth, but because there is a real emphasis on eliminating hydrocarbons in this region.”

IIAR Shatters Attendance Records, Sets New Goals at 2014 Conference

The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration hit record attendance numbers, signed agreements with industry organizations ASHRAE and RETA, and drew participation from the Department of Homeland Security at its Conference & Heavy Equipment Show, an event that marked a variety of transitions and new initiatives for the association this year.

The three days of networking at industry sponsored events was an opportunity for IIAR conference-goers to meet other professionals in the industry while taking advantage of the technical knowledge and resources available on the exhibition floor and at technical program presentations.

“This was such a great conference on a number of levels. We saw a record total turnout, including the largest-ever number of international attendees and exhibitors,” said 2014 Conference Chair Tom Leighty.

“We had more participants than ever from the end user environment, and the technology showcased on the exhibit hall floor was really an amazing testament to the advances our industry is making.”

The conference, which was held at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel and Convention Center, March 23 – 26, drew over 1,500 attendees, many of whom were new to the event.

IIAR president Dave Rule said the increase in international attendance at this year’s event underscores the growing momentum of natural refrigerants around the world, a trend that was on display on IIAR’s exhibit hall floor.

“The exhibit hall floor was very impressive this year in terms of the quality and diversity of the products on display,” he said. “With more international exhibitors participating than ever before, it demonstrated that IIAR is growing and our industry is gaining importance, not just here, but around the world.”

The enthusiasm and dedication of the organization’s membership was also on display. Attendees representing a significant cross section of IIAR participated in committee work, discussed new ideas presented in technical papers and focused on safety in two special pre-conference training sessions.

“This level of participation really shows the strength of our membership,” said Rule. “Just walking through the conference rooms and the exhibit hall, I could see and hear the excitement surrounding the different types of technology that are beginning to develop.”

One of the always popular subjects being discussed at IIAR’s conference was the development of small charge systems. But, said Rule, the excitement went beyond small charge, encompassing the many new components and systems that are changing the industry and making it more efficient.

“New design is everywhere these days. So much new technology is being developed by manufacturers. From new designs in controls and valves to changes in larger equipment design, we’re finding ways to operate much more efficiently using smaller amounts of refrigerant in our systems.”

Rule said such conversations about efficiency and charge levels will grow ever more important in the coming years as the industry looks for ways to control energy costs and minimize the impact the regulatory environment can have on operations.

“When we talk about reducing charge, there’s a regulatory component to consider,” he said, adding that reducing the amount of ammonia in a system, even if the total charge remains above ten thousand pounds, makes it easier to manage a system.

“Reducing the charge of a system can provide a company with several advantages when it comes to managing regulatory issues around that system, and ultimately, that reduction lowers the operating costs over the lifecycle of a package being installed.”

Industry input on regulatory issues was also an important theme at the recent meeting, which featured a special panel on Department of Homeland Security initiatives, led by DHS Director of Infrastructure Security Compliance, David Wulf.

According to Wulf, who also participated in a meeting with IIAR’s Board of Directors, engaging with IIAR on the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program is a major goal of the Department this year.

As a special guest at IIAR’s meeting, he shared information on the DHS regulatory program and invited IIAR members to get involved in the stakeholder discussions that are currently advancing the mission of his division.

The Department’s participation was significant for IIAR because the regulatory environment is growing and its impact on the industry is emphasized more than ever before, said Rule.

“It is very important that our membership has the opportunity to interact directly with government officials, and not just rely on IIAR to interact on their behalf,” he said.

“DHS participation in our meeting this year was significant because it allows the industry to have a two-way conversation and gives regulators like David Wulf the opportunity to lay out the plan the government is developing and discuss the direction they’re taking with their programs.”

Given the organization’s focus on regulatory issues, fostering a close relationship with DHS as well as other government agencies – like OSHA and EPA – will be a continued priority for IIAR in the coming year.

“Informing the regulatory environment is increasingly important, especially as new technologies that make use of ammonia and other natural refrigerants open the door to new commercial applications and present new ways to meet the nation’s environmental goals,” said Rule.

Meanwhile, IIAR’s Leighty emphasized the organization’s ongoing effort to provide special educational programs at each conference, in addition to the traditional IIAR technical paper presentations.

“We continued to offer in-depth training sessions on the Sunday before the start of the conference,” he said, adding that the two back-to-back sessions, one emphasizing Safety Training and the other focused on Process Safety Management, were integral to IIAR’s educational goals this year.

“We’re trying to increase the in-depth technical training available to our members and provide any resources that can help end users, contractors and engineers – especially those just coming into our industry.”

Leighty added that IIAR signed two new MOU’s, or Memorandums of Understanding, with organizations RETA and ASHRAE, which will help it further the industry’s safety goals by working more closely on shared initiatives.

Rule said that the MOUs will help IIAR more closely coordinate industry responses to requests for information, or RFI’s, from regulators.

“We’ve already worked together with RETA on an OSHA RFI earlier this year,” he said. “That kind of coordinated response is so important because it shows that the recommendations we put forward have support from a broad segment of our industry.” Looking forward, this year’s conference set IIAR up to pursue a number of exciting projects and work goals, thanks in no small part to the hard work of its staff and membership, said Leighty.

We’re thankful for “the talents and resources that our members bring to this organization, especially the effort of all of our staff in making such a large event a great success,” he said.

“We’re getting ready for another great show in San Diego next year,” he said. “And we’re excited to carry the energy of our sponsors, exhibitors and members into the next IIAR event.”

IIAR’s 2015 Industrial Refrigeration Conference & Exhibition will be held March 22 – 25 in San Diego, California.

IIAR’s Ninth Industrial Refrigeration Seminar Highlights Growth in Latin America

The International Institute of Am­monia Refrigeration held its ninth Industrial Refrigeration Seminar in Latin America in Chile in August, an event that marked the organization’s increasing involvement in education and safety advocacy in the region.

IIAR leaders said the seminar at­tracted a record number of attendees from ten different Latin American countries, reflecting a growing level of participation of IIAR members throughout Latin America.

The seminar was produced by IIAR with the support of the Chilean Chamber of Refrigeration.

Seminar participants said they at­tended the August 21-22 meeting in Santiago, Chile, to take advantage of the education and networking opportunities in a region that is see­ing an increased focus on industrial refrigeration.

In South America, IIAR and the Chilean Chamber of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning provide technical resources that serve to inform a grow­ing industry, especially through events like the recent seminar, said Cristian Cuadros, Deputy Manager of Industrial Processes for Compañía de Cervecerías Unidas, or United Breweries Company.

“In general, our group is always seeking continuous improvement and looking for the best existing practices in the market and specifically from this seminar,” he said. “We seek the best techniques to perform our job well, and our main objective is to take care of people, safety and then pre­serve quality. We have to make sure our equipment meets the standards required for [safety and] the quality we need in our products.”

Cuadros added that industrial re­frigeration seminars in Latin America are instrumental in helping his com­pany meet that need.

The events “help us a lot because there are many instances where we learn and gain a better understand­ing of this knowledge and then we can share it within our organization,” he said.

“That is my main goal . . . to take the best practices from other parts of the world, and replicate and carry them out. Our operations are based on continuous improvement, so we are always searching for the best. If a standard says to move in a particular direction, then that is the direction we go; and if a standard doesn’t exist, we look for the best guidance like what is presented here [at the seminar].”

The Chilean Chamber of Refrigera­tion and Air Conditioning operates an extensive education and advocacy program in the region, producing the Expo Frio Calor Chile trade show, the second largest event of its kind in the region after Brazil’s FEBRAVA show.

The organization is collaborating on the development of the country’s first ammonia-specific regulation, formed a certification program and is working with other parties in Chile to produce a best practices manual for Chile´s ammonia refrigeration industry, said Alejandro Requesens, President of the Chilean Chamber of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, in his inaugural ad­dress to seminar participants.

The regulation, which the Cham­ber is currently working with Chile’s Health Ministry and local IIAR members to develop, will be the first regulation in the country to address ammonia refrigeration specifically.

Collaboration between govern­ment and private industry to develop the regulation was an initiative that arose from the concern generated by a series of ammonia incidents in the O’Higgins region of Chile, an impor­tant agribusiness center, said Carolina de la Fuente, a representative of the Department of Occupational Health of Chile’s Health Ministry.

During a presentation at the IIAR seminar, De la Fuente said the intent of Chile’s regulation is to boost inci­dent prevention, describing it as a tool that will allow companies to control the risks associated with ammonia refrigeration systems.

De la Fuente estimated that work on the regulation is now 70 percent complete and said she expects it to conclude at the end of this year, allow­ing the regulation to enter into force in 2015 with an implementation program taking effect prior to enforcement.

While the development of the regu­lation  is one, very visible milestone, it is part of a larger focus in Chile on ammonia and other natural refriger­ants, said Peter Yufer, a member of the Chilean Chamber of Refrigera­tion and Air Conditioning’s board of directors.

He added that the cooperation of the public and private sectors on the development of the best practices manual for ammonia refrigeration paved the way for further cooperation in the development of the regulation and certification program.

According to Yufer, who coordi­nated the working groups involved in developing the manual, the project has already had an impact in Chile, establishing a good working relation­ship between the Chilean government and private sector representatives of the ammonia refrigeration industry. IIAR members Patrick Fossey of AMRISA and Giorgio Magnani of In­tercal played key roles in the project, and were also integrally involved in the organization of the recent IIAR seminar, said Yufer.

Developing that best practices manual – and pursuing other train­ing and regulatory activities – will have a big impact on the growth of the industrial refrigeration industry in Chile, he said.

With the manual, “We are mainly concerned with finishing the work we began two and a half years ago which only aims to raise the safety standards for the people in Chile. We hope this can serve as an example [to other countries in Latin America] whether as a motivation to do something simi­lar, or copy what we’re doing. This is definitely a source of pride for us.”

Yufer added that the Chamber is open to collaborating with other countries that are pursuing the same safety and efficiency objectives.

“In everything we have developed, we have received support and assis­tance from outside; for example, IIAR has provided us with unconditional support. We know that in matters of safety and development, no one has the absolute truth. We all contribute a grain of sand, and as we were helped, we should help too. This is a moral obligation.”

Beyond updates on regulatory and industry activities in the region, IIAR’s seminar was also heavily focused on delivering technical information in a format that mirrored IIAR’s annual conference and exhibition.

This year’s seminar was the first to offer the same technical program in two separate rooms, allowing for more interaction between speakers and attendees, said IIAR International Programs Director, Chris Combs.

The technical presentations deliv­ered at the seminar included two CO2 related topics, addressing the growing interest of CO2 refrigeration technolo­gies in the region. The program also included a special plenary presentation on CO2 in Industrial Refrigeration Systems by Eurammon Chair Monika Witt. A presentation on CO2 brine for low temperature chambers followed.

Other technical presentations cov­ered defrost procedures as outlined in Chile’s best practices manual, pipe sizing and evaporator certification.

Speakers from the three valve manufactures also participated in the seminar to deliver a revised version of their 100-minute valve maintenance workshop, first presented at the IIAR Industrial Refrigeration Seminar in Costa Rica in 2013. 

“We’re excited to be a part of the industry in Chile, and make the exper­tise of our members and our organi­zation available wherever possible,” said Combs. “Industrial refrigeration is growing in this region, and the ben­efits of collaboration have never been more visible.”

AAR Announces Mumbai Conference

Following the success of ARCON 2014, the Association of Ammonia Refrigeration said it is pleased to organize its second annual meeting on Industrial Refrigeration Industry, ARCON 2015 in Mumbai, India.

Industrial refrigeration systems are a must for various food and beverage industries as well as the process industry, and the market has been growing rapidly over the recent years, ARCON said. Apart from meeting the growth, the refrigeration industry in India has an obligation towards offering the best design, safety, efficiency and sustainable systems and products, ARCON said.

AAR said ARCON 2015 is the meeting place for industry experts to discuss ammonia refrigerant trends, safe operation, and the latest technology advances and regulatory issues in India.

The event, which will be held January 31, 2015, targets around 250 decision makers including leading retailers, industrial end users, component and system suppliers, training institutes, associations and more.

The event will also include an exhibition to showcase refrigeration products, systems and service providers as well as provide opportunities for networking.

The theme for ARCON 2015 is “Safe Practices in Ammonia Refrigeration Systems,” AAR said. Presentation topics and panel discussions will focus on safe operation, preventative maintenance, system design, process safety management, risk analysis, standards for industrial refrigeration applications with inputs from key government representatives, consultants, end users, subject matter experts as well as technology providers.

New features for the 2015 edition include more knowledge and networking opportunities, optional site visits and several new technology case study sessions on ammonia refrigeration systems, AAR said.

IIAR Announces Night Out at Ballpark, Navy Seal Keynote for 2015 Conference

As we move into the fall season, thoughts of IIAR’s annual conference in March seem almost premature but the IIAR staff is already putting the final touches on preparations for our 2015 conference in San Diego, and there are many exciting new features to announce.

To begin, the facility hosting the event, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, benefits from the combination of very professional staffing and an outstand­ing location. Positioned right on the San Diego bay, it is just an easy walk from the Hilton to Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres and to the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego’s historic entertainment and dining district.

The Gaslamp Quarter is a sixteen block area that is home to more than 100 restaurants and is the location for more than 70 shops and boutiques. Rich in history, there are more than 90 Victo­rian era buildings in the Quarter and it is reported that Wy­att Earp once ran four different saloons and gambling halls there. Today, the area bustles with activity day and night.

At the Hilton, our meeting rooms are large and contemporary as this modern facility opened in 2008. Public areas in and around the hotel are at­tractive and spacious, providing ample opportunity for all of those important side meetings within our meeting.

When the conference opens, the keynote speaker will be Rear Admiral Ray Smith (Ret.), former Commander of the Navy SEAL Force. As the Na­val Special Warfare Training Center, where Navy SEAL training is con­ducted, is located minutes from the Hilton we are fortunate to have been able to arrange for this inspiring and accomplished speaker.

Admiral Smith served as a Navy SEAL for almost 39 years and served as Commander for the 2300 man SEAL force for a four-year tenure, leading them through over 200 missions in Operation Des­ert Storm without incurring a single casualty. His talk to us, focusing on leadership and applying the lessons learned from the elite SEAL teams to the industrial refrigeration business is certain to be a conference highlight.

Additionally, Admiral Smith will be leading a privileged few attendees through a SEAL officer training drill combining both physical and mental challenges in a common exercise.

In San Diego, we will also be leveraging our location to produce a unique and memorable evening event. In lieu of the more formal ban­quet, we’re planning to have a fun night out at the ballpark. One week prior to opening day, IIAR will be taking over Petco Park with a multi-level party. Certainly there will be plenty of food and beverages for our members, but there will also be great opportunities at this venue for some truly special and memorable IIAR moments, details of which we will be unveiling shortly.

And most importantly, we’ve ar­ranged for a most productive schedule of high caliber papers and workshops. The engineering and operational insights that the IIAR conference is renowned for are certain to be on display through the excellent array of papers that our members have voluntarily produced.

Given the international nature of our membership and the proximity of this venue to our Latin American col­leagues, we are arrang­ing for all of our English language presentations to have an available si­multaneous translation to Spanish and for all of our non-English lan­guage presentations to feature a simultaneous translation to English.

This effort to expand the shared body of knowledge amongst our international communi­ty reflects IIAR’s desire to share our knowledge of best practices to the enhancement of safe and efficient operation of refrigeration systems everywhere.

Finally, we are struc­turing the framework for a four-hour engineering training session for CO2 refrigeration systems. This in-depth program will benefit from the commit­ments to participation already made from industry leaders to share their unique knowledge on a variety of CO2 system designs. Slated for the Sunday afternoon of the conference, we antici­pate strong attendance and real value to be derived from participation.

We are fortunate to have our industrial refrigeration community understand the value of our annual conference, to have them participate so willingly and to have them contrib­ute so meaningfully. The IIAR team is already hard at work to ensure that we provide a forum that lives up to these commitments. 

California Public Utilities Commission Seeks Industry Participation in November Workshop

The California Public Utilities Commission said it needs the industry’s help in updating the industrial chapter of the Statewide Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan and in developing an Industrial Action Plan to meet the strategic goals identified in the plan. 

In a letter to industry leaders, the group said “Your involvement in this process will help us ensure that the strategies we consider will empower industry to improve its efficient use of energy and to further adopt clean energy sources.”

The Commission said it is currently meeting with industry representatives to: talk about competitive issues companies face and understand how energy plays a key role in those issues; identify and prioritize strategies for better energy management, and; involve industry in developing the teams that will drive action toward those strategies. 

CPUC said it will hold the last of three workshops November 12, 2014 in Stockton, California to meet with industry leaders interested in participating in its effort to produce the Industrial Action Plan.

The commission said key topics and questions to be discussed during the workshop include:

  • Trends that are driving the industrial sector now
  • The role that energy plays in maintaining competitiveness now and how companies are managing energy today. 
  • Barriers to improve energy management.
  • Future opportunities to manage energy.
  • Future barriers that could hinder energy management.

To attend the workshop, CPUC requested that interested parties register at: http://cpuc-industrial-stockton.eventbrite.com.

IIAR Calls for Technical Papers, Announces New Schedule

The International Institute for Ammonia Refrigeration issued a “call for papers,” in preparation for its 2016 IIAR Industrial Refrigeration Conference & Exhibition and beyond.

IIAR implemented a new timetable for the development of technical papers, which will now begin about 18 months prior to each annual conference. The change is meant to provide authors more time to develop and produce technical papers, as well as provide ample time for peer reviews, editorial, and presentation efforts. 

Technical papers for the 2015 conference have been selected, but selection and development for conference years 2016 and forward is now taking place.  

IIAR is currently requesting proposals for technical papers, including Spanish-language technical papers. Abstracts that address any topic related to ammonia refrigeration are invited. However, papers that address specific topics will receive preferential consideration.

Specific topics of interest to IIAR include:

  • DX and/or Low Charge Ammonia Case Studies
  • Oil Management in CO2 Systems
  • Hot Gas Defrost Costs
  • Parameters Affecting Total Cost of Defrosting
  • Economic Analysis of Desiccant Dehumidifiers in the Anteroom
  • Energy Consumption of Various Arrangements of Evaporator Control Valve Groups 
  • Pipe and Vessel Inspection Criteria
  • Establishing Communication with Fire Service
  • Requirements of Emergency Action vs. Emergency Response
  • Developing Confidence in Team Training for Emergency Events
  • Verifying Adequacy of Training. 
  • Management: What to Look for During a Plant Walk-Through
  • Codes and Regulations from a Global Perspective (NH3 and other refrigerants).
  • Best Practices Managing OSHA and NEP Inspections
  • US Government Regulatory Strategy and Relationships
  • Regulatory Considerations for Small Charge Systems
  • Future Refrigerant Choices
  • Alternate Ventilation Design
  • Ammonia Equipment Outside the Machinery Room
  • Machinery Room Design
  • System Contaminant Removal (purging, non-condensables, and water)
  • Refrigerated Air Make-up Units (standards, safety and risk analysis)
  • Comparison of Relief Valves, Rupture Discs, and a combination thereof
  • Changes in IIAR-2
  • Mitigation Methods for Ammonia Releases
  • Trans critical CO2 clarifying ASHRAE 15 9.2.6 language
  • Review of Compliance Inspectors Check List Items

Technical papers should explore technical or regulatory topics that are substantiated by original research and development with documented references. Case studies should describe actual situations where actions, testing, or data accumulation are used to prove or demonstrate the outcome of applied methods, and could be reasonably applied to other similar situations. Promotion of products or companies or any other form of commercialism is prohibited.  

The IIAR recognizes that new technologies are often offered by only one or a few companies. In these cases, it might be obvious that a method or technology is unique to a company. However, authors must strive to describe the method or technology based on a neutral analysis.

The technical papers are a central part of the Institute’s annual meetings, representing a vital exchange of information within the field and serving as a forum for technical experts, engineers and operations managers as they address important issues within the industry.

Applicants are encouraged to submit Technical Papers via IIAR’s new online submission process. Click here to access IIAR’s Technical Paper submission portal.

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