Baker benefits from speedy refrigerant recovery

Many companies are in the process of migrating away from R22 refrigerants in order to comply with the 2015 phase-out of HCFCs. Yorkshire baker, Speedibake has already completed the process and taken advantage of A-Gas Portable Environmental Recovery System (PERSY) to ensure a smooth transition.

PERSY at Speedibake

Speedibake operates from two bakeries in Wakefield and Bradford and specialises in making own label baked goods for retail and foodservice customers. Its products include US style muffins, traditional ball doughnuts, French style baguettes, garlic bread and speciality breads.

Any downtime in production can have a major impact on the business, so when the company decided to look at various alternatives for replacing its R22 systems, this was an overriding consideration.

In consultation with its refrigerant contractor GEA Refrigeration UK Limited, Speedibake assessed the options. Installing new plant was a logical albeit expensive solution but GEA recommended recovering the R22 using A-Gas' portable recovery system and replacing it with RS-52 (R428A) which is one of the few materials suitable for flooded applications.

PERSY was developed by A-Gas and had been extensively trialled at its Bristol plant and various customer sites. The results showed that by using PERSY, refrigerant recovery was far quicker than traditional 'push pull' methodology which would normally take three days to recover material, whereas A-Gas' portable recovery system could reduce that to a single day.

Refrigerant recovery was an attractive proposition for Speedibake and once it's Project Manager, Steve Young was satisfied with the advantages of using RS-52 and the minimal impact using A-Gas' recovery system would have on production, the process was then scheduled to take place over a weekend.

"RS-52 has a low glide value and can reduce energy consumption and was designed as a replacement for R502 and the HCFC blends such as R402A, R408A and ISCEON® 69L, but it is also an excellent replacement for R22 at low temperatures where the system is designed to withstand R502 pressures," says Roger Smith, Product Manager, Refrigerants at A-Gas (UK) Limited.

"RS-52 offered an ideal solution for Speedibake and using our portable environmental recovery system meant that we could offer a flexible self-contained approach."

In the run up to the recovery process, GEA carried out some preparation work and with over 900 tonnes of baked goods produced every week, Speedibake planned a two-day shut-down, stepped up production and also put a contingency plan in place as a precaution.

A-Gas engineers and GEA went on site with the portable recovery system and a generator so that the customer's electricity was not used and accurate measurements could be taken throughout the recovery process.

A-Gas recovered over 2.1 tonnes of R22 refrigerant, then following an oil change, Speedibake's chillers were re-charged with virgin RS-52 and the entire system was back up and running in just under 13 hours.

"The recovery system worked very well as we could isolate a small corner of the goods yard to keep the recovery drums and positioned the recovery system immediately outside the plant room," says Steve Young. "The speed and efficiency of the refrigerant transfer was very impressive."

The actual refrigerant recovery process was very quick as Dave Back Sales and Contracts Manager for GEA explains. "We decanted two tonnes of refrigerant within a couple of hours and within two hours after that the new refrigerant was being charged with the result that the contingency plans did not have to be implemented."

As for the benefits of migrating to RS-52, Speedibake couldn't be more impressed "We were expecting to see a net increase in the power consumed compared with R22 but because of an increased capacity of the system by the refrigerant, the running time of the plant has been reduced," comments Steve Young.

For further information please email A-Gas (UK) Ltd

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