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Ammonia leak detection system for process refrigeration

March 21, 2022   Don Horne


Ammonia (NH3) leaks from large industrial process refrigeration/freezer units operating 24/7 can be dangerous and expensive, which is why engineers concerned about safety, the environment, and cost will want to learn more about the Chillgard 5000 NH3 Monitoring System from MSA Safety, which is compliant with ANSI/International Institute of Ammonia Research (IIAR) and EN378 requirements.

The advanced Chillgard 5000 NH3 Monitoring System features a sophisticated design with photoacoustic infrared (PAIR) sensors that provide an easy-to-install, highly reliable, and effective gas detection solution.  This system is ideal for use in a wide range of industries that require refrigeration or freezers including food/beverage, cold storage warehouses, petro-chemical plants such as refineries, and in combined cycle electric power generation.

PAIR sensing offers the earliest level of detection of NH3 leaks for plant safety. Unaffected by temperature and humidity swings, PAIR sensors operate for months with virtually zero drift. This unique technology provides users with added assurance that their refrigeration/freezer systems are protected from leaking NH3, which is expensive to replace as well as the additional technician time required for more frequent safety system inspections and NH3 detector recalibration maintenance cycles.

Compliant with both ANSI/IIAR and EN378, the Chillgard 5000 offers users peace-of-mind.  IIAR has two standards in publication, ANSI/IIAR 2-1999, Equipment, Design, and Installation of Closed-Circuit Ammonia Mechanical Refrigerating Systems and ANSI/IIAR 3-2005, Ammonia Refrigeration Valves. IIAR also offers several guidance and training program documents for regulatory compliance, operator education, and best engineering practices in the industry.

EN (European Norm) Section 8.3 requires the NH3 alarm system will warn both audibly and visibly in the cold room and outside as well.  This alarm strategy alerts staff working both inside refrigeration and/or freezer units as well as those employees considering entry that conditions are not safe and evacuation is necessary due to an NH3 refrigerant gas leak.

As a refrigerant, ammonia’s cooling properties are generally considered to be more efficient and lower cost than other types of coolants — especially in large scale industrial process refrigeration and freezers. High levels of leaking ammonia, however, can irritate and burn the skin, mouth, throat, lungs, and eyes. Very high levels of ammonia can damage the lungs or cause death.

In the event of an NH3 gas leak, the highly dependable Chillgard 5000 System provides a clear visual and loud audible signal to indicate there is a potentially dangerous, environmentally-harmful, and expensive leak. In addition, the Chillgard 5000 Remote Display provides gas monitor information before room entry where potentially hazardous gas levels may exist. It mimics the Chillgard 5000 Gas Monitor readings for gas concentration, alarm status and calibration.

The responsive Chillgard 5000 System protects workers from dangerous gas leaks and is sensitive to 10 ppm for NH3 leaks.  With the Chillgard System, NH3 sensor response time at less than 90 per cent of gas reading is under 70 seconds. Built-in diagnostics support predictive maintenance for worry-free use.

With an intuitive user interface, the Chillgard 5000 System features a large 7-inch (178 mm) touchscreen colour display with real-time dashboard text and graphics.  It is password protected for security, the text is viewable in six languages and its diagnostic and event logs make for easy inspection and maintenance.  Calibration is completed at the touch of a button using the designated calibration port for ease of maintenance.

www.msasafety.com


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