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A-Gas Rapid Recovery's Key Role in Food Processing Retrofit

Head of Sales and Operations, John McEvoy, explains how a refrigerant recovery job at a food processing plant was made easy for the contractor and less labour-intensive.

Rapid Recovery Team wearing masks in front of vehicle

Time is of the essence for refrigeration contractors and tools that make the job easier and speed up the maintenance process are much in demand. The A‑Gas Rapid Recovery, F‑Gas compliant on-site recovery service, is a good example of how having the right equipment can make a real difference at the sharp end.

A‑Gas Rapid Recovery has been on the UK market since 2017 and in that time it has recovered refrigerants from more than 300 systems across more than 200 sites nationwide. This has helped our customers switch from high GWP refrigerants to low GWP alternatives.  

The current phase down of high GWP HFCs means that refrigerant recovery has never been more important. Last year’s 37 per cent cut in the quota for the production of virgin gases has had a major affect on the industry and this figure rises to 44 per cent if you include pre-charged equipment.

Under the quota mechanism, refrigerant recovery and reclamation has a key role to play to ensure that there is enough refrigerant available for end-users to keep existing high GWP equipment running.

On behalf of a Leeds based contractor A‑Gas Rapid Recovery recently under took a refrigerant recovery job at a food processing plant in the south west. The contractor was looking to recover R507 – a high GWP refrigerant – and replace it with a low GWP alternative. With a GWP of 3985, R507 is an HFC blend with very similar properties to R404A. They wanted a more efficient low GWP replacement and we recommended R449A (Opteon® XP40) as it combines excellent cooling performance with improved energy efficiency and environmental properties.

The timescale for the job could have presented a challenge for alternative recovery methods. To tackle the retrofit it was agreed to shutdown the processing plant on two consecutive Saturdays. This is a major step for a large food processing operation so it was important the job was completed quickly and efficiently. A-Gas Rapid Recovery were chosen to handle the retrofit after a demonstration impressed their service manager. 

Two systems running on R507 had to be emptied of refrigerant, pressure tested and a replacement introduced as part of a planned maintenance programme. One system supported the process plant and the other was responsible for the factory cooling. The plant had to be up and running on each Sunday afternoon and this meant the team  were up against the clock. 

On each Saturday the old refrigerant was removed within a couple of hours which allowed the contractor to get on with recharging the system and other work associated with a retrofit of this kind. In the past they had tackled the recovery task in-house but found the operation very labour-intensive. They were delighted with the response from the A-Gas Rapid Recovery team and the speedy turn around on site.

More than 1700 kilos of R507 was recovered and taken away by A-Gas Rapid Recovery. A-Gas Rapid Recovery has a network of recovery vehicles and engineers in place to give refrigeration contractors national coverage and this is available to go on site at short notice to handle jobs of all sizes. The equipment is independent of services like power, is portable and with 60-metre plus hoses it can reach RAC units in the most difficult places.

A-Gas Rapid Recovery provides recovery services to a wide range of industries, including refrigeration, HVAC, demolition and marine. The A-Gas Rapid Recovery team will take care of all aspects of the work, from start to finish, including the hazardous waste documentation and job site reporting.

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