ignition posed by the flammability of some class A2L refrigerants, operators will be required to maintain in-room concentration levels below the lower flammability level (LFL). This requirement is reinforced by safety legislation and standards such as ISO 5149 and EN 378.

INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES State-of-the-art technology that ensures the safe and efficient use of refrigeration systems is constantly being developed. Operators now have access to innovative tools to help them meet their obligations. These technologies don’t just help with gas leaks, which are the biggest cause of energy loss, inefficient cold store performance and product degradation, but also with the detrimental effects of poor temperature control. The latest thermometers and

by Shaun Evers, managing director, Stonegate Instruments

ncreasing safety and environmental concerns have led to a raft of new regulations in the UK temperature- controlled logistics industry. This has put emissions and sustainable operations high on the agenda, with all service providers needing to minimise leakages, improve safety and reduce spoilage. Thankfully, new technologies are on hand to help logistics companies keep their cool in times of change. Cold storage and refrigeration units are


vital for maintaining the required temperatures for the storage of food, perishable goods and volatile substances. Operated and maintained correctly, they extend longevity, ensuring quality and freshness and, in doing so, they prevent wastage and the potential for health risks.

SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS While being highly valuable assets, there are a number of safety concerns with refrigeration units. The primary issue is with gas leaks. According to The Carbon Trust, refrigeration systems within the UK have an average annual leak rate of up to 20 per cent. With 60 per cent of leaked gas escaping before detection, this poses a serious risk to personnel. Some refrigeration gases are toxic while the flammable nature of some class A2L refrigerants means leaks present a threat of ignition.


Another concern is the environmental effect of leakages. The Carbon Trust estimates that a leak of 1kg of refrigerant gas can have the same impact as a van driving continuously for around 10,000 miles.

NEW REGULATIONS AND THEIR IMPACT As a result of these concerns, companies now have to comply with increasingly stringent regulations. From January 2020, the F-Gas regulations will prohibit the use of any refrigerant with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of more than 2,500. At the same time, the topping up with new fluid of systems that use some hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant gases, such as R404a and R507a, will be banned. The new F-Gas regulations have also

raised the requirements for regular gas leak checks on refrigeration systems. EU regulations now stipulate that systems with 300kg or more of refrigerants be fitted with a leak detector, a shift that will affect operators of stationary refrigeration equipment, air conditioning, heat pumps and refrigeration units on refrigerated trucks and trailers. Where gas leak detection systems aren’t installed on apparatus, the frequency of mandatory gas leak checks will increase. Additionally, to prevent the risk of


Below: Shaun Evers, managing director, Stonegate Instruments

temperature displays, for example, enable the monitoring and optimisation of refrigeration systems so that they function at the optimal temperature for the specific items they store. Should any temperature anomalies occur, the system will alert staff so that spoilage can be prevented. Open door alarms bring similar benefits. The most advanced of these

appliances are compact yet sophisticated detections systems which are designed to provide cold storage facilities with maximum storage space. These offer a valuable advantage for the 75 per cent of warehouse operators that are concerned about the lack of available space. Innovation is also to be found in safety

equipment. New gas detection system, such as Stonegate’s DL1024 gas detector, can be configured to detect an array of both toxic and non-toxic gases, including Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Audio and visual alarms have also been developed that alert staff members to any sensed gas leak. These feature coloured LEDs that indicate the presence and status of each gas sensor, ensuring problems can be swiftly rectified. New products have also been developed to cover the A2L refrigerants in harsher environments, while the safety of staff has been improved by the development of trapped personnel alarms.

Stonegate Instruments T: +44 (0) 113 224 4440


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