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  1. Innovations in Today’s Industrial Refrigeration Landscape

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    Industrial refrigeration refers to a specialized field that involves designing, installing, and maintaining large-scale refrigeration systems used in various industrial processes and applications. These systems are specifically tailored to meet the cooling needs of various sectors, such as those in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and chemical businesses. Unlike residential or commercial refrigeration, industrial systems are designed to handle significant capacities and diverse applications.

    As technology advances, the industrial refrigeration sector continues evolving to meet modern businesses’ specific needs. Join us in learning about the latest innovations transforming the industry today.

    1. Eco-Friendly Refrigerants

    One of the most impactful advancements in industrial refrigeration is the development and adoption of eco-friendly refrigerants. Traditional options, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), are known for their high global warming potential. With the growing need to mitigate environmental impact, the industry is shifting towards sustainable alternatives.

    The top emerging choices are natural refrigerants like ammonia and carbon dioxide. These options maintain efficiency while offering a substantially lower global warming potential than their HFC counterparts.

    2. Intelligent Systems

    Industrial refrigeration systems incorporate smart systems and automation to improve energy efficiency and reduce operational costs. For instance, advanced sensors collect real-time temperature, pressure, and energy consumption data. This information is analyzed using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, allowing for predictive maintenance and optimization of the cooling process.

    In addition, modern systems are integrated with adaptive control, where the refrigeration system can automatically adjust settings based on changing conditions. This dynamic response improves energy efficiency and overall system performance.

    3. Energy-Efficient Designs

    Modern industrial refrigeration systems prioritize energy efficiency in their design. This includes using high-efficiency compressors, heat exchangers, and variable-speed technologies. Increased pipe sizing can also be utilized to reduce suction pressure drop, which reduces compressor brake horsepower consumption. These design innovations focus on maximizing cooling potential while minimizing energy consumption, contributing to environmental sustainability and cost savings.

    4. Heat Recovery and Cogeneration

    Industrial refrigeration systems can now include heat recovery mechanisms to capture and repurpose waste heat generated during the cooling process. The recovered heat can be redirected for use in other processes, reducing the facility’s overall energy consumption. In addition, some advanced systems integrate cogeneration, producing both cooling and electricity simultaneously. This approach optimizes resource utilization, making refrigeration more sustainable and energy-efficient.

    5. Scalable Solutions

    The industry is moving towards scalable solutions that offer flexibility in capacity and adaptability. Businesses can easily expand refrigeration capacity if the system is designed with this in mind from the beginning. This can be accomplished by increasing vessels and pipe mains at the beginning of the system so that they can accept changes without penalty later on.

    6. Internet of Things (IoT) Integration

    IoT integration plays a crucial role in industrial refrigeration by enabling remote monitoring and control. IoT-connected devices provide real-time insights into system performance, ensuring prompt responses to issues and optimizing maintenance schedules. This connectivity also facilitates data-driven decision-making for optimizing overall system efficiency.

    Upgrade Your Industrial Refrigeration System With Kuhlman

    Kuhlman is a trusted partner for all things industrial refrigeration — from design and installations to sales and servicing! Since 1957, we’ve been dedicated to delivering projects on time and within budget. Our turnkey solutions are carefully engineered for reliability, efficiency, sustainability, and longevity.

    We boast certifications from leading organizations, including IIAR, RETA, ISNET, and compliance with factory standards from Vilter, Frick, GEA/FES, and Evapco. In addition, our technicians are certified by the National Pipe Welding Bureau, OSHA, and HazMa to provide you only with the best services.

    Contact us now for a consultation tailored to your needs!

  2. Harnessing the Power and Efficiency of Ammonia Refrigeration

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    Ammonia refrigeration uses ammonia as a refrigerant to absorb and remove heat from a designated space or substance. It operates on the principle of vapor compression, where the ammonia undergoes a cycle of compression, condensation, expansion, and evaporation to achieve cooling. This system is employed in industrial and commercial settings due to its efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

    In this article, we will discuss the workings of this ammonia refrigeration and its benefits in achieving reliable and efficient cooling solutions.

    How Does Ammonia Refrigeration Work?

    Ammonia refrigeration operates on the fundamental principles of vapor compression, offering a highly effective method for cooling in various industrial applications. The process begins with the compression of gaseous ammonia, elevating its pressure and temperature. This compressed gas then flows through a condenser, where it releases heat to the surrounding environment by condensing the super heated vapor back into a liquid.

    Next, this high-pressure liquid ammonia passes through an expansion valve, rapidly reducing its pressure. As a result, the liquid transforms into a low-pressure, low-temperature mixture of liquid and vapor. This vapor created in the process is often called flashgas, and is a byproduct of the Ammonia cooling itself down. This mixture enters the evaporator, where it absorbs heat from the target space or substance in a DX system, or into a vessel in a liquid recirculation system. In a liquid recirculation system, the liquid ammonia is then pumped to the evaporator where the liquid ammonia evaporates and returns to its gaseous state. The cycle repeats as the gaseous ammonia is drawn back into the compressor to start the process anew.

    Benefits of Ammonia Refrigeration Systems

    Here are the key advantages of incorporating gaseous ammonia in the cooling process:


    Ammonia’s affordability and widespread availability contribute to its status as a cost-effective refrigerant. Its economic viability extends beyond its initial procurement, encompassing operational and maintenance aspects. This is particularly evident in industries such as food processing, where maintaining specific temperature ranges is critical for product quality and safety.

    Efficient Heat Transfer

    The excellent heat transfer properties of ammonia are pivotal to the efficiency of the refrigeration process. It can absorb and release substantial amounts of heat during phase transitions, and its vapor compression cycle allows for precise temperature control. This capability ensures optimal conditions for various industrial processes, which translates into heightened efficiency and lower operational costs.


    Ammonia stands out as an environmentally friendly refrigerant due to its minimal impact on ozone depletion and zero global warming potential. As industries increasingly prioritize eco-friendly practices, the adoption of ammonia in refrigeration aligns with sustainability goals and regulatory requirements. In addition, its environmentally conscious profile makes it a responsible choice for those striving to minimize their carbon footprint.

    Application Flexibility

    Ammonia refrigeration’s versatility shines through in its ability to cater to various industrial applications. It can be adapted to diverse cooling requirements, from cold storage facilities to food processing plants and chemical manufacturing units. This flexibility makes it a preferred option for industries with varied and dynamic refrigeration needs.

    Proven Reliability

    The longevity and reliability of ammonia cooling systems have been demonstrated over decades of use. Their robust design and well-established technology contribute to their reputation as a dependable choice for applications where continuous and dependable cooling is imperative. Industries relying on consistent and uninterrupted cooling processes also find confidence in the proven track record of these systems.

    Operational Efficiency

    Due to its unmatched thermodynamic properties, ammonia enables refrigeration systems to operate approximately 35% more efficiently than Freon systems, depending on the system temperature. At Kuhlman Incorporated, we collaborate with your local utility provider to maximize energy efficiency incentives and custom grant opportunities. This approach helps reduce the upfront costs of ammonia and allows you to start realizing savings in no time. We consider factors such as compressor VFDs, oversized condensers for lower head pressure operation, and temperature level separation to optimize your system’s operating costs and save you money.

    Trust Kuhlman for Your Industrial Refrigeration Needs!

    At Kuhlman, we offer a comprehensive suite of top-tier industrial refrigeration services! These include system designs, installations, and reliable maintenance supports, ensuring our clients receive turnkey solutions tailored to their needs. Whether it’s a large-scale industrial facility or a specialized operation, our team has you covered.

    Contact us today for all your refrigeration needs!

  3. Industrial Refrigeration Systems for Food and Beverage

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    Industrial refrigeration systems are essential in the food and beverage industry, preserving and maintaining perishable products’ quality and safety. In their absence, such products are susceptible to spoilage and pose potential health hazards to consumers. This can result in substantial financial losses for manufacturers.

    This article will explore the basics of industrial refrigeration systems, their components, and their applications in the food and beverage industry.

    How Does a Standard Industrial Refrigeration System Work?

    A standard refrigeration system removes heat from its surroundings and transfers it to another location. It typically comprises numerous components that work together to accomplish this purpose. First, the compressor creates a pressure differential, driving the refrigerant in the system. This compressor adds pressure to a vapor refrigerant, such as ammonia,carbon dioxide, or freon. Then, the compressed gas is transferred to the condenser to be cooled by air, water, or both and condensed into a liquid. Finally, the condenser rejects the heat picked up from the room to the outside.

    The high pressure liquid refrigerant then flows through an expansion valve, causing a pressure drop and converting it to a low-pressure liquid. In a DX system, this high pressure liquid is transferred directly to the evaporator, while in a recirculated system, this liquid is brought to a recirculation vessel where it drops in pressure, and is then pumped to the evaporator.This liquid refrigerant then enters the evaporator, positioned in the cooling area. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the surrounding environment as it travels through the evaporator, cooling the air, and by consequence the space. Finally, the refrigerant vapor returns back to the compressor to complete the cycle.

    Applications of Refrigeration Systems in the Food and Beverage Industry

    Refrigeration systems are critical in the food and beverage industry, serving various applications that ensure product preservation, safety, and quality. Some common applications include the following:

    Storage and Preservation

    One of the paramount functions of refrigeration systems lies in the storage and preservation of food items, encompassing raw materials, finished products, and ingredients. These systems meticulously uphold optimal temperature and humidity levels, effectively thwarting the proliferation of microorganisms that can trigger spoilage or contamination.

    At Kuhlman, we particularly focus on this aspect as a cornerstone of our expertise and commitment. Our dedicated attention to storage and preservation within the industry has solidified our reputation as leaders in delivering specialized refrigeration solutions.


    Refrigeration systems are crucial in achieving multiple objectives, particularly in cooling and freezing of various products. This utilization of refrigeration ensures that food items are maintained at optimal low temperatures, which is essential for preserving their quality, freshness, and shelf life. Among the different methods available, the most widely utilized approach is vapor compression refrigeration. This involves a cyclic process that includes compression, condensation, expansion, and evaporation of a refrigerant.

    We also channel our focus towards the processing aspect with equal dedication. Whether it’s precise cooling, controlled freezing, or other processing requirements, our solutions are designed to optimize these operations while maintaining the integrity of the products.


    The transportation of perishable products is an essential aspect of the supply chain. This is particularly true for food products exported or transported over long distances. Transport refrigeration systems are typically installed in trucks, trains, and ships. They use a combination of insulation, temperature control, and ventilation to maintain the required temperature and humidity levels.


    Refrigeration systems are used in retail stores, supermarkets, and restaurants to display food products, such as fresh produce, meat, and dairy products. These systems help preserve the products’ appearance, flavor, and texture, ensuring customer satisfaction and reducing waste.

    Installation, Calibration, and Maintenance of Industrial Refrigeration Systems

    Proper refrigeration system installation, calibration, and maintenance are necessary to ensure reliability and performance. This includes regular cleaning and replacement of components, monitoring of temperature and humidity levels, and adherence to standard operating procedures. Failure to carry out these procedures can lead to system breakdowns, product spoilage, and costly recalls.

    Regulatory authorities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have also set guidelines and restrictions. These must be followed to ensure food and beverage safety. The inability to comply with these regulations may result in fines, legal action, and harm to the manufacturer’s reputation.

    Choose Kuhlman for Premium Industrial Refrigeration Services

    Kuhlman prides itself on pioneering industrial refrigeration systems, offering top-of-the-line design, installation, and maintenance services! With our team of professionals, we strive to provide innovative and energy-efficient solutions tailored to meet your specific requirements. We will also work closely with you to identify the most cost-effective options that align with your budget.

    Contact us today for all your industrial refrigeration needs!

  4. How Does Refrigeration Work?

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    Click to ExpandHow-Does-Refrigeration-Work

    Most manufacturers are accustomed to using CFC-based or even older Freon-based refrigeration systems. However, these refrigerants may not be ideal in industrial settings because of their expense and the damage they exert on the environment. One of the preferred alternatives is ammonia as a refrigerant.

    Ammonia refrigeration is a trusted, effective system with a long history of reliable and proven use. Ammonia is used to transfer heat from one place to another for dissipation. Concentrated ammonia is useful for keeping things cool due to its high latent heat value meaning it has the ability to pick up large amounts of heat from a space.

    What Is Refrigeration?

    Refrigeration lowers and maintains the temperature of a space, material, or system below that of the surrounding air, while the heat extracted is rejected at a higher temperature. Therefore, this process is a type of mechanical cooling.

    Four essential parts must be present in a system for the refrigeration cycle to function. These include the following:


    The compressor is the principal part of the system, as it is the main driver of the refrigerant. It compresses the gas and generates a pressure differential that propels the refrigerant through the system in a constant cycle.


    The refrigerant gas leaving the compressor is de-superheated, condensed, and transformed from a vapor to a liquid by the condenser, thus allowing it to do work once again.

    Expansion Valve

    The expansion valve limits the flow of liquid refrigerant while creating a pressure differential with the evaporator.This pressure differential creates what is called flash gas and allows the refrigerant to cool itself prior to entering the evaporator. Since it determines the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator, it is more frequently referred to as a metering device.


    Before returning to the compressor, the heat from the room enters the evaporator and transfers into the refrigerant by boiling the liquid refrigerant inside of the cooling coil.

    How Does Refrigeration Work?

    In a nutshell, the following describes the path of a fully functioning refrigeration system:

    1. The refrigerant’s low-pressure vapor form is introduced into the compressor.
    2. The compressor compresses the gas, resulting in a high-pressure, superheated gas.
    3. The super-heated gas starts to cool down inside the condenser and transform into vapor. The refrigerant vapor is further cooled within the condenser, condensing into a high-pressure liquid.
    4. The ammonia is then metered through an expansion valve cooling down the liquid refrigerant and preparing it to do work once again.
    5. The evaporator allows the transfer of heat from the room into the refrigerant where it is once again compressed by the compressor, thus repeating the cycle.

    Ammonia Refrigeration System: Key Points To Ponder

    To ensure that the right processes and standards are followed while starting up ammonia industrial refrigeration systems, remember that this process could be influenced by the kind of equipment used, where it is located, and what each refrigeration system does.

    Before proceeding, ensure the following have been checked:

    • The insulation, electrical components, and plumbing have all been installed properly.
    • All safety measures have been evaluated and established.
    • The devices and associated piping have undergone pressure testing.
    • Sufficient connections have been made for the test and startup equipment.

    Partner With Kuhlman for Your Refrigeration Needs!

    Here at Kuhlman, we are committed to assisting our customers in finding customized solutions for all your refrigeration needs. Our solutions are cost-effective, efficient, and backed by decades of experience and seasoned professionals in the industry!

    Contact us today to learn more about our ammonia refrigeration system services, or get a free quote to start working with Kuhlman! You may also call 262-252-9400 to reach our Wisconsin Corporate Headquarters or 502-543-7021 for our Kentucky Satellite Office.

  5. Understanding Food and Beverage Refrigeration Components

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    Click to ExpandUnderstanding Food and Beverage Refrigeration Components

    Refrigeration systems are necessary for food and beverage establishments, including supermarkets, and restaurants, but also manufacturing facilities, breweries, and processing plants. . Your entire business might be jeopardized if your refrigeration system fails. Therefore, it is critical to understand refrigeration components for food and beverage applications.

    The purpose of refrigeration in the industrial setting is to maintain the optimal temperature for processing, packaging, and storing food and beverages.

    Main Refrigeration Components

    To understand how refrigeration systems work to keep food and beverages cool, it is crucial to look at their inner workings. The following are the main components of refrigeration:


    The compressor is the principal part of the procedure, as it is the main driver of the refrigerant it works like a pump to circulate the refrigerant. It compresses the gas and generates a pressure differential that propels the refrigerant through the circuit in a constant cycle.


    Next, the condenser is filled with superheated, pressurized refrigerant. Then, it cools the refrigerant and converts it  to a liquid form.

    Condensers are classified into three categories:


    This type of condenser is often found in smaller refrigerators and is also known as a coil condenser because of its aluminum or copper coils at the back. These coils help increase the surface area of the refrigerant for cooling.

    Air-cooled condensers are divided into two types: the natural convection condenser — which uses the natural flow of air to chill the refrigerant — and the forced convection condenser, which employs a fan to draw in cold air.


    This type of condenser is utilized in large factories. They use water to cool the refrigerant, often performing better in higher ambient temperatures. It is further subdivided into three types: tube-in-tube or double pipe type, shell and coil type, and shell and tube type.


    Evaporative condensers are the primary condenser used for industrial applications. The evaporative condenser leverages not only air cooling, but the added effect of evaporative cooling utilizing water. Evaporative condensers are the most efficient and allow for lower head pressure to run a system more efficiently.

    Expansion Valve

    The expansion valve helps lower refrigerant pressure and temperature. The abrupt reduction in pressure produces a cooling effect called “flash gas” bringing the refrigerant down in temperature. The expansion valve also controls how much refrigerant is needed to fulfill load requirements.

    Expansion valves come in various types: capillary tube, constant pressure, automatic throttling valve, thermostatic expansion valve, float valve, and motorized valve


    An evaporator is tasked with absorbing heat inside the refrigeration system. It also serves as a medium for heat transfer from the stored load to the refrigerant. This refrigerant is then transformed into a vapor where it is later compressed by the compressor.

    Innovative Refrigeration Solutions From Kuhlman

    Companies in the food and beverage sector must maintain low temperatures in production and post-production settings to prevent unsafe or unsustainable production operations. At Kuhlman Incorporated, our industrial refrigeration systems enable businesses to meet these exact temperature requirements! This results in improved food production, storage, and distribution conditions, greater product quality, and extended product shelf life.

    Contact us today to discuss your refrigeration needs!

  6. Custom Refrigeration for Your Food and Beverage Facility

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    Click to ExpandCustom-Refrigeration-for-Your-Food-and-Beverage-Facility

    When it comes to food and beverage facilities, proper refrigeration is crucial. Food and drinks can spoil without it, causing waste and potentially risking customers’ health. Thus, custom refrigeration is an important investment for any business in this industry.

    This article will discuss the benefits of custom refrigeration and how to choose the right system for your industrial food and beverage facility.

    Benefits of Custom Refrigeration

    Custom refrigeration offers many advantages for food and beverage facilities, especially in the industrial sector. Here are some of its most important benefits:

    Increased Efficiency

    Custom refrigeration systems are designed to fit your specific needs. This means they can be more efficient than off-the-shelf systems, which may not be optimized for your facility. In addition, custom systems can be designed to work with your space and operations, reducing energy consumption and saving you money on utility bills.

    Better Quality Control

    Custom refrigeration can help ensure that your products are stored at the right temperature and humidity levels, prolonging their shelf life and preventing spoilage. This means that your customers will receive high-quality products, and you’ll minimize waste and potential health risks.

    Increased Flexibility

    Off-the-shelf refrigeration systems may not be flexible enough to accommodate changes in your facility or product line. With our custom refrigeration systems, you can design a system that can adapt to your changing needs. Whether expanding your facility, adding new products, or changing your workflow, a custom system can be designed to grow and transform with your business.

    Choosing the Right Refrigeration System

    When choosing a custom refrigeration system, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the most important ones:

    Types of Products

    Consider the types of products you’ll be storing and choose a system that can accommodate their specific needs. Different types of products require different storage conditions. For example, fresh produce may require higher humidity levels than frozen goods.

    Size of Facility

    Take accurate measurements of your space and consider factors like ceiling height and doorways. This will help ensure your system fits your area and can be installed properly.

    Energy Efficiency

    Here at Kuhlman Inc. we strive to make our systems as energy efficient as possible by utilizing all the new technologies as well as ensuring the equipment and piping is sized correctly to reduce pressure drops, and excessively low suction pressures.

    Maintenance Requirements

    All refrigeration systems require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance. We design our systems so that they have easily accessible components that can be serviced by trained professionals. This will help ensure that your system stays in good working order and lasts many years.

    Integration With Existing Systems

    If you already have a refrigeration system, choose a custom system that can seamlessly integrate with the existing one. This can reduce installation costs and minimize downtime during the transition.

    Kuhlman, Inc.: Reliable Custom Refrigeration Provider

    At Kuhlman, we take great pride in offering our clients customized refrigeration solutions that are cost-effective and efficient. With years of experience and a team of seasoned professionals, we are committed to delivering high-quality services for ammonia refrigeration systems!

    If you want to learn more about our services, contact us today! You may also get a free quote or reach us at our Wisconsin Corporate Headquarters by calling 262-252-9400 or our Kentucky Satellite Office at 502-543-7021.

  7. Food and Beverage Refrigeration Cooling System Considerations

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    When running a successful food and beverage business, one of the most important aspects to consider is the proper storage and preservation of your products. This is where a refrigeration cooling system comes into play. To ensure that your food and beverages are stored at the correct temperature, it’s crucial to invest in a high-quality solution that meets your specific needs.

    A well-functioning refrigeration system can reduce food waste, increase efficiency and productivity, and ultimately improve your business sales. In this post, we will delve into the key considerations when choosing a refrigeration system for your food and beverage business.

    Type of Refrigeration Cooling System

    Investing in high-quality refrigeration cooling systems is an important part of assuring the performance and profitability of food and beverage processing companies. Food processing businesses can select appropriate cooling systems like ammonia or freon to balance efficiency and environmental impact. Using these refrigeration systems saves energy and helps businesses contribute to a cleaner environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Capacity and Size

    The size of your business will determine the capacity and size of the refrigeration cooling system you require. It is also affected by the amount of food or beverages you need to store. Therefore, one of the first steps when choosing a refrigeration system is understanding the demands of your business. It’s critical to invest in a refrigeration system that’s large enough to satisfy your needs. However, a system that is too big can become inefficient and costly.

    Energy Efficiency

    Evaluating a refrigeration system’s energy efficiency can help you save money on energy expenditures while reducing your environmental footprint. Think about features like variable-speed compressors and electronic controls. These will allow you to adjust or calibrate your system to cool and function only as required. We can provide options and breakdown cost paybacks for various energy efficiency investments. We strive to have our systems be as energy efficient as possible.

    Maintenance and Repairs

    It is critical to evaluate the refrigeration system’s maintenance and repair requirements to know what expenses you might encounter in the future. Some components may need more regular maintenance and repairs than others. At Kuhlman Inc., we can provide the exact PM program necessary to keep your system up to date and operating in its best condition.

    Price and Budget

    While investing in a high-quality unit is critical, it is equally vital to avoid overspending. Therefore, setting a budget is an important part of the process. Then, it is best to evaluate and compare the most cost-effective options and select the system with the highest return on investment.

    At Kuhlman Incorporated, we prioritize providing customers with various options accompanied by detailed energy savings analysis and capital cost investment.

    Kuhlman Inc.: Leading the Way in Industrial Refrigeration Cooling System Technology

    Choosing the most suitable refrigeration system for your food and beverage business is critical for product preservation and quality. By carefully considering these factors, you can guarantee that you invest in a system that matches your requirements and helps your business thrive.

    Kuhlman, Inc. is at the forefront of innovation in industrial refrigeration systems’ design, installation, and service! Our team of experts is dedicated to providing you with the most advanced and efficient solutions for your specific needs. We can also help you find the best unit to fit your budget, application, and preferences.

    Contact us today for all your industrial refrigeration demands!

  8. Safety Management of Ammonia Refrigerant Systems

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    Click to ExpandSafety-Management-of-Ammonia-Refrigerant-Systems

    Ammonia refrigeration is along standing form of refrigeration that is still commonly used today to keep various products cold. This method of refrigeration is popular due to its reliability, efficiency, safety, and proven usefulness. Because of these benefits, ammonia refrigeration is utilized by a wide range of industrial facilities, such as:

    • Meat, poultry, or fish processing plants
    • Cold storage warehouses and ice plants
    • Dairy and ice cream plants
    • Fruit/vegetable juice and soft drink processing facilities
    • Wineries and breweries
    • Chemical manufacturing facilities

    Although ammonia refrigeration is safe when properly used, accidental ammonia leaks or releases can pose serious injuries and even death to employees, emergency response personnel, and people in the surrounding environment. To avoid this, there are many requirements and standards that facilities must meet to ensure safe conditions.

    Hazards of Ammonia

    An accidental release of ammonia sometimes produces a dense, visible white cloud that travels close to the ground. However, if there is no visible cloud, the odor itself will prompt the necessity of evacuation, either inside or outside.

    The odor becomes evident when 5 to 50 parts per million (ppm) of ammonia is released. At this level, it is toxic, causing symptoms like headaches, loss of smell, nausea, and vomiting. Emissions of above 50 ppm produce irritation of the nose, mouth, and throat, resulting in coughing and wheezing. Exposure to 300 ppm to 500 ppm of ammonia can be fatal, causing extreme shortness of breath and even fluid buildup in the lungs. Other side effects include frostbite and chemical burns to the skin, eyes, and lungs.

    Another major hazard of ammonia is its flammability. If there has been a leak of ammonia, just an electric spark from a switch could produce an explosion or fire.

    Ammonia Safety Requirements

    Because of ammonia’s many hazards, various associations have outlined standards of ammonia refrigeration safety. These include:


    IIAR is the world’s leading advocate for the safe, reliable and efficient use of ammonia and other natural refrigerants. IIAR members share their collective knowledge and experience to produce consensus documents that address various aspects of the natural and industrial refrigeration industry. IIAR has broad industry representation including manufacturers, design engineers, contractors, end users, academics, scientists, and trainers. IIAR sets the standard for providing advocacy, education and the most up-to-date technical information to the ammonia and natural refrigeration community.


    If your ammonia refrigeration system has 10,000 pounds (2,000 gallons) or more of ammonia, it is subject to the requirements of OSHA Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard [29 CFR 1910.119].


    The EPA has published documents that outline the responsibilities of ammonia refrigeration operators when it comes to preventing accidents. According to the Clean Air Act, owners and operators are required to develop Risk Management Programs that are designed to prevent or reduce the consequences of accidental ammonia releases. Additionally, plants or facilities that store large amounts of ammonia (more than 500 pounds) must report and coordinate with their Local Planning Committee as well as their State Emergency Commission.

    Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

    The DHS requires high-risk chemical facilities to develop site security plans, complete security vulnerability assessments, and implement the necessary protective measures to meet risk-based performance standards defined by the DHS.

    Ammonia Safety and Accident Prevention

    According to the EPA, 96% of ammonia-related accidents are preventable through better communication, improved procedures, and enhanced operator training. To make sure that accidents don’t happen, it’s important to implement the following:

    Worker and System Protection

    Training and awareness of the hazards associated with anhydrous ammonia will lead to greater care to prevent ammonia releases. Developing operating procedures that follow RAGAGEP, such as the ANSI/IIAR standard 7-19, will help keep personnel safe. Other steps you can take to protect your workers and systems include:

    • Oil removal
    • Protect equipment, tanks, and piping
    • Install, maintain, and inspect ammonia detector systems
    • Install emergency ventilation switches
    • Configure remote operation of solenoid valve on king valve line
    • Install check valves in the ammonia charging line
    • Install dual pressure relief valves
    • Color coding, labeling, and signage

    System Operations and Maintenance

    You should implement a mechanical integrity plan for each component of your ammonia refrigeration system. To ensure compliance with 40 CFR 68.73, these procedures must be written and regularly performed to ensure the ongoing integrity of process equipment. ANSI/IIAR standard 6-19 spells out minimum requirement, some of the common system operation and maintenance procedures include:

    • Monitor refrigeration system operating parameters
    • Maintain good housekeeping practices
    • Maintain piping and instrumentation diagrams
    • Track ammonia purchases and distribution of ammonia in your system
    • Conduct a periodic process hazard analysis

    System Inspections

    In addition to preventive maintenance measures, scheduled inspections should be performed to prevent unnecessary accidents from equipment failure. Systems inspections include:

    • Visual testing
    • Leak testing
    • Vibration testing
    • Thermal imaging


    Operators of ammonia systems should be fully trained and qualified. Personnel who work within these areas should be provided with awareness training, such as safety and evacuation procedures, should a leak occur.

    Proper Security

    Ammonia theft and vandalism of ammonia storage and refrigeration systems have resulted in the accidental release of ammonia. Installing site security safeguards is another form of prevention.

    Ammonia Safety at Kuhlman, Inc.

    Ammonia refrigeration systems offer a safe and reliable way to keep products cold as long as you adhere to ANSI/IIAR standard 9-20 RAGAGEP. At Kuhlman, Inc., we can deliver refrigeration systems that meet the needs of various industries. To discuss your specific refrigeration requirements with one of our expert team members, contact us or request a quote today.