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How Does Refrigeration Work?

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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.

Understanding Food and Beverage Refrigeration Components

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!

Custom Refrigeration for Your Food and Beverage Facility

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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.

Food and Beverage Refrigeration Cooling System Considerations

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!

Safety Management of Ammonia Refrigerant Systems

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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.