Refrigerant Manufacturer At Home In Indiana

Some folks affiliated with ICOR International pose for a picture outside the headquarters in Indianapolis. From left, Dena Commins, Jim Terry, Trista Collier, Gordon McKinney, Milton Cuevas, Ken Scott, and Doug Pettigrew.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN — ICOR International’s 40,000-sq-ft headquarters rests on 21 acres in a still somewhat rural area on Indianapolis’ far east side. The fact that there is farmland around causes those at the refrigerant manufacturer to joke that “Soy is not a component of Hot Shot.”

Hot Shot (R-414B) is ICOR’s most familiar product. It is an HCFC-based blend of four refrigerants and can be used as a retrofit for R-12 units without the need for an oil change.

A staff of 17 works at the headquarters, including five in the production area. The company also has four regional sales managers in California, Indiana, Maryland, and Texas.

A key to the company’s success is education. Doug Pettigrew, who leads training sessions, said, “We want to be honest with the people” about the company’s products.

ICOR’s Gordon McKinney noted that care is taken to explain how products work. “When you have 80 people in a room and a 75-year-old guy stands up and says he’s been using Hot Shot for four years and it’s good stuff, that’s the best testimonial.”

Testing projects included use of 414B as a retrofit to R-134a in automotive compressors and the testing of 417A with some of the newest high-SEER equipment.

In addition to the refrigerants, the company has a number of related products, including a mini-torch, a leak-detection liquid, various fittings, and hose adapters. The company’s first product was the Spooter, a hand-operated recovery pump. The latest generation of that product has new O-rings and lubricants to gain ARI certification for use with 18 refrigerants at up to 3 lb.

The production process for 414B starts with the arrival of such refrigerants as 142b, 124, 22, and 600a (isobutane) to outdoor bulk storage tanks. Said McKinney, “We measure in exact percentages of each component” into the indoor processing tanks. For R-414B, the mix (by weight) is 50% 22, 39% 124, 9.5% 142b, and 1.5% 600a. “We use a sensitive scale. We have to have very, very close tolerances, manufacturing to ARI 700-95 Virgin Refrigerants Standards.”

Once the refrigerants are weighed in, they are pressure stirred and moved from one of two 8,000-lb-capacity tanks to a tank capable of holding a 14,000-lb batch. A sample is taken and the production run and certificate of analysis is documented.

The resulting refrigerant is then packaged in 30-lb cylinders and in 10-oz canisters. The production line can package up to 60,000 lb of 414B a day. Each cylinder is pulled in a vacuum before charging with the refrigerant.

The present Hot Shot production line is soon to be joined by one for NU-22.

“This is a serious business and we take it seriously” said McKinney. “That’s why we’ve survived and thrived.”

For more information, contact ICOR International at 800-497-6805 or visit (website).

Publication date: 11/05/2001

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