With supplies of some refrigerants dwindling, costs rising, and recordkeeping and venting regulations in place, the need for careful refrigerant management is needed more than ever. That being the case, more and more manufacturers are coming out with products to address the need.

Dealing With the New Realities

One recent example came from Polar Technologies of Nashville, Tenn., which announced TrakRef. To set the stage for the announcement, Ted Atwood, owner and president of Polar, reviewed the changes in the industry leading up to more attention on refrigerant management.

“Ever since CFC gases were invented, refrigerants have operated in a commodity environment,” said Ted Atwood, owner and president of Polar Technology. “The industry produced what was demanded and supplies were readily available. Then we learned that refrigerants had a negative impact on the environment.

“Now, the resulting regulations, among other factors, are forever changing the paradigm in which the industry operates. If those in the supply chain are going to survive and thrive, they are going to have to collectively deal with new realities on how to keep expensive equipment operating and serviced — something we call ‘system uptime.’ This will need to be accomplished in a world that includes changing demands, challenges in supply, compliance, and reporting.”

Along the Supply Chain

The TrakRef product is, according to the company, designed to provide tracking and management of refrigerants from the time to purchase, their deployment throughout maintenance cycles, their recovery and reclamation, to their final destruction at the end of their life cycle.

Said Atwood, “When TrakRef is incorporated among the participating points in the supply chain, more of the original refrigerant is kept within the supply chain, ownership of the refrigerant can be accounted for, and regulatory compliance is inherently managed and achieved.”

Atwood continued, “In TrakRef, every point of the supply chain will be able to operate efficiently within their respective discipline and effectively among the disciplines, in a collaborative manner to fully manage the refrigerant throughout the lifecycle. Each discipline will be accountable collectively and to one another.”

The product was introduced in 2012 and is tied into the company’s reclamation program. Atwood said this allows customers “to gain a much greater understanding of their refrigerant reclaim program. The product is available in three customized versions: one for distributors, one for contractors, and one for system owners.”

Publication date: 3/18/2013