Refrigerant recovery machines are designed to last a long time. In fact, some manufacturers say that with proper maintenance, their units can last more than 10 or 15 years. But machines eventually break or wear out, and the need for additional recovery units becomes necessary.

Contractors shopping for new recovery machines will be pleased to find that new units are often considerably lighter and faster than older models. Some can even be repaired in the field, which can significantly reduce downtime.


All refrigerant recovery units are designed to transport refrigerant from the a/c or refrigeration system into the recovery cylinder as quickly as possible, with typical tradeoffs for size and weight of the unit, said Dan Sampson, sales engineer for Robinair, Bosch Automotive Service Solutions.

“However, there is always room for innovation and new ideas,” he said. “We’re always evaluating and testing our current products to see what can be improved and if we can create a better, faster, or more efficient way to recover refrigerant and service a/c systems.”

As a result, Robinair developed the RG3, which is its newest refrigerant recovery machine. The RG3 is an affordable, lightweight, portable recovery machine that is designed to handle all chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with an Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) Class III, IV, or V rating (medium to high pressure) and a flammability rating of 1 (no flame propagation). The RG3 weighs 18 pounds and features an oil-less single-cylinder compressor incorporated into a highly efficient cross-flow cooling design, which enables it to achieve fast recovery rates.

“The key difference of the RG3 is its remarkably compact size and light weight,” said Sampson. “Whenever I demonstrate the RG3 to technicians at tradeshows or open houses, they’re amazed at how small and light it is. Because size and weight are key features of the RG3, it is designed primarily for smaller a/c jobs — systems under 3 tons or rooftop jobs where it is much easier to transport for the technician. The machine has a one-year over-the-counter warranty and is easily serviced in the field, so technicians can avoid downtime.”

Fieldpiece’s new MR45 digital refrigerant recovery machine features optimized pump performance, which allows HVACR professionals to do their jobs quickly and accurately, said Russ Harju, sales and marketing director, Fieldpiece Instruments.

“Fieldpiece looked deep into the specific application of HVACR, and we were able to combine traditional technology components and optimize them for HVACR applications,” he said.

The MR45 is designed to handle non-flammable refrigerants and features a variable-speed DC motor that adjusts performance to handle liquid smoothly and then ramp up to 3,300 rpm when it senses vapor. Featuring a one-year warranty, the MR45 weighs 22 pounds, protects against voltage drops, and includes a smart digital display that provides large micron and pressure readings, along with status messages.

INFICON’s Vortex Dual refrigerant recovery machine is designed to handle all common non-flammable (A1) and slightly flammable (A2L) refrigerants, including R-22, R-404, R-407c, R-410A, R-134a, R-32, and R-1234yf. It features a 1 hp dual-piston compressor, microchannel condenser, oversized fan, heavy-duty blow-molded case, easy two-knob operation with self-purge, and protected easy-to-read gauges.

“These combine for industry-leading recovery speeds of liquid, vapor, and high-temperature vapor at a competitive price,” said Bob Belvick, product manager, INFICON.

While recovery machines often use piston compressors, their condensers can be very different, explained Belvick.

“The fin-and-tube condenser is much less efficient than a microchannel condenser,” he said. “The Vortex Dual combines a powerful compressor and superior heat exchange from the microchannel condenser to provide fast recovery speeds, especially in real-world high-temperature conditions. We also offer a three-year over-the-counter replacement warranty, so if technicians have a problem, they can quickly get back to the job and minimize downtime.”

The ECO-2020™ from Bacharach is a twin-cylinder refrigerant recovery unit capable of handling all non-flammable CFC, HFC, and HCFC refrigerants. Powered by a 1 hp oil-less compressor, the unit quickly, quietly, and effortlessly recovers virtually any refrigerant, saving time and money, said Shelli Cosmides, marketing communications manager, Bacharach Inc.

“The ECO-2020 is certified by AHRI to Standard 740 as the fastest unit in its class and is covered by a one-year over-the-counter warranty” she said. “It offers simple, one-knob, three-step operation and can evacuate a typical residential system in under five minutes.”

The new RecoverXLT2-AP™ refrigerant recovery machine from Yellow Jacket is specifically designed for A2L refrigerants, including R-32 and R-1234yf. It incorporates the recommended best practices from Europe, which has 10 years of experience in the recovery of flammables, with the newest safety standards in the U.S. to allow safe operation, said Karl Johnson, director of engineering, Ritchie Engineering Co. Inc.

“Power connections, cabinet venting, recovery pressure control, and stringent non-incendive component testing offer a safety margin for operation when recovering A2L refrigerants,” he said.

As refrigerant regulations change, there will be a growing need for recovery machines to be able to handle slightly flammable and flammable refrigerants. However, there is also a push for natural refrigerants and hydrocarbons, many of which do not need to be recovered.

“We are moving toward a time when refrigerants, like CO2 and propane, will be so inexpensive and benign that they will no longer need to be recovered,” said Johnson.

But a large amount of legacy equipment still contains CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs, which is why recovery machines will be a fixture on every technician’s truck for many years to come.

Publication date: 4/9/2018

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