NAVAC Inc. won Gold in the Electronic Tools category for its NRDC4M refrigerant recovery machine, which was created as an alternative to the conventional single- or dual-cylinder design.
“For most residential applications, those designs are adequate in terms of recovery speed,” said Stephen Rutherford, vice president of HVAC business at NAVAC Inc. “However, large HVAC systems used in commercial applications contain a significant amount of refrigerant, and conventional recovery units are too slow to do the job, or they require the use of cumbersome cart-mounted machines.”
To satisfy the demand from contractors for a faster and more robust recovery unit, NAVAC’s engineers created a four-cylinder design, which dramatically increases the recovery speed. Compared to a conventional two-cylinder machine, the NRDC4M recovery machine is up to 40 percent faster, said Rutherford.
Thomas Lech, owner of Lech Air Conditioning in San Francisco, California, agreed, noting that NAVAC has invented an entirely new class of portable recovery machines.
“The speed on these machines is incredible,” he said. “In fact, they essentially operate in Ludicrous Mode, just like on Elon Musk’s Tesla cars. They’re that fast. They actually recover right down into the micron vacuum level in about a quarter of the time of other recovery machines.”
For example, Lech said he could spend three to four hours recovering refrigerant on a normal commercial job, but with NAVAC’s NRDC4M, he is able to perform that same recovery in about 45 minutes.
“You are able to finish more jobs in a day, which is more profit in your pocket,” Lech continued. “This new recovery machine paid for itself in just a matter of weeks, and this is why I plan to replace all my other recovery machines as well.”
Adam Ogg, service manager at Payne Air Conditioning in Lakeland, Florida, is also a fan, noting that the time saved on rooftop compressor changeouts, particularly in the heat of summer, is significant.
“When you have the ability to recovery 17 pounds of refrigerant in less than 30 minutes, without having to cool off your recovery machine with ice and water, your profit levels rise,” he said. “It has been a game changer in our larger tonnage changeouts, like 70- and 100-ton chillers. This machine can take days off of refrigerant recovery. The first time we used it was incredible, unlike anything I have seen before. We recovered over 200 pounds of R-134a in less than two hours. This machine allows you to find the right psi to make the recovery time fly by.”
In developing the new recovery machine, NAVAC reached out to its contractor and distributor customers to engineer and fine-tune the NRDC4M’s features based on market needs. These features include a large, user-friendly LCD screen and a complex connecting method for the unit’s two compressors — each of which has two cylinders. It also has a brushless DC motor for high efficiency and improved startup performance and is suitable for all commonly used refrigerants.
But the most important feature of the machine is its speed, said Rutherford.
“It will provide substantial time savings for contractors to complete their residential or commercial jobs,” he said. “It’s particularly helpful for large tonnage commercial HVAC systems, as this unit will cut the recovery time by hours, providing significant economic benefits for the contractor and the end user.”
Winning Silver is Ritchie Engineering Co./Yellow Jacket® for its YJACK™ Series temperature and humidity wireless sensors with YJACK VIEW™ app. The YJACK Series is a network of devices that form a new platform, which offers a total HVACR diagnostics solution.
The 67071 YJACK temperature/humidity kit includes two wireless YJACK temperature clamps, two YJACK DEW™ psychrometer probes, and a YJACK PATH™ range extender. The wireless temperature clamps allow the user to measure system temperatures without tangled wires, sending them to a Yellow Jacket P51-870 TITAN® or smart device. Each device utilizes low-energy Bluetooth (BLE) technology to interconnect with each other and any Android or Apple smart device. The YJACK VIEW app provides easy-to-use access to all information measured by the YJACK Series of devices.
The wireless YJACK DEW psychrometer probes can measure temperature, humidity, wet bulb, and dew point at the air duct supply and return. Long measurement distance is not a problem, as the YJACK PATH range extender can double the 400-foot range of any YJACK probe to 800 feet, or the user can add up to five more YJACK PATH range extenders to a maximum 2,400-foot range.
“Continued innovation in the digital wireless measurement segment allows the service technician to be more productive and spend less time recording system information,” said Gary Lampasona, vice president of sales and marketing at Ritchie Engineering. “By driving all measured information to a central repository in the YJACK VIEW app, they only need to go to one place for all information.”
NAVAC Inc. won Bronze for its NRC62D refrigerant charging station, which is an all-in-one tool that allows technicians to automatically charge a system. It will also evacuate, test, and charge a system just by entering the amount of charge, said Stephen Rutherford, vice president of HVAC business at NAVAC Inc.
“The entire machine was designed with the technician in mind,” he said. “With just one easy hookup to the system and refrigerant tank, technicians need only enter the charge weight, and with one push of the button, three tasks can be completed automatically: evacuate, test, and charge. We also added temperature probes for technicians who use superheat and subcool parameters to charge a system. The easy menu-driven system allows technicians to enter their own individual parameters for vacuum target, decay level, and decay duration, which will help the technician get to specific levels that are required for each individual job.”
The refrigerant charging station features a 6-cfm DC inverter pump with high ultimate vacuum of 15 microns. It comes with a Bluetooth scale that can also be used as a standalone scale, and a digital manifold gauge is right on the 4.5-inch LCD display.