The 100-year-old Cerveceria Quilmes of Buenos Aires is the largest brewery in Argentina. It has a reputation for a quality product.

So when Gabriel Conigliaro, maintenance manager, noticed that the ammonia compressors used to cool the brewing water were absorbing what he thought was an abnormally high amount of refrigeration oil, he began investigating.

“What originally caught my attention was the fact that the ammonia compressors were not cooling down the brewing water efficiently,” Conigliaro said. “We had to constantly keep changing and refilling the system’s refrigeration fluid because it was dissolving so quickly. It was a vicious cycle.”

The maintenance staff had to top off the system frequently. Conigliaro noted, “While this process of topping off would correct the cooling temperature, the fluctuations risked affecting the brewing process. It was also very inefficient and expensive. There was the risk that someone would forget to top off and an entire batch of beer would be lost and the machinery ruined. The cost of repairing the damage would be enormous.”

The manager decided to try a product called Reflo 68A, an oil from Petro-Canada designed for use in ammonia systems. The decision proved to be a good one. He said the fluid absorption into the ammonia was almost nil, the compressors began to run with less friction, and there was less noise and energy consumption.

Said Conigliaro, “The fluid consumption in our compressors was reduced by 95%, saving us thousands of dollars per year. Our oil consumption has never been lower, and I don’t even have to do routine checks on our ammonia compressors anymore.”

Reflo 68A is a mineral oil-based product with some additives. It is formulated with the company’s “HT (hydrotreated) base oils to deliver long oil life and an extremely low solubility in ammonia, which results in decreased oil consumption.”

Petro-Canada’s oils are formulated from 99.9% pure base oils and combined with “a proprietary additive package.” The HT process “eliminates aromatics and impurities by chemically reacting the feed stock with hydrogen in the presence of a catalyst, at high temperature (572 degrees F) and pressure (3,000 psi),” according to Petro-Canada.

The company went on to note that “The oils are separated by distillation and chill de-waxed to improve low-temperature fluidity, then passed through a second hydrotreater for additional saturation. The final step maximizes base oil stability by removing the last traces of aromatic and polar molecules resulting in water-white base oils, which are 99.9% pure.

“The hydrocarbon molecules that are formed are saturated and very stable, which makes them ideal for specialty process applications and high-performance lubricants.”

The company stated Reflo 68A has been approved for use by such companies as Vilter, Mycom, Sabroe, Sullair, Howden, and APV Baker. It has also been accepted for use in food processing plants by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Petro-Canada is headquartered in Calgary, AB. Its commercial lubricants division is located in Mississauga, ON. Its United States representation is in Chicago IL, and can be reached at 888-284-4572. The company’s website is

Publication date: 04/01/2002