ANAHEIM, Calif. - Once upon a time, more than 50 companies could be found at trade shows promoting recovery and reclamation equipment. Today the number can be counted on a couple of hands - and maybe a few toes.

For the most part, those showing such wares - and their products - have stood the test of time.

At the 2004 International Heating, Air-Conditioning, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo), a number of companies were providing the latest word on this now familiar - but always changing - aspect of the industry.

CPS Products’ Cyclone CR700. (Photo by Peter Powell.)

Advancements Noted

For instance,Advanced Test Products( featured the Promax MiniMax recovery unit. The RG5410A has a high-pressure select switch for R-410A. A larger unit from the ATP's Robinair business, the 2575B, recovers with liquid and vapor options, said the company.

Bacharach (, meanwhile, focused on its Stinger Model 2000 recovery system. According to the company, the unit recovers all types of medium- and high-pressure refrigerants, including R-410A. It features an oilless valve compressor driven by an 8-amp motor, said the company, noting the compressor works with a condenser and two cooling fans for recovery. The company said the unit delivers recovery rates of 4.63 pounds per minute for liquid, 14.33 pounds per minute for liquid push-pull, and 0.33 pounds per minute for vapor.

Among refrigerants the unit is said to handle are R-12, -22, -114, -134a, -401A, -401B, -401C, -402A, -402B, -404A, -406A, -407A, -407B, -407C, -407D, -408A, -409A, -410A, -411A, -411B, -412A, -500A, -502B, -507, and -509. It is not designed for use with R-11 or -123. A basic purge system prevents cross-contamination of refrigerants without changing hoses, said the company.

The Stinger is "ideal for the recovery of refrigerant from air conditioning units or refrigeration systems, as well as residential, commercial, and industrial equipment," stated the company. It can work on equipment up to five tons, said the company, and recovers liquid without damaging the compressor.

CPS Products Inc. ( featured its line of Pro-Set refrigerant recovery machines, including the Cyclone CR700. The unit is a 1-horsepower (hp), oilless reciprocating recovery compressor. The company said it is R-410A ready with a 550-psi, high-pressure shut-off switch and automatic low-pressure shut-off switch. There is a built-in suction filter located under the suction port, said the company. The unit is made with double-walled plastic housing. Controls are top-mounted, designed for easy viewing.

An oversized piston head and cylinder combine with what the company said was a 450 percent larger discharge port "to achieve the highest ARI liquid recovery rate in its class." The suction port design "eliminates the suction valve and precisely meters incoming refrigerant." A self-regulating vacuum chamber automatically flashes and vaporizes incoming refrigerant, it said. The unit also comes with a shoulder strap.

Powermax recovery equipment was on display at the ThermaFlo booth. (Photo by Jim Johnson.)

Designed To Protect

The Vortex recovery machine fromInficon( is said to provide rapid recovery for all refrigerants. The unit has individual valves with dual-sealed stems, designed to reduce the potential for leaks.

An enlarged fan provides for airflow over the condenser as well as the compressor, so as to improve cooling and lower pressures, said the company. The condenser was designed for less air restriction and more direct heat transfer, it said. The 1/3-hp DC motor-driven compressor is single-valve, liquid-tolerant, and oilless. The company said it could stand up to heavy use and liquid slugs. It recovers commonly used CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs, including R-404A and -410A.

The unit self-purges without the need to change hoses and there is an optional overflow protection device, said the company.

Mastercool ( showed a recovery system designed to work with all refrigerants and in residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

The unit has a 1/2-hp oilless compressor with a built-in, high-volume cooling fan. This design "delivers maximum cooling efficiency, which keeps the compressor working at high capacities in even the hottest climates," the company said.

An automatic low-pressure cut-off switch is designed to shut off the unit once the recovery is complete, all designed to protect the compressor. In addition, the automatic shut-off is designed to reduce the technician's need to monitor the entire recovery process.

The company noted that all of its recovery systems have color-coded gauges with pressure readings in psi, bar, and Mpa. A stainless steel ball valve-designed manifold is said to control the flow smoothly and quickly with just a quarter turn. "All of the internal components have been arranged and isolated to ensure smooth and quiet performance, " the company said.

Refco Manufacturing U.S. Inc. ( featured its PLUS-12 recovery machine. The company claimed it used no oil and was "maintenance free." It is designed to recover the whole range of CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs, including R-12, -134a, -22, -401, -402, -404, -406, -407, -408, -409, -410A, -411, -412, -500, -502, -507, and -509.

According to the company, the unit "has no cross-contamination or oil to check." It weighs in at 26 pounds, has automatic liquid and vapor regulation, and a capacity to recover more than 40 pounds per hour. Officials noted a special pressure valve to prevent slugging. There is a built-in manifold for vapor, liquid, or combined recovery, and automatic pressure regulation.

The company said purging and self-cleaning "is on the fly" so as to avoid the need for a shutdown. The feature allows push-pull and subcooling.

A condenser with forced-fan cooling allows recovery on hot days, said the company. High-pressure capability is to 470-psi discharge with high-pressure start capability. Other features of the unit include connections that point down, not toward one's eyes; connection points on one side; safety pressure switches; thermal overloads; and circuit breakers.

Wide Ranges

Reftec International Inc.( featured the Microvac II recovery unit that uses a 3/4-hp oil-free compressor. The company said it can service larger cooling systems and has 30 percent faster recovery rates versus its previous Microvac design. Mesh cabinet screens increase air circulation and condensing capacity, the company said.

A special ball valve is designed to prevent slugging and premature compressor failure. A 10-inch vacuum switch is used to halt recovery and prevent the compressor from running against a deep vacuum with no lubrication and prematurely wearing out components.

The company said the top handle shields valves, ports, and gauges, while a double-walled plastic housing absorbs shock and abrasion.

Two hand valves are used for self-evacuation and recovery. Recovery is automatically halted when the process is complete. The 30-pound unit is carried with a shoulder strap. The company noted the compressor in the unit may be overhauled in the field with simple tools and available spare parts.

Ritchie Engineering Co. ( had a range of recovery units, including a new model, the R80 Series universal recovery system. The model follows a line of units that began with the R60a that used a 1/2-hp direct-drive compressor. The Model R70a took the features of the R60a, but added fully automatic operation, said the company.

The R80 adds a subcooling to the features of the R70a. The company noted that when ambient temperatures go up at a service site, refrigerant in the recovery tank may get hot and expand to increase pressure and reduce recovery speed.

One option has been to ice the tank to cool and condense the contents. The R80a allows a technician to flip the subcooling switch. The subcooling lowers the temperature of the refrigerant below its dewpoint. In the subcooling mode, the R80a draws hot vapor from the recovery tank and it goes back through the condenser. The vapor is cooled and returned to the tank as a liquid to lower tank temperature and pressure, it said.

ThermaFlo ( featured several recovery products, including the OZsaver 4000 and the Powermax 600. In both models, it was noted that liquid/gas changeover is automatic, there is the use of a tank overfill safety shut-off, and self-evacuation is provided. On the OZsaver, the company said subcooling is automatic; this is a manual procedure on the Powermax 600.

The OZsaver 4000 was designed for large commercial units and weighs 29 pounds. The Powermax 600 was targeted for smaller applications and weighs in at 22 pounds.

The company also drew attention to its long tenure in the industry, dating back to 1975. It introduced the OZsaver and its oilless compressor technology in 1989.

Publication date: 03/01/2004