View Full Version : The rock and hard place

28-11-2002, 12:08 PM
Trailer (semi) its mobile has 17Kw Reefer system (diesel powered) with 7Kg 404A or 403B.
The unit is mobile carrying 40 ton prime Beef (12000) or frozen package products (80-100K).
The Reefer breaks down LOADED, low on refrigerant (not major leak but enough to cause low capacity after a few days), you attend the breakdown as a call out.

You find you CANNOT fix the leak which you know will result in the load being lost and it cannot be transhipped to another Reefer within an acceptable safe time.

Do you.
Say sorry I cannot fix your leak, you have lost your load and you the customer must now pay for the disposal costs of the lost load as well as the replacement cost of the load.

Top up the refrigerant to increase cooling capacity so that the load can be saved and returned / forwarded onto a cold store. The customer is informed, paperwork is completed with repair/warnings etc, the trailer is then disabled after the delivery until the repair is completed.

Who takes responsibility for adding refrigerant to a known leaky system.
Which has the least environmental damage the load destruction or topping off the reefer to save the load.
The engineer has to make a decision, does that mean he is guilty if he saves the load, yes you can get the Reefer owner to aknowledge responsibility for topping up the system either by fax or email etc but the customer is driven by delivery times, cost etc.

Food for thought.

28-11-2002, 01:38 PM
Hi, Reeferjon.:) I don't think there is any question regarding the proper thing to do. Top it off and make the repair at the nearest depot after the load is delivered... after letting the customer and your management know the situation and recording it on your work order.

I believe we should be following the spirit and intent of Environmental regulations, and not necessarily the technicalities of the rules.

In the US, at least, there are reasonable considerations that defer to practical limitations of our trade, plant budgets and due diligence. A supermarket, for example, is not considered an illegal leaking source as long as it's annual refrigerant loss does not exceed 35% of its operating refrigerant charge.

Regarding who takes responsibility, I think it should be a shared responsibility, which is why the technician should share his dillemma with his management and document it honestly on his work order.

28-11-2002, 07:32 PM
I know the correct answer is to say "I can't recharge a leaking system because it's illegal" but - hey if you do it and don't tell anyone then the customer saves the product and you score "brownie points".

What is the real answer??

Is legislation costing money and jobs?

I know what I would do as an engineer but I can't tell you for fear of incriminating myself!

29-11-2002, 04:33 PM
In my local authority, there is a clause regarding "Public Health and welfare". In such a scenario, I would make the call that this being a considerable amount of "food source", with no reasonable alternative to protect the food, it would be allowable, and legal to "top off". Sure, you could say that the food will be thrown away, but that call would be made by someone else. What would the possibility be of someone making the decision that the load was not affected, and distribute "the load"?

Hauling or obtaining a load of dry ice might be employed however, if the topping off was considered inappropriate.