Tropicana performed a major overhaul of its refrigeration system at its Bradenton, Fla., facility.

Tropicana, the largest producer of not-from-concentrate juices, performed a major overhaul of its refrigeration system at its Bradenton, Fla., facility. Joe DeMarco, engineering manager at Tropicana, outlined the company¿s overhaul of the largest of its four plants at the Industrial Refrigeration Consortium meeting held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in January.

Inadequacies of the juice maker¿s former North Machine Room prompted the overhaul. The ¿old¿ room served several purposes that included housing an ammonia refrigeration system, compressed air and tower water, and juice processes. According to DeMarco, the mechanical integrity was questionable, there was no secondary containment, and complex manual operation was required. Additionally, there was no room for expansion.

The project was privately funded in December 2001, and facility startup began in November 2002. The North Machine Room was split into two separate facilities: major high stage (HS) loads were shifted to the North System and a much smaller central system was rebuilt.

A new compressor room has centralized the refrigeration department operations with highly automated systems that emphasize ¿world class¿ safety and reliability. DeMarco says this includes minimizing the ammonia charge, implementing a liquid spill recovery system, and minimizing ignition sources in the compressor room. A multilevel ammonia detection system was installed, and alarmed pressure relief was manifolded into the scrubber system. A return gas flow monitoring system tracks online horsepower per ton in real time.

The overhauled facility includes excess flow stations at critical delivery points and automatic staging of all compressors and condensers. Vessels are ASME rated at 250 psig, and there is traffic protection for the pipe bridge.

Other safety and reliability features include:

  • High efficiency oil filtration system.

  • Fire and ammonia detectors tied in to plant-wide alarm and evacuation security system.

  • Building secured with card access.

  • Automated ventilation system.

  • Data acquisition and trending for all key system measurements.

  • Online vibration monitoring system for compressors and condensers.

  • Dual sensing elements for critical control points such as suction header pressure.

  • Total team involvement via process safety management (PSM) process.

  • Electronic system documentation (a critical element for PSM).

  • Adequate lighting for major equipment.

  • Good access for maintenance.

  • Thorough operator and maintenance training.

Designing safety and reliability into the system has helped Tropicana plan for unexpected events and follow PSM principles.