In January, Industrial Refrigeration Consortium (IRC) -- a partnership between the University of Wisconsin at Madison and industry -- held its Research and Technology Forum, an annual half-day event in Madison to highlight IRC research and technology transfer activities.
Todd B. Jekel, Ph.D., a research scientist at IRC, began the forum with a presentation on ammonia sensors. After explaining the importance of an ammonia sensor when it comes to the protection of personnel and property, he talked about common sensor types, including electromechanical, solid-state and infrared.
Jekel noted that the ammonia sensor market is growing and offered insight to the emerging sensor types. Regardless of which sensing technology is used, Jeckel added that it is most important to calibrate the sensor according to the manufacturer's requirements and to monitor the integrity of the detection system. A functioning ammonia sensing system is the key to personnel safety and property protections.
James S. Elleson, P.E., director of technical services at IRC, spoke about benchmarking as a management tool. Bench-marking is a way to find out how efficient a company is in relation to other facilities of similar size and to identify opportunities for improvement. In the end, benchmarking, Elleson said, will increase a company's competitiveness.
Kraft Foods' Don Stroud explained an IRC Internet-based ammonia training and certification program that Kraft used at its 35 plants that use ammonia refrigeration.
At the end of the day, Doug Reindl, IRC's director, offered details about the IRC Internet-based ammonia training course. He explained the format, which is instructor-led and held for two hours a day, three days a week for two-and-a-half weeks. Home-work is given and questions/answers are conducted either on the conference phone call or via the computer. No courses are scheduled for 2002 yet, but for more information, visit www.irc.wisc.edu or call (866) 635-4721.