A new ammonia test facility for industrial refrigeration offers the equivalent of a 25,000 ft2 cold storage facility for use by the research and development team at Parker. Located in Broadview, Ill., Parker's Refrigerating Specialties division has a full test laboratory staffed by full-time technicians as well as the new ammonia test facility with its full-time staff. They allow Parker to validate and verify products before they reach the market, says the company.

The ammonia test facility includes a 60-ton ammonia refrigeration system with two 30-ton evaporator coils, a closed-loop condenser unit, a complete engine room, a cold box, and a custom piping arrangement. The two 30 TR evaporator units can operate in a standard flooded arrangement or as direct expansion units. These two coils provide enough cooling capacity to refrigerate a standard 25,000 ft2 cold storage facility. The 24' by 48' cold box was installed with glycol floor heating to prevent frost heaving; LED lighting; and multiple locations to install and test new products. The custom piping arrangement helps ensures that new products can be easily applied to the real-world conditions that exist in the test rig. Parker is able to put products into ammonia operation and subject them to typical ambient conditions, including frosting and outdoor use, hot-gas defrost cycles, and a wide range of operating conditions.

The existing test laboratory is used for benchmark studies including flow rates, pressure testing and maximum opening pressure differential testing. It also has a machine shop, a salt spray test rig, and a thermal test chamber.

Parker has already put the capabilities to the test, using them to validate products prior to their introduction at the 2014 IIAR Conference in Nashville in March. The PA4C, a 100 percent stainless steel weld-in valve, was first and has been installed on the test rig, where it operates effectively even when covered in frost.

Parker plans to add to the research and development facilities by installing a similarly sized CO2 refrigeration test system. The company expects to break ground for that industrial test facility soon.