Guntner Brazil Implements ARM for Climatic Test Chamber

The Ammonia Refrigeration Management Program, built by the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration to help small facilities develop a sound safety plan focused on prevention, now has a global reach.

Last month, ARM was implemented at Guntner Brazil’s ammonia test facility in South America, site of the only climatic test chamber of this size in the country.

“This is a significant step forward because it expands the area in which the program is being used and gives it a little more credence,” said Gordon Struder, vice president, product engineering, North and Latin America. “IIAR has been around a long time and is well established in the United States, and this allows them to expand into the international arena and widen its net globally. This is just a natural progression.”

ARM was created to help facilities that use less than 10,000 pounds of ammonia navigate safety risks and avoid the potential consequences of an operation-related incident. Although smaller facilities don’t face the same federal safety requirements of larger facilities, they are also susceptible to hazards that could result in serious consequences. In addition, they are held to a minimum safety standard set by OSHA and the EPA that places responsibility on employers to keep workers and neighbors safe from hazardous chemicals, regardless of the size of the facility.

The IIAR’s ARM program provides a tool that any small facility can utilize to meet these challenges. The program directs companies and facilities toward proper safety procedures that fit their needs and guides them through the process of building a basic safety program that is suited to their unique operations.

It addresses such topics as the management system, documentation, contractors, mechanical integrity and emergency response. It also simplifies the record keeping and program maintenance elements of the more complex PSM and RMP requirements.

Guntner Brazil’s climatic test chamber provides performance testing of full scale heat transfer equipment. “It is a state-of-the-art testing facility,” Struder said. “Customers can see how the equipment works. It gives them a much better perspective on what they’re buying.”

The facility was built in accordance with ASHRAE 64, and it is expected to serve as the forerunner for other small ammonia facilities considering implementation of the ARM program.

“We felt sure this would be an excellent program for them,” Struder said. “I think it’s working quite well. We want this to take root and make sure they are 100 percent up to speed on the program, so that this will translate over to other facilities, and we can make sure that they are all following the same safety guidelines.”