European refrigeration equipment manufacturers (and users) either of air-conditioning, domestic refrigerators or installations of food conservation for the industry, are facing challenges concerning leakage and materials failure during service due to corrosion, fatigue, etc. There is a demand for a reliable data base of the characteristics and test results of these materials as well as on its service performance.
A joint effort on compiling data in a Refrigeration Materials Data Bank (REFMA-DB) on currently used and improved materials is one of the key tasks for better data quality. Small & Medium Enterprises (SME's) also require guidance in the use of materials within the areas of progressively restrictive emission rules, the new CEN standards and quality requirements, the introduction of safety rules and the wide range of technical applications. The Institute for Advanced Materials (IAM) has established knowledge in building up and maintaining PC client/server data bank systems with intelligent user-guidance. Through their use within research organisations and major industries the benefits of such data bank systems have already been demonstrated for a wide range of material applications and issues.
The REFMA-DB project adapted and transferred materials data bank technologies to the main components used in refrigeration circuits. It consisted of two data base parts for sealing, packing and metallic materials. It also included information on corrosive environments and recycling aspects. The project focused on the European refrigeration equipment industry in order to prevent failure and leakage during service. The multi-lingual PC-based data bank user-interface offers intelligent user-guidance and is linked to evaluation routines. Supported languages included English, French, German and Spanish.
The project team consisted of four main contractors and eleven associated contractors representing several European countries. The project partners included major industries and SME's material producers, sealing & packing suppliers, equipment manufacturers, engineering & inspection companies, end users and research centres. Two temperature and application clusters were selected from the refrigeration industries to focus the project. The project also covered marketing, training and preparation of the maintenance network. The work programme included wide technology diffusion activities such as publications, conferences, workshops and World Wide Web presentations.