In some cases, virgin R-134a cylinders were found with R-40 contamination levels as high as 30 to 40 percent.Since then, incidents have been reported in other industries, including automotive.“For example, research is being conducted by SAE and other industries to determine safe removal and disposal methods.”Atkinson concurs.
Both parties agree that taking immediate precautionary measures to protect the industry, participants and its customers is a warranted first step.“Customs, port authorities, the Coast Guard and other federal agencies are aware of the problem and are looking more closely at the documentation and physical packaging of the materials coming into the country,” explains Coll.
At first, the problem was isolated outside the automobile industry. Several months ago, the Refrigerant Analysis Division of Neutronics Inc.
was engaged by the Maersk Line, the global shipping container division of the A. Moller - Maersk Group, to assist with a R-134a refrigerant contamination problem in shipping containers that resulted in several deaths and a significant interruption to ocean transport.
Expect future refrigerant identifiers that are planned to be integrated in new R-1234yf service machines to also be able to recognize the presence of R-40 and other refrigerants.
Coll says that existing refrigerant identification tools are not able to specifically identify and measure the presence of R-40 or R-40/R-22 blends in R-134a systems.