HC charge-limit increase approved in interim IEC vote

By Charlotte McLaughlin, Jul 16, 2018, 21:28 2 minute reading

updated at: Jul 23, 2018, 16:10

National committees vote 75% yes to 500g for commercial systems – final vote possible by end of ’18.

Marek Zgliczynski, chair of the IEC SC61C subcommittee

National committees on the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have agreed by a 75% ‘yes’ vote to increase the charge limit of A3 (flammable) refrigerants like propane in commercial refrigeration equipment to 500g from 150g, setting the stage for a potential final vote on the IEC 60335-2-89 charge standard by the end of 2018. 

“IEC-89 standard CDV was voted [on and] approved with 75% ‘yes’,” said Marek Zgliczynski, chair of the IEC SC61C subcommittee and manager of commercial refrigeration product engineering for Embraco. 

The vote represents the latest stage, along a lengthy standards process, that will determine whether the higher charge limit is ultimately enacted as an international standard. 

In the weeks preceding the vote by the national committees, there was speculation that the new charge-limit standard might not be approved by more than 67%. Even now, as the process nears its end game, “the battle is not over yet,” said Zgliczynski. 

The battle is not over yet.”
Marek Zgliczynski, chair of the IEC SC61C subcommittee  

During a meeting last October in Vladivostok, Russia, the IEC subcommittee SC61C decided to advance the draft amendment prepared by Working Group WG4 of the IEC 60335-2-89 standard for commercial refrigeration (which calls for the charge limit to rise to 500g, to the next stage in the process (CDV - Committee Draft for Vote), in which IEC national committees take a vote). By voting 75% ‘yes’, they exceeded the minimum 67% required for the standard to advance to the final vote. 

The next step is to address the comments from the CDV process during the next SC61C subcommittee meeting in Busan, South Korea, in October. The subcommittee will then decide, based on whether the issues raised by the comments are resolved, whether the charge-limit draft should go to a final vote phase (FDIS) by the end of 2018. If so, the standard could be published in early 2019 assuming a successful final vote.

Standards from the IEC, a worldwide body that proposes rules governing how to use electrical, electronic and related technologies, influence the development of the market by providing manufacturers and customers with guidelines as to what is safe to use and buy. “To be mandatory, [the standard] has to be adopted by region,” said Zgliczynski.

It is commonly accepted by experts that the 150g limit does not allow manufacturers and end users to fully exploit the safe application of hydrocarbon refrigerants in this sector.

By Charlotte McLaughlin

Jul 16, 2018, 21:28

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