Afcon Agas Refrigerant Gas R22 R410 R404 R406
THE South African market has seen an influx in the variety of available sources for the supply of disposable refrigerant cylinders. Quality and value for money should remain key considerations when purchasing refrigerant in disposable cylinders. The criteria below can be used as a guide to ensure peace of mind and ultimate satisfaction with product and cylinders purchased.

Refrigeration - Disposable Packaging:

Refrigerant Branding

Always purchase refrigerant that is in a branded disposable cylinder, because generic disposable cylinders are difficult to trace back to the source of manufacture. Branded disposables will carry either the manufacturer’s or the importer’s details.

Refrigeration Product Batch Number

Ensure the batch number of the product appears on the disposable; this batch number is specific to the batch of refrigerant in the disposable cylinder and is
used as a reference between the disposable cylinder and the Certificate of Analysis. This batch number also appears on our box.

Refrigeration - D.O.T. 39

This is the required specification that appears in SANS 10019 for disposable cylinders entering South Africa and should appear on all refrigerant disposable cylinders.

Refrigeration Manufacturing Codes and Disposable Batch Number

The code starts with an M and is followed by 4 digits, which is the disposable cylinder manufacturer’s code. This confirms full compliance with D.O.T. 39. The batch number printed on the shoulder of the disposable allows traceability of the disposable cylinder.

Refrigeration Safety Data Sheet (SDS)

It is a requirement that you have in your possession a Safety Data Sheet when using refrigerants. Ensure that the SDS coincides with the product being purchased and that the branding is the same. Should you change suppliers, or your supplier changes suppliers, you should request a new SDS as an SDS from one supplier cannot be used for product from another supplier.

Refrigeration - Certificate of Analysis (COA)

A COA should be requested for every purchase of refrigerants so as to check that the purity of the product conforms to AHRI 700 Standards. Make sure that the batch number on the COA is the same as the batch number on the disposable cylinder. We have come across a number of COAs being distributed in the market where the batch number on the COA does not match the batch number on the disposable cylinder. In some instances the results on the COA itself actually shows the product failing the requirements, yet the product and COA are still being distributed! For this reason we feel it is necessary to list the testing criteria of refrigerants according to AHRI 700 Standards which can be used for comparison.

Fundamental terms

On an international level, the use of the Systeme International d’Unités is used in refrigeration.  This is often referred to as the SI-system. For a number of countries the implementation of the SI-system is still an on-going process.  However, in many parts of the refrigeration community metric units or other alternative units are still used (the practically used alternative units will be shown in brackets). The table shows the SI-units and the other often used alternative units.


Temperature is a very important part of refrigeration. Almost all refrigeration systems are for the purpose of reducing the temperature of an object like the air in a room or the objects stored in that room. The SI-unit for temperature Kelvin [K] is an absolute temperature because its reference point [0 K] is the lowest temperature that it in theory would be able to obtain.

When working with refrigeration systems the temperature unit degree Celsius [°C] is a more practical unit to use. Celsius is not an absolute temperature scale because its reference point (0 °C) is defined by the freezing point of water (equal to 273.15 K).  The only difference between Kelvin and Celsius is the difference in reference point. This means that a temperature difference of 1 °C is exactly the same as a temperature difference of 1 K. In the scientific part of the refrigeration community temperature differences are often described using [K] instead of [°C]. This practice eliminates the possible mix-up of temperatures and temperature differences.

SI Table

Refrigeration - an introduction to the basics

Refrigeration is a process that removes heat. A refrigeration plant is used to cool down articles or substances, and maintain them at a temperature lower than the ambient temperature.

At the beginning of the last century, it was discovered that the growth of micro-organisms relies on temperature, growth declines as temperature falls, and after +10°C growth slows considerably.  This knowledge allowed the use of refrigeration to conserve foodstuffs using natural ice.  The first mechanical refrigerators for the production of ice appeared around the year 1860. In 1880 the first ammonia compressors and insulated cold stores were put into use in the USA.  Electricity was used from the beginning the 20th century and mechanical refrigeration plants came into being.  After the Second World War small hermetic refrigeration compressors were produced refrigerators and freezers began to be used in the home. Today, these appliances are regarded as normal household necessities.


Durban, 24 June 2015

I recently discovered this article on the internet originally written in 2008.  In 2008 the Bitzer Open Drive Compressors as well as the Marine Condensors used for the air conditioning plants on the Tugs were supplied by Afcon Industrial Equipment to the contractor.  This was seven years ago and I am pleased to report that the shipbuilding industry is still thriving in Durban and has been awarded the contract for a further eight tugs to be built.  At Afcon we pride ourselves on keeping all details of orders supplied.  We have again supplied the Compressors and Condensors and the Racks are currently being manufactured off site by our customer for fitting onto the Tugs when ready. (


Huge boost for shipbuilding in Durban

By Allan Jackson - October 2008

An order for five harbour tugs valued at over R400-million is currently under construction for the Transnet National Ports Authority. This has made the future for shipbuilding in Durban look brighter than it has for many years.

This is according to Louis Gontier, MD of Southern African Shipyards.. The firm, located at Bayhead in the city, is currently hard at work building the first five tugs in tandem, and expects to launch the first in July 2009 and complete it in October 2009. Gontier said that he was proud to receive the order from the NPA as this showed that the firm had earned the approval of the TNPA.


Tug boat construction 2008

The TNPA has called for tenders for the building of eight additional tugs and adjudication is imminent. SAS are confident that they will secure at least part of this order, and possibly the entire order.

The five tugs, or water tractors as they are sometimes also known, will be built to a design by Naval Africa, around principles laid down by Voith Schneider, whose propulsion systems will be installed in each of the vessels. Instead of normal screw propellers, the Voith system uses two counter-rotating discs, each fitted with 5 symetrical blades, mounted vertically.

The system, which was invented over 100 years ago, gives vessels the ability to sail in any direction and turn on their own axis, ensuring the highest levels of maneuvrability and safety. Each tug will be equipped with two MAN engines giving a total of 5300KW of installed power, and will be able to perform a bollard-pull of 70 tons, making them the most powerful tugs in the TNPA's fleet.

The quality of workmanship on the tugs is equal to anything available in Europe due to extremely stringent quality checks carried out at all stages of the building. South African Shipyards is ISO 9001/2000 certified by TUV Rheinland. In addition, the TNPA has a technical representative permanently onsite to conduct checks and he is backed-up at all stages by an inspector from French standards organisation, Bureau Veritas.

Gontier says he still cannot really believe how rapidly South African Shipyards has taken off since it was bought by himself, another private investors and BEE partner Hlahlindlela Investments in January 2006. The company also allocated 12% share to its employees trust. Using finance obtained from the KwaZulu Natal Growth Fund, the investors obtained the prime Bayhead property, complete with buildings and equipment.

The NPA was about to order a number of tugs and the purchase was made with a view to winning the orders or, if that failed, of establishing a marine and ship repair park to attract tenants. In the event, a number of tenants did move in but it wasn't long before an order for three tugs was obtained and, six months later, an order for two more.

No ships had been built in Durban for a number of years but the company found that there were still a sizeable number of people available with the necessary skills. This includes Jurgen Cobarg, who became the company's shipbuilding general manager.

The construction of the first vessel started in August 2007 and others have followed at regular intervals since then. The vessels are being built in a 320m long and 30m high building on a production line large enough to beggar my imagination when I visited it. A second hall of some 300m long is being used to fabricate smaller components.

The company is not immune to skills shortage faced by industry as a whole, and recently embarked on an apprenticeship program. Regular intakes of apprentices are now being taken on for training in various disciplines including boiler-making, electrical, fitting, welding, mechanical, and rigging. It is generally accepted that each shipbuilding job has a downstream multiplier effect of eight. This means that around 2000 people are depending for their livelihoods on the vessels now being built at South African Shipyards.

Gontier is very optimistic about the future of his company, saying that enormous interest is already being shown by foreign owners in Durban-built vessels. He also said that the company had recently played host to Vice Admiral Mudimu, Chief of the South African Navy, and he said he was hopeful that the company would get involved in the building of inland and offshore patrol vessels for the navy.

The signs were also good, he said, that foreign organisations were becoming interested in the company's expertise in building Voith-pattern harbour tugs and that, after completing the five on order from the TNPA, the company would hopefully be in the running for international orders for the same type of tugs.

Also helping to secure the company's future and create even more jobs is their recent establishment of a ship repair division, which completes afloat and dry dock repairs and provides riding gangs which can perform repairs while vessels are on the move. Management are astonished at the growth in that side of the business, which started off from a zero-base in November 2007 and grew rapidly to the stage where turnover burst over the R12-million mark in July, just over six months later.

Regarding proposed plans to do with digging out the area at Bayhead, to build more container handling capacity for the port, Gontier said that, as far as he was concerned, the company had a lease on the land until 2022. He pointed out that it had been estimated that it would cost around R300-million to move South African Shipyards to another site, and provide it with the same facilities it currently has.

FRIGAIR South Africa

FRIGAIR trade expo is the only heating, energy, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration trade show in Africa. If you want to see and be seen it is the place to be whether exhibiting or not. FRIGAIR exhibitors are top local and international companies who showcase all sorts of equipment applicable to the HVAC/R industry both in South Africa, Southern Africa and indeed Africa as a whole. New products are launched, with tried and trusted products also on display. Not only do exhibitors showcase their products but FRIGAIR exhibitors also offer workshops on various topics. Only held every three years FRIGAIR trade expo is not to be missed. With this in mind Neil and myself, as the Afcon Industrial Equipment representatives, headed for Johannesburg for three days of interaction in the HVAC&R industry. Afcon Industrial equipment represent Bitzer, Carel Controls and Cubicool International representatives in KwaZulu Natal and as such we enjoy spending a fair amount of time at their exhibitions, interacting with our colleagues and meeting our customers as well as keeoing up with the latest developments from these leading companies.
Kerry Golton at Frigair 2015Neil Golton General Manager of Afcon at Frigair 2015
Bitzer Kuhlmachinenbau always offers high end products. Their compressors are well known in the industry and Bitzer are always working on new technology. The Ecoline range of compressors, originally only offered for R134a compressors, and now available for all refrigerants are designed to be energy efficient and offer environmental awareness. Bitzer are the leaders in Screw Compressors which offer a range of larger capacities and have specific models designed to create cold water for Chiller Plants and low temperature models for freezer and cold room applications as well as temperature models for freezer and cold room applications.
 Frigair Bitzer 1 smallerFrigair Bitzer 2 smallerFrigair Bitzer 3 smallerFrigair Bitzer 4 smallerFrigair Bitzer Scrolls smaller

Cubicool International

Cubicool International is a leading manufacturer in South Africa of modular packaged refrigeration systems. Cubicool refrigeration systems are used in many leading supermarkets all over South Africa and indeed Africa. The Cubicool factory in Johannesburg is where they design and manufacture all if their premium quality refrigeration equipment. The factory is a hive of activity and we were able to see a number of refrigerated Racks currently being manufactured for Afcon's customers, on the factory floor. 
Many of the Cubicool products that Afcon supplies are built using Bitzer Compressors. We are currently working on a large project for a contractor in KwaZulu Natal but products have also supplied equipment into a number of other countries in Africa as near as Mocambique and as far afield as Ghana.


It was a pleasure to meet one of the CEO’s of CAREL Controls, Kevin Marr, who is based in Australia. It is good to know that CAREL staff are all sourced from the HVAC R industry and have a wealth of knowledge of their products.   One of Carel's innovative new products is the EVD Ice technology using an "over mould" process.  This allows the EVD Ice to be totally waterproof and can work in temperatures of up to minus 35 eg C.  All the sensors come attached and sealed for easy and quick installation. This product is mainly aimed at the OEM market, however all enquiries about this product are welcome. 
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