EU Harmonized Standard That Allows 500 g of R-290 in Commercial Refrigeration Applications is in Force

Date: 30 August 2023
EU Harmonized Standard That Allows 500 g of R-290 in Commercial Refrigeration Applications is in Force
After several years of discussions (everything started in 2014) European manufacturers will be able to sell self contained equipment with a flammable refrigerant charge up to approximately 500 grams of R-290 and up to 1,2 kg of A2L flammable refrigerants .

In fact, on August 2nd 2023, updated EN IEC 60335-2-89:2022 “Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety – Part 2-89: Particular requirements for commercial refrigerating appliances and ice-makers with an incorporated or remote refrigerant unit or motor-compressor” was published in the OJEU (Official Journal of the EU) with the “COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION (EU) 2023/1586 of 26 July 2023” that supersedes EN IEC 60335-2-89:2010 and its amendments.

This European Harmonised Standard deals with the safety requirements for electrically operated commercial refrigerating appliances and ice-makers that have an incorporated motor-compressor or that are supplied in two units for assembly as a single appliance in accordance with the instructions (split system). We are talking of plug in, integral plug-in, blast freezers, etc., quite a big market in the European commercial refrigeration sector in which compressor and component manufacturers are engaged in.

An harmonised standard allows the manufacturers of equipment falling into the definitions and the scope, to introduce in the European market CE marked products with the ‘presumption of conformity’ with corresponding rules, in this case with the EU Machine Directive (MD).

“This is what the European manufacturers were expecting from some time, since the correspondent IEC standard was available for more than three years” comments Marco Masini, president of ASERCOM. “This is important news, considering the increasing numbers of commercial refrigeration equipment adopting flammable refrigerants like propane (R-290) and isobutane (R-600a) in the move to reduce enviromental impact”.

Marek Zgliczynski, member of the Standard WG of ASERCOM and Chair of the IEC SC61c subcommittee (which was responsible for developing the “mother” IEC standard update) commented: “With the new harmonised standard we will be able to overcome the capacity limit of the previous version when using flammable refrigerants, and potentially reach up to 5 to 6 kW of cooling power, something that blast freezers or ice machines, for example, need to deliver their job”.

Earlier in 2019, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) revised its safety standard IEC 60335-2-89, increasing the charge limit for flammable refrigerants in self-contained commercial refrigeration appliances, but manufacturers did not use it because of the liability issues when adopting a not harmonised standard. In fact IEC standard is a voluntary international recommendation, but not legally binding.

“Thanks to the new EN standard there is no need to conduct a separate risk assessment under EN 378 – which is a case by case risk assessment when using higher charges of flammable refrigerants” concluded Marco Masini.

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