On the 28th of February 1951, a visionary scientists called together a group of like-minded people and implemented a vision that we still recognize today. It said,
- a vision without task is the dream
- a task without the vision is drudgery
- a vision with a task is the hope the world
The vision was to form an institute of refrigeration and share knowledge. The task set for the steering committee required the doers to produce:
- a constitution
- aims and objectives
- a generally agreed upon plan of action to launch the Institute
The hard work started...
A steering committee was formed, consisting of the following persons:
- E.G. Reynolds (Chairman) A.B. Cumbers
- R. Bowie (Vice Chairman) T.A. Miller
- H. Challis (Secretary) K.A. Oettle
- L. Campbell (Treasurer) B.W. Ross
- C.E.B. Cooper
They began working on a new Institute and on the 17th July 1951, the South African Institute of Refrigeration (SAIR) was officially inaugurated at the Hotel Bordeaux, Cape Town, with 41 members.
At this inaugural meeting, the following committee was elected:
- Dr G.M. Dreosti (President) C.E.B. Cooper
- E.G. Reynolds (Vice President) A.B. Cumbers
- R. Bowie (Vice President) T.A. Miller
- H. Challis (Secretary) K.A. Oettle
- L. Campbell (Treasurer) J.H.B. Steenkamp
- J.E. Kinksburgh S.J.v.N Cillie
Dr. G.M Dreosti was a scientist and his interest was primarily in the food industry and its preservation by means of refrigeration. He had an engineering degree and in 1930 obtained his doctorate in engineering physics at the University of Utrecht.
He was a member of many institutions and societies, always willing to share his knowledge and learn from others. His dedication and commitment to totally involving himself in the formation of official bodies, where he believed they were essential to serve the sector, were shown in both SAIRAC and the Food Science Society of South Africa. He had over 300 papers published, on subjects in the fields of refrigeration, dehydration, canning and many more.
The Institute grows...
In March 1961 the Port Elizabeth Centre of SAIR was started. T.F. Longe and L. Broderick were elected Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively. Around this time it became obvious that air conditioning had an important role to play. Members and industry where making the significant and close relationship between the two.
In July 1962 SAIR broadened its focus and the South African Institute of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning was born. As a prelude to SAIRAC's arrival, Cape Town Centre was formed in July 1961, opening the way for a national body to be created. The first Cape Town Centre committee consisted of:
- L.Ginsburg (Chairman) W.W. Boyes
- C.A.Johnson (Vice Chairman) A.P. Alder
- L. Campbel N.C. Humphries
- G. Garzolini J.P. Trautmann
The Transvaal (now Johannesburg) Centre was formed on the 25 July 1963, with Drs. Denkhaus and Hodgson as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively. The Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) Centre was formed officially in 1967 with R.F. March and G. Alder as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively.
Over the years, SAIRAC continues to focus on its objective of providing on-going education for its members. Formally structured, properly researched, scientific and technical papers are regularly presented at meetings in all Centres.
In 1968, to provide for education in a print form, the Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Journal (HAR) was launched as the official mouth-piece of the Institute and published most of the papers presented at meetings across South Africa. It is now called the RACA Journal.
The FRIGAIR Conference in 1980 was the start of a long history of conferences and exhibitions which is the highlight of the SAIRAC and Industry’s calendar.
- 1992 Frigair Conference, Goodwood Show Grounds, Cape Town: 09 - 12 September 1992 - jointly organised with SARDA and at the same as a Cooling Expo (South Africa's first stand-alone refrigeration & air conditioning exhibition)
- 1994 Frigair Exhibition & Conference, Durban: 16 -18 March 1994
- 1996 Frigair Exhibition & Conference, Johannesburg: 06 - 08 March 1996
- 1998 Frigair Conference, Cape Town Civic Centre: 04 - 06 March 1998 with RAC Africa Exhibition in Culemborg Exhibition Centre.
- 2000 Frigair Exhibition & Conference, Johannesburg: 08-10 March 2000
- 2002 Frigair Exhibition & Conference, Gallagher Estate, Johannesburg: 13 -15 March 2002
- 2004 Frigair Conference, Cape Town International Convention Centre & Cooling Africa Exhibition: 02 -04 June 2004
- 2007 Frigair Exhibition, Gallagher Estates, Johannesburg
- 2010 Frigair Exhibition, Nasrec, Johannesburg: 08 - 11 September 2010
- 2012 Frigair Exhibition, Nasrec, Johannesburg: 15 - 17 August 2012
- 2015 Frigair Exhibition, Gallagher Estates, Johannesburg: 03 - 05 June 2015
SAIRAC launched the DREOSTI MEMORIAL LECTURE in 1998 in memory of and to honour the outstanding achievements and leadership of its founder. Previous lectures include:
- 1998: “Global Warming - Considerations for the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry” Presenter: Robert Heap President of the Institute of Refrigeration (UK) & President Cambridge refrigeration Technology
- 2001: “Ammonia, The Natural Refrigerant for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Beyond the 21st Century” Presenter: Prof Wilbert (Will) Stoecker, Prof Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois
- 2004: “Carbon Dioxide as a Natural Refrigerant for the Future” Presenter: Andy Pearson, Chartered Engineer with Honours in B.Sc & B.Engineering, Board Member of International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration, CEO Star Refrigeration Ltd. Glasgow
- 2009: “Cutting Energy Bills with Natural Refrigerants is Not that Costly” Presenter: Monika Witt, Chairperson of Eurammon and Managing Director of TH. Witt
- 2013: “Can Intelligent Buildings Provide Alternative Approaches to Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning of Buildings” Presenter: Prof. Derek Clements-Croome, Prof Emeritus in Architectural Engineering at Reading University, Chairs the CIBSE Natural Ventilation and Intelligent Buildings Group, Editor of the Intelligent Buildings International Journal
In keeping with electronic technology, SAIRAC launched the Technical Data manual in CD format in 2004. The third version was launched in February 2011.
SAIRAC hosted the first ‘Meet and Greet’ cocktail party the evening before the opening of FRIGAIR 2010. At the 2012 ‘Meet and Greet’ cocktail party the HERVAC video was launched. Its intent is to showcase what our Industry can offer to all fields of learners, and encourage them to join the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry.