Posted on 11th May 2019
Carrying effective gas detection equipment – and making sure that equipment is performing accurately – is an essential and potentially life-saving element of shipping. Obviously, the safety of vessels and crews is of paramount importance but, despite the best efforts of the IMO, deaths are still happening at an alarming rate.
Reactive gases in particular present lots of additional dangers. They can also provide extra headaches for operators when it comes to storage and supply.
Essentially, reactive gases are much more chemically active than other, more commonly used gases. Their properties change in different atmospheres and they even react with the materials that they come into contact with, especially plastics and moist surfaces.
For this reason, they’re often called ‘sticky’ gases and they present many extra issues when they’re used for gas detection and calibration.
Their higher chemical activity means that they are more easily absorbed by the exposed areas of gas detectors like the housings, adapters and tubing. This depletes the amount available to test in a gas sample so you need to take special care when monitoring.
Using compatible materials and appropriate calibration techniques is therefore essential. Otherwise, the response time will be increased and your readings will be dangerously low.
Because reactive gases are so chemically active, they even react with the containers that are used to store them. Over time, they will be gradually absorbed by the walls of the cylinders.
To minimise these reactions, reactive gas mixtures come in aluminium canisters – generally available in either 34 or 58 litres – but they still have a limited lifespan. That’s why all cylinders have a shelf life that’s clearly labelled on the outside. Expired calibration gas will no longer provide accurate readings and will be potentially dangerous.
Because of the instability and impurity of the gases used and the relatively poor quality of cylinders within the industry, most calibration gases have a short shelf-life of just 6-12 months. This leads to many problems when it comes to supply.
Gases need to be replaced regularly – regardless of how much remains in the cylinder. In addition to the wastage of gas that’s gone out of date, multiple re-stocking deliveries will need to be arranged for each ship incurring freight costs, dangerous goods charges and customs’/agent’s fees.
Organising multiple deliveries and arranging schedules takes up valuable time. This is further complicated when using several suppliers as quality control can be an issue – different providers will all need to meet the same standards. Organising a reliable supply of calibration gas for a global fleet can prove a troublesome and time consuming process.
FastCalGas has the highest gas production standards of any calibration gas on the market. We use advanced materials and a mass spectrometer to analyse and verify the quality of every cylinder – in 30,000 deliveries, only two defects have ever been reported. This is a quality yield of over 99.993%.
Because of this, we can offer a 27-month shelf life on all reactive mixtures – a world first in the industry. This makes ordering far less complicated as you can order large stocks up to two years in advance without worrying about co-ordinating supplies that have short expiry dates.
Our cylinders are also recyclable which means that you can sell empties on to recycling companies for roughly $2 each instead of throwing them away. They just need to be prepared first.
The most important part of this preparation is to make sure they’re completely empty of any reactive gas. This will involve drilling a hole in the cylinder – some recycling companies may also require you to cut them in half. The valve also needs to be removed or rendered unusable to prove that the cylinder is no longer pressurised. This can be done quickly and easily with one of the tools that are compatible with all our canisters.
After this, cylinders will no longer classified as dangerous goods and can be recycled as scrap.
Our calibration gas inventory management service will enable you to save even more time and money by taking control of your ordering and supply process.
Martek’s service is designed to cut down on carriage and agents’ charges as well as the hidden costs that come from the time spent on administration. It simplifies the process into one order, two years’ supply and one delivery.
We review your usage of calibration gas to determine your requirements and run on-going checks with vessels, contacting each ship to arrange re-stocking after twenty-one months. Simply pass on the inventory of gas detectors on board your fleet or let us contact the ships directly to get the information and we take care of the rest.
You can purchase calibration gas quickly and easily online from anywhere in the world. Our lean order processing and extensive global supply chain means that we have a 4 hour turnaround on quotes and 98% of our orders are shipped within 24 hours.
Download our free guide which answers the most common calibration gas questions.