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Published on 11/06/2019

How to simplify your supply of calibration gases

Calibration gases (also known as span gases) are essential to the maintenance and performance of gas detection equipment on board ship. They’re used as a referencing tool and act as a comparative standard for calibrating analytical instruments.

Exposing a detector or analyser to a verified concentration of a test substance will gauge whether the sensors are responding accurately so it’s vital that calibration gases are exact and traceable to a national or international standard. However, because of the instability and impurity of the gases used and the relatively poor quality of cylinders within the industry, making sure vessels are fully stocked can be challenging.

Most calibration gases have a short shelf-life of just 6-12 months which means that they 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 In addition to the wastage of gas that’s gone out of date, multiple re-stocking deliveries will need to be arranged for each ship incurring freight costs, dangerous goods charges and customs’/agent’s fees.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 these multiple deliveries and arranging schedules takes up valuable time. The typical procurement process from enquiry to delivery has twelve steps:

  1. Ship requisition
  2. Buyer interprets information
  3. Identification of potential suppliers
  4. Raise and send RFQ
  5. Suppliers seek clarification on RFQ
  6. Buyer seeks clarification from the vessel
  7. Ship sends clarification
  8. Buyer chases suppliers
  9. Review proposals and raise PO
  10. Specification of destination port
  11. Agree delivery charges
  12. Dispatch goods

This is further complicated when using several suppliers as quality control can be an issue – different providers all need to meet the same standards. For a global fleet, arranging for a reliable supply of calibration gas can be a troublesome and time-consuming ordeal.

Martek are constantly developing innovations for the shipping industry so we’ve looked at these common problems and examined the whole process to come up with an easier and more cost-effective way of supplying calibration gas: the 1-2-1 solution.

It uses FastCalGas which has the highest production standards of any calibration gas on the market and is guaranteed to be compatible with all the leading brands of gas detectors. By using advanced materials and a mass spectrometer to analyse and verify the quality of every cylinder, only two defects have ever been reported in 30,000 deliveries, a quality yield of over 99.993%. This means that the shelf-life of FastCalGas is 27 months – a world first.

This quality and reliability is a key factor in the 1-2-1 solution which 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 whole procurement process into one order, two years’ supply and one delivery.

1-2-1 manages the inventory of calibration gas to your vessels. To switch suppliers, you only need to pass on the inventory of gas detectors on board your fleet – or let us contact the ships directly to get the information – and we can take care of the rest. We review your gas detectors’ usage to determine your requirements and run on-going checks with vessels to arrange re-stocking after twenty-one months. In the unlikely event of your supply running low because we’ve under-calculated your usage, we’ll re-stock for free.

The cost can be spread evenly in eight instalments over twenty-four months or you can make savings with a discounted price that’s paid with the initial delivery of gas to each ship.

1-2-1 guarantees quality and saves costs. Just as importantly, it cuts down on the amount of administration and scheduling which leaves your superintendents with more time to concentrate on higher value areas of your business.