Proper Handling of a Welding Gas Cylinder

  Proper handling of gas cylinders is one aspect that usually gets overlooked in the welding industry. Most welding gases contain a combination of CO2, Argon, and Helium which are non flammable and non explosive but they can still be very harmful. If the cylinder gets knocked over causing the valve to be broken off, the exceedingly elevated pressure exiting from the cylinder can cause major harm to you, those around you, and any objects in the area.

Handling the cylinder properly should always be taken seriously. Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye and can cause permanent damage. The following are simple steps that can be employed when handling a gas cylinder.

Have a constant awareness of your surroundings at all times. If you are, transporting, removing from a machine or the cylinder is being stored, the cylinder ought to be firmly fastened. If appropriate, use a threaded cylinder cap when transferring the cylinder. This guards the valve lest the cylinder tips over or bumps into something.

There are a couple ways cylinders should be transported; the first is by using a cart. The second is by rolling the cylinder in its vertical position. The safest way is with the use of a cart which is intended exclusively for cylinders. Most carts include a chain or other restraint to secure the cylinder in place.

Always secure your cylinder with some sort of safety strap or chain while storing your cylinder weather you are storing it on or near your welder, or in a designated full/empty area. In addition, never use the cylinder as a storage hook for cables, MIG guns, power cords, welding torches. With the possibility of heat and the chance of arcs forming in combination with the cylinder can cause damage to the cylinder and be incredibly unsafe.

Every gas cylinder is intended to be used in a vertical position. Some cylinders hold liquid in addition to gas. Using the cylinder in a horizontal arrangement can permit the liquid within the cylinder to escape or seep out of the cylinder.

The single most important advice in handling a cylinder is use your common sense. It is extremely imperative for you to be certain what you are doing when operating all welding and cutting equipment. If you are not confident of a process please contact somebody who is knowledgeable. With the internet and all the other resources at your fingertips, the correct information is just seconds away.

Use caution at all times when handling welding gas. Everybody knows accidents can occur, so it is your responsibility to do your best in following any safety procedures. And remember; use common sense to keep you and all those around you safe. If a situation feels Unsafe, more often than not is. Take the time to ask somebody who is knowledgeable for help and keep the situation safe

HLDers or Helium leak detectors, also known by the name of Mass Spectrometer Leak Detectors, are attuned to ascertain the possibility of helium leakage. They are designed to verify the absence or presence of leaks against a standard value of measurement.

As far as choosing the tracer gas is concerned, then helium is undoubtedly the best option. This gas is inert, non-toxic, non-flammable, non-condensable and present in the ambient atmospheric air, in very small quantities. The minute atomic size of the helium gas also enables it to easily pass through leaks. This gas is relatively inexpensive, and easily available in cylinders of various sizes. The only other gas that has a molecular size smaller than helium is hydrogen, but it is not inert.

How do these detectors work

HLDers are used for locating and measuring internal or external leaks of a containing device or system. The test part, to which helium is first introduced, is interconnected with a leak detector. The partial pressure of the helium gas which leaks from the test part and enters the system is measured. The results are then displayed on the meter.

Helium leak detectors are comprised of the components mentioned below:

A spectrometer that is required to detect and measure the helium mass.

Vacuum system in order to maintain and control the pressure levels within the spectrometer.

Mechanical pump system is required to evacuate and clear the part that requires testing.

Valves, which play different functions during the various stages involved in detecting a leak: evacuation, testing and venting.

Read-out instrumentation and amplifiers to gauge output signals.

Controls and power supplies.

Fixtures to attach the damaged parts to the leak detectors.

Methods involved in leak detection

The method of detecting a leak in the system should be determined only after examining the functional conditions of the parts that are to be tested. Moreover, while testing, it is equally important to maintain a level of pressure that is equivalent to the pressure in the system when it functions normally. For instance, a vacuum system is ideally tested after creating a vacuum within the chamber. Similarly, testing a compressed gas cylinder for leaks yield the best results when there is high pressure within the cylinder. To conclude from the above mentioned examples, there are therefore, two methods for detecting leaks: Pressure-testing, commonly described as the 'Inside-out' method, and Vacuum-testing, known as the 'Outside-in' method.

Vacuum-testing: In this method, the part to be tested is first separated and evacuated by using a pumping system. To locate the leak, helium gas is administered to suspected leakage sites by using an adjustable spray probe flow system.

Pressure-testing: In this method, the affected part of the container is pressurized either with pure helium, or a diluted mixture of air and helium. Leaks are located by scanning the potential sites of damage with the assistance of the Snifer Probe that is connected with the inlet pipe of the detector.

Applications of helium leak detectors

You can use these detectors to check the quality of assemblies and production parts in your manufacturing system. The usual examples would be: sealed packages, storage tanks, heat exchangers and radiators, refrigeration assemblies, hydraulic lines, brake lines, fuel lines, medical devices, vacuum systems and vessels, seals, manifolding, valves, condensers.

Maintenance and Upkeep of production systems

Industrial manufacturing units that use pressure systems or vacuum systems should be tested regularly for any occasional leaks. This can be done as preventive maintenance, or in the case of an unprecedented failure or trouble-shoot. Vacuum systems that require regular detection tests are: vacuum coaters, vacuum furnaces, electron microscopes, linear accelerators, glove boxes, ion beam processing equipment Pressurized systems would include bioreactors and power plants, underground tanks, pipes and cables, liquid gas plants and gas handling containers.

Helium leak detectors play an important role in maintaining and up keeping industrial machinery and manufacturing parts, and enhancing the process of early detection of leakage to successfully prevent accidents. It is an essential element for any manufacturing unit for purposes of safety and maintenance.


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