Minimising calibration gas cost, reducing downtime and increasing the efficiency of the docking station system are key benefits that can be achieved by evaluating a Gas Distribution System. Here are the top ten considerations for ensuring you are getting the most out of your docking station system.
What Is a Gas Distribution System?
Gas distribution systems (GDS) are designed to provide customers with a simple solution to connect high pressure (large volume) calibration gas cylinders to their docking, calibration or bump test stations. These systems simplify the calibration process and significantly eliminate human error.
The systems provide solutions for one docking station up to 100’s of stations whether they are individual units or banks of units connected to master controllers. However, you don’t have to have 100’s of instruments, just the desire to save money and improve efficiency of your system.
The key to maximizing efficiency and reducing cost is in the analysis of your requirements and the design of the Gas Distribution System.
10 Considerations When Designing Efficient Gas Distribution Systems
1. What is your goal or objective?
What is the end result you want to achieve? Long term cost reduction, time efficiency or ease of use?
2. How many instruments?
The number of instruments on site and knowledge of their maintenance schedule is paramount when designing a GDS. The frequency of calibration / bump testing of these instruments will help you to determine your annual gas usage. With this information you can minimise costs and maximize efficiency when selecting the correct cylinder size for your instrument fleet. Our gas calculator can assist in this calculation.
3. What gases are being measured?
This is key to determining what type of material is required for regulators, connectors, outlet points and tubing. For example: stainless steel, nickel plated brass, tygon tubing and teflon tubing.
4. Where and who will be using the docking stations?
These two factors help you to determine required cylinder size and the amount of physical space required to set up the system. The number of workers using the docking station at one time will also aid in the design.
5. What are the details of the docking stations?
In order to design the most efficient system, the detailed mechanics of the docking module will be of great assistance. What make and model is it? How does it work? How many do you have and how far apart will they be stationed? What are the flow characteristics of the docking station and how many stations are there?
6. How many outlets will be needed?
The positioning of the docking modules, the distance between them, the number of docking modules will determine the number of outlet points required to service the docking stations.
7. Where will the calibration gas cylinders be located?
Are there any restrictions in location of gas cylinders? Company policy restrictions in locating gas cylinders can impact the final location of the gas cylinders. In many cases the cylinders are located outside and gas lines are required to bring the gas to the docking station system. Distance is important because moving calibration gas at low pressure long distances needs to be evaluated. Distance also dictates whether rigid or flexible tubing should be used. Gas type dictates the material required.
8. Which high pressure regulator will be required?
Once the correct gas cylinder has been chosen the next step is to determine the correct high pressure regulator. This will almost be solely dependent on the types of gas mixtures running through the system. A stainless steel regulator is a must for any highly corrosive mixtures while non-corrosives can use nickel plated brass. With the gas panels acting as a second stage, single stage regulators can be used.
9. How critical is downtime?
If the docking station system is considered a critical part of the company safety system, then no downtime is permitted. Calculation of gas volumes are key to eliminating cylinders draining without back up. Even though some docking station systems have the ability to create alarms for low gas volume, calculating the gas volume at the beginning eliminates errors.
To achieve maximum back up and efficiency, gas changeover manifolds can be designed into the system which automatically switch from one cylinder to another once one cylinder empties.
10. How will it be installed?
Now all the parts have been gathered together and the system has been developed, the final step is the installation. Technicians can provide a final set up and commission of high pressure regulators, manifolds and gas distribution systems. Once the system has been installed with all high pressure gas lines in place the technician will make the final connections and start up.
The Installation Process
The commissioning process includes:
- Installation of regulators on cylinders
- Cleaning of gas lines prior to start up
- Final connection of hose lines to regulators, manifolds and gas distribution panels
- Turn on the gas cylinder(s)
- Setting regulators to connector pressure and flow (as required)
- Final test of system for leaks and performance
- Training on use of system