Richard Hall & Associates

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Internal Cleaning of Welded Steel Gas Cylinder

The client saw an opportunity, with the banning of CFC refrigerants, for increased demand for gas cylinders for refrigerant use. These cylinders are required to be chemically cleaned internally to remove scale and rust which can be detrimental to refrigeration systems. This process has traditionally been carried out manually in small batches by an internal hydrochloric acid etch followed by a water rinse and then a phosphate treatment.

Richard Hall & Associates were engaged to design and manage the establishment of a facility to automate the process in order to increase throughput, minimise manual handling, and minimise the risk of injuries relating to the handling of corrosive materials.

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In conjunction with production management, we considered various methods of applying the treatments to the interior of cylinders, and after a series of trials, settled on an internal spray system using commercially available nozzles. A multiported quick connect fitting was developed to eliminate the need to screw fittings into the neck thread of the cylinder. An automated chemical pumping system was designed to apply the chemical treatments in sequence to the products. A conveyor system was specified to carry the products through the operation. A cascade system was used to maximise the reuse of solutions and minimise the volume of effluent discharged.

Once the plant was designed, we managed its approval through local government, and then its construction, fitting out, commissioning and production work up.

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