World-first patented launch of leak-proof oxyfuel system at compressed gas safety conference

First Cut, Messer Cutting Systems, Gas Safety International and BED collaborate in developing new safety valve, torch and process that will lessen the possibility of a gas leakage taking place due to either worker negligence or an accidental breakage in the compressed gas supply line.

This new development in gas safety usage in the field of metal cutting is a world-first and has been registered as a patent to cover the whole world for the three elements that make up the system – the safety valve, the torch and the process. Referred to as the Safety Advanced Technology (SAT) system, the development has been championed by Peter Rohlssen, Managing Director of Gas Safety International (GSI), a strong proponent of safety usage and training when using compressed gas in any situation, not just in the cutting sphere.

Rohlssen is adamant that stringent safety rules are critical when it comes to working with any gas or oxygen, irrespective of the sector.

Peter Rohlssen, the highly respected owner of GSI and Axel Vogelsang, Key Account Manager Western Europe and Africa, Messer Cutting Systems gave some very interesting demonstrations on gas safety at the Gas Safety Conference held in June 2022

“We improve gas safety through our strict adherence to compliance regulations, as well as providing clients with the benefit of our significant industry experience via our gas safety training and risk audits. Gas safety standards must be applied in any sector where gas is used, including welding. It should however be noted that the applications are certainly broader than the industrial sphere alone. They also include the mining, medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural, domestic and many other markets,” said Rohlssen.

“Extensive work and research has gone into the safety aspects of the torch, the regulators and the cylinders, when working with compressed gas. Equally there are regulations for the supply hoses used between the torch and the cylinder and the connectors. But what happens when there is a breakage, either through negligence or accident, in the supply hose? Without knowing this there will definitely be a gas leakage when the cylinder is turned on, which compromises safety and has the possibility of causing a fatality or fatalities.”

“The compressed gases being used are generally invisible and are often odourless. Commonly the unsuspecting user would have no idea that there is a leakage, unless they carry out a thorough inspection, which is seldom done.”

“Compressed gas safety risk is centred around people, product and process. However, the human factor is always the weakest link. We were therefore very pleased to launch our world-first patented leak-proof oxyfuel system, specifically for the industrial and mining sectors, which will revolutionise compressed gas safety.”

The new demand valve, which has a diaphragm inside it, sits directly after the regulator and operates at 24 bar pressure to meet local and European standards and 26 bar to meet the US and other country standards. Similarly the colour, plate identification and thread have been designated to match US requirements and also ensure that a European valve does not end up in the US

“There has not been much research done on gas leakage from the supply hose and how to prevent an accident. We have now developed this valve that meets the safety standards, both locally and internationally. Much research and testing has gone on during the development and we have now produced a product that will automatically shut off the compressed gas supply to the torch if the hose has been compromised and there is a leak.”

“The demand valve, which has a diaphragm inside it, sits directly after the regulator and operates at 24 bar pressure to meet local and European standards and 26 bar to meet the US and other country standards. Similarly the colour, plate identification and thread have been designated to match US requirements and also ensure that a European valve does not end up in the US.”

“The valve is machined from a nylon block and has similar characteristics to brass. After initially only having six closing inserts we have increased these to 10 meet international standards. The inlet and outlet connections are machined brass components. All of this machining is done by local South African engineering company CNC Engineering.”

“Messer Cutting Systems are experts in the cutting systems field and they were tasked to develop a torch that would complement our system and this they have done. Their research was also extensive and it also had to take into account that operators are averse to changes to the equipment they are used to such as weight, length and the operational elements.”

John Emholz, Global CEO and President of Messer Cutting Systems, with Martin Zeller, International Sales Manager of Messer Cutting Systems

“Through the four-company cooperation we as GSI will continue to develop the system and promote it throughout industry. Messer Cutting Systems will manufacture the torches as well as market the whole system throughout the rest of the world through their extensive network and BED (Bolt and Engineering Distributors) will market it locally to the Southern African industrial and mining sectors.”

“Designed and manufactured locally this is really a significant development for the South African engineering fraternity. As we have demonstrated at the Gas Safety Conference today numerous incidents and fatalities that have occurred locally and globally in the past could have been prevented with proper safety awareness and training.”

“Through the demonstrations that Axel Vogelsang from Messer Cutting Systems and myself have given today we have highlighted the dangerous consequences if you do not follow the prescribed compressed gas safety procedures and protocols and the critical importance of compressed gas safety awareness and training. As part of the many investigations related to compressed gas safety done by myself, I have noted that its general awareness across industries rises and falls, depending on the company involved.”

“These days, adequate and appropriate compressed gas safety training is needed more than ever.”

Four company association
In 2019 First Cut became the primary local distributor for Messer Cutting Systems, a US dollar 50 billion, 120-year-old fourth generation run company that manufacture plasma, oxyfuel and large-plate processing equipment. That same year First Cut entered into an agreement with the BED Group whereby the two companies would jointly distribute Messer products in South Africa, with BED focusing on the mining industry, and First Cut remaining the primary distributor to the metal fabrication and other sectors.

In 2021 First Cut announced that it had entered into a merger of interests with GS, a Johannesburg-based company that has been providing certified training and supplying gas equipment to the industrial sector in South Africa since 1985.

Peter Rohlssen (centre) of Gas Safety International with Adam van Staden and Ben Pieters, both of CNC Engineering, the company that is doing all of the machining of the new valves

“To ensure that our differentiating feature would be around safety factors, we entered into the relationship with Peter Rohlssen, the highly respected owner of GSI, who brought tremendous experience and credibility to our offering via compressed gas safety training, consulting and auditing,” explained Ian McCrystal, CEO of First Cut.

“Messer Cutting Systems globally is very excited with the cooperation between the four companies. We look forward to seeing how this successful compressed gas safety collaboration – and the revolutionary product offering it has produced – will positively impact the awareness and application of compressed gas safety throughout all industry sectors going forward,” said John Emholz, Global CEO and President of Messer Cutting Systems, who in addition to his colleagues Axel Vogelsang, Key Account Manager Western Europe and Africa and Martin Zeller, International Sales Manager, specially made the trip to South Africa to attend the conference and launch of the new SAT system.

“Compressed gases have multiple applications across all industries, including mining. However, incorrect use thereof brings with it some serious potential hazards. Gas safety issues can therefore cause injury and even fatalities, affecting companies’ productivity, share price and reputation, not to mention the obvious and most important consequence of loss of life and human tragedy,” said Mike Giltrow, CEO of the BED Group.

Jan Viljoen of Bolt and Engineering Distributors, Ian McCrystal of First Cut, Mike Giltrow of Bolt and Engineering Distributors and Axel Vogelsang of Messer Cutting Systems

“I believe this conference and development of the new products and system really demonstrates the relevance and success of this unique four-way partnership. We are all passionate about gas safety and its usage. But more importantly we want to ensure that there is enough training that takes place and the awareness is created,” said GSI’s Rohlssen.

“The main causes of incidents and injuries in our industry is 20% mechanical, 2% acts of nature and 78% human behaviour. We can improve the mechanical aspect marginally with developments like SAT. However, the greatest improvements that we can make is in the human behaviour aspect if we greatly improved compressed gas safety training and awareness. Owners, directors, management and employees all have to buy into this and not bury their head in the mining sludge and slurry.”

For further details contact First Cut on TEL: 011 614 1112 or visit www.firstcut.co.za or Gas Safety International on TEL: 011 463 7087 or visit www.gas-safety.co.za or Bolt and Engineering Distributors on TEL: 0861 265836, email craig@bolteng.co.za or visit www.bolteng.co.za or visit www.messer-cs.com