World-first to be manufactured in SA!

World-first to be manufactured in SA!

Key stakeholders in the compressed gas industry recently held a safety conference in Johannesburg under the slogan, ‘Safety Unites’. It called for improved safety and training, and a revolutionary leak-prevention oxyfuel system was launched. Andre Schmidlin reports.

Ian McCrystal, First Cut chief executive officer, said the conference came about because of the synergistic relationship already in existence between four partners, namely the Bolt and Engineering Distributors (B.E.D.) Group, First Cut, Gas Safety International (G.S.I.) and Germany-based Messer Cutting Systems.

The conference was aimed at highlighting the dangers associated with compressed gas use within the mining and industrial sectors. The launch of a world-first patented product for use in the compressed gas industry also took place during the event.

Keynote speaker mining professional Wilco Uys said that safety above all is a leadership issue. “We, as leaders, should school and equip ourselves on the dangers in the industry. Only then can we realise and appreciate the role technology can play,” he noted. He went on to point out that the challenge with compressed gas is that the probability of an accident is very low. “However, when it goes wrong, it is severe and fatal,” he warned.

The need for leaders to recognise the potential hazards that incorrect usage of compressed gas and equipment pose was echoed by all the speakers on the day. Peter Rohlssen, managing director of G.S.I., and Axel Vogelsang, key account manager Western Europe and Africa at Messer Cutting Systems, wowed and at times shocked the attendees with demonstrations on the hazards associated with different compressed gasses. Said Rohlssen: “When it comes to safety, one should also educate the buying department as the tendency to look at price over quality, safety and service is a big issue within the industry.”

G.S.I. and Messer Cutting Systems then launched a world-first patented leak-prevention oxyfuel system with partners the B.E.D. Group and First Cut. The Safety Advanced Technology (S.A.T.) system – developed in both South Africa and Germany – consists of a process, valve and cutting torch, all of which are patented. It is designed to mitigate the risk of workers not checking for gas leakage before they use oxyfuel equipment. Interestingly, the valve was also made to counter the effect of galvanic corrosion. The valve body is tested to fulfill the European standard. It will be entirely manufactured in South Africa. The valve also features a shut-off feature so that, in the event of a leak on the oxyfuel line and a pressure drop, the valve shuts off – mitigating the risk of gas leaking.

The B.E.D. Group will distribute the product locally and in Sub-Saharan Africa via its export division. The rest of the world will be handled by Messer Cutting Systems.

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