Composite Cylinders for Diving

At the 2002 DEMA trade show Luxfer Gas Cylinders introduced it’s newly designed hoop-wrapped composite cylinder for scuba with an increased volume.  This composite high pressure cylinder adds a new dimension to diving and a new obligation to cylinder inspectors.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) exemption (E12479) under which this cylinder is made includes special requirements for fill station operators and the technician who inspects it; requirements that differ from conventional SCUBA cylinders.

Different from both solid wall steel and aluminum cylinders, cylinders made under E12479 have a 15-year maximum life, the same as the fire fighter’s composite cylinders.  Additionally, DOT regulations require that E12479 cylinders MUST be visually inspected at least annually and that inspection MUST be conducted by a cylinder visual inspector trained (and current) by Professional Scuba Inspectors, Inc. (PSI).  While all persons inspecting every cylinder are expected to have documented formal training, inspectors of composite cylinder MUST have specialized training to properly assess the condition of the composite material.  Any composite damage must be compared to the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) level I, Level II or Level III damage criteria.

In addition to annual visual inspections, Luxfer is obligated to examine and evaluate samples of these cylinders throughout their service life.  For that reason Luxfer will be recalling selected in-service, privately owned, E12479 cylinders for technical evaluation.  The owners of these recalled E12479 cylinders will receive a new cylinder at no cost upon returning their E12479 cylinder Luxfer.  A lucky group will have their cylinder recalled at 12 years meaning they will get a new cylinder with a new 15-year life.

The federally required annual inspection may only be conducted by a technician who is not only PSI certified, but must also understand how to assign damage limits, how to make repairs when allowed, and before inspecting this cylinder must possess a copy of the exemption.  Copies of E12479 may be obtained directly from DOT at:

http://hazmat.dot.gov/sp_app/special_permits/docs/12000/E12479.pdf

Untrained inspectors who inspect and apply evidence of inspection stickers to any cylinder are in a highly un-defendable position.  Even with years of experience inspecting cylinders without training, in the eyes of DOT or the courts an inspector is still unqualified.  Fill station operators and cylinder inspectors who want to be prepared for the new Luxfer scuba cylinder should ensure they are trained and that their training is current.  As new Luxfer composite wrapped cylinder may become very popular, all dive businesses must be prepared to inspect and service them.  Fill station operators must be knowledgeable enough about composite cylinders to ensure the cylinder has no damage to preclude it being filled.  

For more information on these classes and other PSI-PCI Courses throughout the world click the Course Schedule link on the left nav bar. 

 
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