Maintenance Tips for Gas Regulators and Changeover Manifolds
Category: specialty gas equipment

Regulators or changeover manifolds are an integral part of industrial gas distribution systems because their primary function is pressure regulation. They help convert the pressure of a gas received from a source to the working pressure required for use. In addition to the pressure reduction, the regulators also ensure safe delivery of the gas to downstream delivery components such as industrial equipment and maintain the purity of the gas. Owing to these functions, it becomes important to ensure the regular maintenance of the regulator. The maintenance helps users in identifying non-performing components and taking appropriate measures towards their rectification. Several types of tests are performed during the maintenance of these gas regulators. Are you interested to know about the different tests performed on these manifolds? Please read the post to find answers on what to do.

Important Maintenance Tests Performed on Gas Regulators or Changeover Manifolds

It is important to set the maintenance schedule for a regulator. The maintenance schedule is the time when the recommended maintenance operations are carried out. Strict adherence to this schedule will help you improve the productivity of regulators, minimize downtimes, and enhance operators’ safety. The following tests must be performed on the regulators to ensure their proper functioning and safety:

  1. Function Test: As the name indicates, this test will help you understand the functioning of the regulator. You must perform the increase and decrease test on the regulator. For performing the increase test, turn the adjusting knob in the clockwise direction, and for the decrease test, turn it anti-clockwise. The decrease test is usually done when the regulator is in use, whereas the increase test is performed when the gas is not flowing through the regulator.
  2. Leak Test: Crawl or creep is one of the prime reasons of regulator failure. This occurs due to the internal seat leaking within the regulator. The internal seat of the regulator may get damaged due to the presence of a foreign particle such as a material or a metal chip. When these impurities are embedded near the seat, it will not close properly, which may affect the delivery pressure. The pressure of downstream delivery will continuously increase until a safety mechanism is activated. Hence, it becomes important to check the internal sealing seat of the regulator.
  3. Inert Purge: The purging of gas regulators is necessary if you are working with flammable, toxic, pyrophoric, and corrosive gases. As a special precaution, the regulators are purged with an inert gas such as nitrogen. The purging must be performed during long shutdown periods or whenever the gas supply is shut off. You can perform purging in either of the two ways – by simply letting a small amount of inert gas to pass through the manifold system or by depressurizing and pressurizing the manifold with the inert gas. The first method is simple to perform, but it may not be efficient due to the presence of dead pockets in the regulator, which may hold some contaminants. These contaminants may remain unaffected even if exposed to the purge gas. However, the second method of pressurizing and depressurizing the regulator may yield better results.

Before implementing any of the above maintenance methods, it is important to understand the type of regulator used. The regulators are differentiated into three types based on their corrosiveness. The next section discusses them in detail.

Three Types of Regulators You Need to Know About

Gas regulators are distinguished as corrosive, mildly corrosive, and non-corrosive based on the degree of their corrosiveness. The maintenance schedules may vary accordingly. The following pointers will help you understand it better:

  1. For Corrosive Equipment: It is necessary to perform the inert gas purging during every startup and shut down operation. This will help avoid the formation of corrosive compounds inside the equipment and improve their performance. You need to perform functional test and leak test during every startup to ensure a hazardous environment is not created due to excess pressure.
  2. For Mildly Corrosive Equipment: This type of equipment is in between the corrosive and non-corrosive equipment, and may require regular leak and functional testing at the startup. Also, you need to perform all three tests at least twice in a month for the first year of operation. This will help avoid moisture formation inside the wet areas of the regulator.
  3. For Non-Corrosive Equipment: This type of equipment is the least risky. However, you need to perform the leak and functional tests at the startup, and all these tests at least once in a month for the first two years. The testing frequency must be increased to two times when the equipment becomes older than two years.

All the above-discussed tests will help you maintain the regulators in a good condition. Along with the maintenance tests, it is important to use the right regulator of high quality. To ensure this, you need to source it from a trusted manufacturer like Rexarc. The company provides regulators and other related accessories for gas cylinders, acetylene filling plants, and acetylene gas plants.

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