Environmental Protection

Airgas Introduces RFID Cylinder Gas Monitoring Technology

The company announced it Aug. 29, calling it the first visual identification system for managing cylinder gas expiration. It is primarily for EPA Protocol gas cylinders.

Airgas, Inc. of Radnor, Pa., has introduced Airgas SmartTag, describing it as the industry's first visual identification system for managing cylinder gas expiration. Used primarily for EPA Protocol gas cylinders, Airgas SmartTag is a microprocessor-controlled Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) collar that fits around the neck of a gas cylinder and provides instant, on-site access to cylinder contents data.

"All it takes is a glance, and you'll know if the gas is good," said Bob Davis, the company's vice president of Environmental and Sustainable Technologies. "Airgas SmartTag has lights so you can quickly see if the cylinder contents are ready for use, nearing expiration, or past the expiration date. This is critical when you're using EPA Protocol gases because you cannot use an expired Protocol gas when monitoring emissions. Airgas SmartTag helps keep our customers in compliance."

The company is the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and related supplies, including safety supplies.

Davis said Airgas SmartTag has a green light that flashes to show the gas is ready for use, a yellow light to indicate when the gas is within 60 days of expiration, and a red light indicating the gas is past its expiration date and should not be used. The RFID technology and a printed barcode enable customers and Airgas personnel to track cylinders. All data pertaining to the gas is embedded into the RFID collar when the cylinder is filled, including the identification of the gas or gas mixture, the location where the cylinder was filled, gas pressure within the cylinder after the cylinder was filled, a Certification of Analysis, and expiration date for the gas in the cylinder. When the cylinder is connected at a customer location, the RFID collar records cylinder gas pressure and gas volume used throughout any given period of time, and it transmits data to a provided hand-held display that customers and Airgas personnel can use to retrieve the information and track cylinder usage. Having the ability to transmit the data without the use of email was important to customers, said Davis.

"Airgas SmartTag eliminates many of the concerns users of EPA Protocol gases have, from monumental concerns about not knowing when the gas will expire, which could result in noncompliance with EPA regulations and significant penalties, to concerns about relying on email for notification of gases that have expired and then trying to locate those specific cylinders among all cylinders on site," he said. "Airgas SmartTag technology was developed to put an end to those headaches and hassles."

For more information, contact Davis at 610-675-6854 or bob.davis@airgas.com.

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