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Controversy in the Cylinder Industry

These days, no subject is without controversy or drama and that includes the cylinder manufacturing industry. Recently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued Special Permit 16320 to Digital Wave Corporation to allow “the extension of the 15-year service of certain carbon fiber reinforced aluminum-lined cylinders (DOT-CFFC) that are used in self-contained breathing apparatuses by firefighters and first responders.” The PHMSA website states that under this new Special Permit 16320, issued to Digital Wave Corporation, “cylinder life can be extended an additional 15 years through the use of Modal Acoustic Emissions (MAE) testing.” In accordance with the special permit, PHMSA “may authorize extensions of service for DOT-CFFC cylinders in five-year increments when they are re-qualified by MAE testing” and “the incremental extensions may enable the cylinders to remain in service for up to 30 years.”

Luxfer Gas Cylinders, a manufacturer and supplier of breathing air cylinders to SCBA manufacturers, has issued a formal statement concerning the life extension of DOT-CFFC carbon composite cylinders by means of Modal Acoustic Emissions testing.

To summarize Luxfer cylinders statement; Luxfer was never involved in this new testing program by Digital Wave corporation. Because they were not involved in this program dealing with their cylinders, Luxfer cannot accept responsibility or liability for use of their cylinders beyond the 15 year service life that they were designed for. Additionally, Luxfer will not warranty cylinders past their 15 year service life.

Scott Safety has publically stated that if these cylinders are re-qualified under this new method, it will invalidate the NIOSH approvals for the air packs.

Meanwhile Digital Wave Corporation has publically stated that their method is safe, and the only reason that cylinder manufactures disagree is because they fear the loss of a revenue stream.

Who is right? That is for the user to decide.


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