What Does Re-qualification Of Portable Cylinders Mean?

Travis Jolliff

In accordance with The Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, re-qualification of portable cylinders means the completion of a visual inspection and the tests required to be performed on a cylinder to determine its suitability for continued service. Regulatory approval of the test facility, personnel and equipment is required for portable cylinder re-qualification. Successful certification of the facility, personnel and equipment is annotated via a Re-qualifier Identification Number (RIN) issued by DOT.

Re-qualification methods for portable cylinders

The choice of re-qualification method for portable cylinders is based on a variety of factors, including cylinder specification, gas service and purity level, authorized re-qualification cycle, location, turnaround time, and price.  In most cases, DOT regulations offer choices. These choices include such methodologies as:

  • Visual Examination Method
  • Hydrostatic Testing Methods
    • Water jacket method
    • Direct expansion method
    • Proof pressure method
  • Acoustic Emission Method
  • Ultrasonic Examination Methods
    • Automated ultrasonic examination
    • Hand-held ultrasonic examination
  • Other Test Methods

Visual Examination Method – Some specification cylinders operating in certain gas services may be re-qualified exclusively by a visual examination.

Water jacket hydrostatic testing method – Historically, the most common method for re-qualification of cylinders is a hydrostatic method and, in most cases, this was the water jacket method.

Direct expansion hydrostatic testing method – This method is most often used for welded steel pressure vessels.

Proof pressure hydrostatic testing method – This method is permitted when regulations do not require the determination of total and permanent expansion.

Acoustic Emission Method – Acoustic events must be inspected, measured, and characterized by ultrasonic examination to determine if the cylinder is suitable for continued service.

Automated ultrasonic examination  – An automated ultrasonic examination system examines the entire cylindrical surface of a cylinder. Ultrasonic examination is a direct measurement and assessment of cylinder integrity, which is not the case for hydrostatic methods.

Hand-held ultrasonic examination – Hand-held ultrasonic examination is not a re-qualification method by itself.  It must be accompanied by either acoustic emission or automated ultrasonic examination.

Other Test Methods – While not used exclusively to re-qualify a cylinder, there are techniques employed by re-qualification facilities to help assess the integrity of a cylinder.

The Jay L Harman Fire Equipment team understands your fire fighting and cylinder re-qualification needs and is ready to help

Jay L Harman’s DOT Hydrostatic Testing and Ultrasonic Examination facility and equipment meet all NFPA requirements for the hydrostatic testing and Ultrasonic Examination of compressed gas cylinders and portable fire extinguisher cylinders.

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