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The Fluid Systems Engineering and Management Blog

by Swagelok Northern California

Need a Gas Sample Bomb? Why You Need a Local Vendor in Northern California

by Morgan Zealear, on 8/18/21 1:00 PM

Need a gas sample bomb? Swagelok can help.

Sample cylinders ensure quality and safety in the refinery process. Their ability to maintain substances at high working pressures has resulted in them being given the moniker “gas sample bomb”; though, when these cylinders are maintained, well-sealed in the refinery process, and proper sampling procedures are followed, they pose few risks to employees and maintain an accurate sample for testing. 

Samples provide a wide range of benefits to operations. They are used to determine the molecular composition of petroleum allowing refineries to maintain consistency in production as well as to produce petroleum that has a composition that aligns with varying needs. They also allow for the analysis of processes as well as environmental emissions. Therefore, gas sample bombs are needed to ensure quality in processed petroleum—a lack of cylinders results in delays in operations. Avoiding delays in refinery operations is mission-critical as delays could cost refineries several million dollars. 

The Need for Gas Sample Bombs

A refinery's ability to acquire gas sample bombs needs to reflect ever-changing demands to keep refinery processes operating at peak efficiency. Updates to the refinery process may require changes to components for attaching sample cylinders. Increasing refinery operations may result in needing additional cylinders. 

Gas sample bombs may not have been cleaned properly during operation, may have accidentally had a Department of Transportation (DOT) certification lapse, or may be damaged. Whereas international vendors often take several weeks and domestic vendors take several days to fulfill cylinder testing needs, local vendors are able to fulfill standard sample cylinder needs within one day. Further, local vendors can quickly fabricate components and provide assembled solutions when a refinery updates operations. As such, acquiring a local vendor for gas sample bombs is imperative to prepare for increased testing needs, flexibility in fabrication specifications, and limitations in cylinders while limiting delays in the refinery process. 

Increased Testing Needs

Oil and gas refineries often need to increase production based on consumer needs. Gas prices change based on economic relations and unexpected events. World events that impact foreign and domestic travel, change refinery production needs. For example, travel drastically decreased due to COVID-19 and then picked up again in the summer of 2021 due to pent up demand. In 2021, gas prices fluctuated between $43 a barrel to $67 a barrel, reflecting the changing demand for oil and gas production. 

These unexpected and vast changes in refinery production demands correspond with changing testing needs that need to be met quickly for refineries to best capitalize on changing conditions. The fast response of a local vendor provides this opportunity for refineries.

Flexibility in Fabrication Specifications

Over time, refineries have updated their production equipment and techniques to increase production efficiency and operating margins. Many aspects of the refinery process have been automated to allow for production to quickly change based on conditions. Further, the materials for production equipment have changed to limit corrosion. Like many industries, the technology in refineries will continue to advance based on new discoveries and updates to refinery plant design. 

By having a local vendor for sample bomb needs, a refinery will be able to seamlessly update their processes, allowing for fast changes to fabrication specifications for cylinders and attachments to cylinders. Similarly, a local vendor can deal with limitations on cylinders through normal operation processes. 

Limitations in Cylinders

During the refinery process, there can be limitations on cylinders which cause production delays. These limitations occur due to wear and tear on cylinders, delays in testing to meet DOT specifications, and cylinders that have not been fully cleaned. Cylinders need to be tested every three years following DOT specifications to ensure safety in transporting cylinders and to ensure the cylinders have a maintained pressure release valve. 

In addition, testing cylinders are verified to safely work in a range of conditions including seasonal and geographic variations in temperature. Residue from previous use that is not fully cleaned from cylinders will void results from future testing, makes it necessary for additional confirmatory testing, and ultimately cause delays in processing. Due to human error or an uptick in the number of cylinders needed, a lapse in certified cylinders can occur and more sample cylinders might be needed at a moment's notice.

A local vendor can provide DOT certified, clean, and undamaged sampling cylinders upon demand. Local vendors can also help expedite and simplify the cleaning process by applying coating (such as PFTE coatings).  

The Benefits of Having a Local Cylinder Vendor

There are many benefits to having a local sampling cylinder vendor; they include:

  • Allowing a refinery or industrial plant to quickly increase testing based on changes to consumer demands and increasing refinery operations
  • Allowing a refinery or industrial plant to seamlessly update their processes by allowing for fast changes to fabrication specifications for cylinders and attachments to cylinders
  • Allowing a refinery or industrial plant to quickly acquire more cylinders when limitations occur due to DOT testing lapses, cylinders not being cleaned thoroughly, and damage to cylinders

A lack of cylinders can slow or shut down operations. Having a local vendor allows for a fast response to sampling cylinder issues and could potentially prevent a refinery from slowing down operations. 

Turn to Swagelok for Your Processing Needs

Acquiring a local vendor has clear benefits, allowing a refinery to quickly adapt to changing demands, updates to industrial processes, and issues with cylinders. Swagelok provides cylinders to the Northern California region and allows for flexibility in design specifications for cylinder attachments. Swagelok has been a leader in providing products for industries in the areas of alternative fuels, chemical refineries, oil and gas, power, and semiconductors.

To find out more about how Swagelok Northern California can help you meet critical refinery needs when you need a gas sample bomb, contact our team today by calling 510-933-6200.


Morgan Zealear-1Morgan Zealear | Product Engineer – Assembly Services

Morgan holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is certified in Section IX, Grab Sample Panel Configuration, and Mechanical Efficiency Program Specification (API 682). He is also well-versed in B31.3 Process Piping Code. Before joining Swagelok Northern California, he was a Manufacturing Engineer at Sierra Instruments, primarily focused on capillary thermal meters for the semiconductor industry (ASML).

Topics:Gas SystemsAssembly ServicesMission Critical

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