AUTOMATED SYSTEMS FOR PROOF TESTING, OVERHAULING AND SERVICING GAS CYLINDERS
Customised automatic cylinder processing systems
A.I.M.E. S.r.l. automated systems are composed of a variety of automatic units for proof testing, overhauling and servicing gas cylinders, whether low or high pressure, as well as accessory equipment.
All our systems are equipped with components for interconnection and automatic control of various processes, including in-process monitoring for tracking the cylinders, and the option to select the proof testing phases (and modes) used for each cylinder.
CYLINDER PROOF TESTING SOLUTIONS
Automatic cylinder proof testing systems
Hydraulic test bench
This hydraulic cylinder testing system is completely automatic. Its function is to fill cylinders with water until reaching the “test pressure” value, which can be up to a maximum of 450 bar. The pressure is kept constant in the cylinder for the time required to pass the proof test. When the process is completed, the cylinder is emptied and then picked up by the downstream stations.
Semi-automatic pneumatic system test bench
The cylinders are subjected to proof testing in tanks of water, sized to assure safe testing even in case of failure (explosion). Each tank is equipped with cameras which give a 360° view of the cylinders, so that the operator can monitor the test in real time and check for leaks. The cylinders are pressurised up to 60 bar by an advanced system of air/oil multipliers, which recover the pressure between tests, thus reducing the system’s total power consumption.
LPG cylinder proof testing bench
Automatic LPG cylinder proof testing bench for up to 8 cylinders at a time. Chain conveyors at the infeed and outfeed automatically load and unload the cylinders, thus assuring safe, efficient processing. The unit can be customised for the number and type of cylinder, and can also be integrated into an existing production line or with other automatic equipment.
SOLUTIONS FOR OVERHAULING AND SERVICING GAS CYLINDERS
Automatic gas cylinder overhauling and servicing systems
Machine for shot blasting the interiors of gas cylinders
This unit sandblasts the interior of the cylinder to remove scale and impurities. The cylinder is clamped by a self-centring gripper and overturned so that the neck is facing downward to allow the blast lance to penetrate inside and perform the shot blasting operation. The lance is equipped with a special A.I.M.E-designed nozzle to allow perfect cleaning of the cylinder shoulder and bottom. The shot blasting machine is fully customisable – for instance, the client can specify the number of cylinders to be processed at a time – and can be fitted with other automatic equipment like cylinder loading/unloading units.
Valve screwing–unscrewing unit
Device for automatic fitting and removal of valves in the cylinders. Thanks to the use of an electric gearmotor and a torque meter, the required tightening torque can be applied with the utmost precision, irrespective of the environmental and operating conditions. The unit has sensors which enable any kind of valve to be removed, with and without pipe, while the self-centring gripper and slides leading into bins enable fast and accurate automatic unloading. The system’s software completes the customisation, and makes it possible to set the torque or display the number of valve turns, among others.
External cylinder washing
This fully automatic device is designed to clean the outside of the cylinder to remove debris, scale and surface rust. The cylinder is cleaned by a set of metal brushes equipped with longitudinal movement to cover the entire surface area. During the brushing phase the cylinder is abundantly sprayed with water to prevent the creation of dust and remove debris generated by the brushing action.
Automated cylinder warehouse
A.I.M.E. designs automated warehouse solutions to meet a wide range of cylinder storage and accumulation requirements, depending on the size of the plant and the quantity of gas cylinders. The photo shows a storage system for 40,000 automotive CNG cylinders. Composed of a steel load-bearing structure, the system is divided into various tiers to guarantee placing and picking of tested and untested cylinders. Operators reach the different warehouse floors using stairs located at the two main access points. The automated warehouse can be easily incorporated in a testing plant or employed in a standalone solution.
Cutting device designed in compliance with the most advanced technology to allow correct disposal of reject cylinders (in compliance with the provisions of statutory legislation) guaranteeing the maximum safety for the operator and the surrounding area. Different technologies may be used based on the required cutting capacity (laser, plasma, or circular saw), and cutting geometry (e.g. rectangular channel, full circumferential cut, removal of neck, etc.).
Depalletizer and Palletizer
The depalletizer and palletizer, generally located at the testing plant entrance and exit station, allow the cylinders to be handled automatically and safely, dispensing with the use of forklift trucks and thus greatly reducing the risks of injury (e.g. caused by falling cylinders). Both stations feature a self-centring gripper designed to clamp the cylinders longitudinally and then pick them up from the pallet and place them on the infeed bench, or pick them up from the outfeed bench and place them on the pallet.
Robot for automatic positioning of cylinders in the hydraulic test stations. Generally supplied in single units, the robot can be mounted in series and on rotary heads to serve multiple testing and emptying stations.
Cylinder handling robot
This special robot is composed of two self-centring grippers with 180° rotation, mounted on a central platform, which is likewise equipped with rotary motion. This arrangement makes it possible to rotate the cylinders to any position to perform various operations, including filling with water, automatic valve fitting or plugging, emptying and drying. Rotation of the central unit also makes it possible to transfer the cylinder from one station to the next one in the line, completely automatically. The entire unit can be equipped with a longitudinal and transverse movements so that the cylinder can be brought to any position required. This solution allows a very generous range of movement for the manipulator.