For New York-based industrial gas distributor General Welding Supply, every day is a challenge as its busy employees meet the needs of hospitals at the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic in the US.
General Welding Supply serves 23 hospitals in Long Island with all types of medical gases and equipment demands, playing a vital support role for those on the front line treating patients suffering from Covid-19, the disease coronavirus causes.
“At the start of this pandemic we re-tooled many cylinders in preparation of the anticipated high demand. We have been supplying these cylinders to our hospital customers 24/7 since March 13,” Ralph Cohan, Vice-President of Sales/Operations, told gasworld.
“At the same time we were upgrading cylinders, we began a re-evaluation of many hospitals bulk systems and the vaporisation capacities, only to find these to be sub-standard under the anticipated heavy demands of high ventilator numbers with extremely high gas flows. We upgraded where the interests were strong and consulted on proper de-icing methods where requested.”
As for the increased demand in medical oxygen, Cohan said, “We are running at 20 times our normal demand for cylinder gas and 10 times our liquid demands.”
General Welding Supply, which has headquarters in Westbury, New York, recently worked with cryogenic equipment manufacturing giant Chart Industries to help Stony Brook University Hospital in New York with emergency medical oxygen back-up systems. These upgrades will ensure that the hospital has a steady uninterrupted of oxygen and increase their capacity to handle more ventilators.
New York City and New Jersey have been hit hard, with 18,653 deaths as of April 21 in New York and 4,520 in New Jersey due to Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. It is a dangerous, frightening environment and a harrowing reality for workers to be moving about in.
Companies like AWISCO have played their part in keeping the supply chain going. AWISCO has four New York locations – Brooklyn, Bronx, Maspeth, West Babylon – and three in New Jersey and another in Connecticut.
“We have been ramping up our supplies for the mechanical contractors that are expanding the capacities at our local hospitals,” Lloyd Robinson, AWISCO President, told gasworld.
“AWISCO is heavily dependent on the New York metro construction market. As of now most jobsites are working though at reduced capacity.”
Robinson reported AWISCO, which has a fleet of 20 plus delivery vehicles, had not been affected by absenteeism, and did not expect any shortage in oxygen amid the outbreak.
Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Acme Cryogenics installed a significant portable medical oxygen supply system for Air Products that helped transform the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center into a temporary hospital in Queens, New York City in April. An Air Products 9,000-gallon medical oxygen tank as well as a 3000-gallon reserve tank and vaporisers that gasify the liquid oxygen were installed. The installation had some difficulties because of the limited overhead access in the tennis park.
“We have focused our manufacturing priority to medical oxygen related products, specifically, medical gas manifolds, medical gas vaporisers and converting portable supply systems for medical oxygen service,” Dave Fritz, President and CEO at Acme, told gasworld.
“Our field service teams have been very active supporting the industrial gas majors for the many temporary medical facilities popping up in the northeast, particularly the NYC area, including tank installs, complete supply system installs and ambient vaporiser de-icing work at a great many hospitals that have significant medical oxygen demands. The Field Service Team has been supporting most of the industrial gas majors with these efforts, and we are working seven-days-a-week installing tanks, oxygen supply systems and de-icing vaporisers.
“I’m really proud of the entire Acme team in supporting the broader medical community’s needs in dealing with the Covid crisis. We’ll get through this and be well positioned to help our customers in restarting the American economy.”
The full article will appear in the May issue of gasworld US.