Airgas, the largest US distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases, and related supplies has introduced Airgas SmartTag – the industry’s first visual identification system for managing cylinder gas expiration.

Used primarily for EPA Protocol gas cylinders, Airgas SmartTag is a small, microprocessor-controlled Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) collar that fits around the neck of a gas cylinder and provides instant, on-site access to cylinder contents data.

“All it takes is a glance and you’ll know if the gas is good,” said Bob Davis, Airgas Vice President, Environmental and Sustainable Technologies. “Airgas SmartTag has lights so you can quickly see if the cylinder contents are ready for use, nearing expiration, or past the expiration date. This is critical when you’re using EPA Protocol gases because you cannot use an expired Protocol gas when monitoring emissions. Airgas SmartTag helps keep our customers in compliance.”

According to Davis, Airgas SmartTag has a green light that flashes to show the gas is ready for use, a yellow light that indicates when the gas is within 60 days of expiration, and a red light that indicates the gas is past its expiration date and should not be used. The RFID technology and a printed barcode enable customers and Airgas personnel to easily track cylinders.

With the Airgas SmartTag system, all data pertaining to the gas is imbedded into the RFID collar when the cylinder is filled. Data includes identification of the gas or gas mixture, the location where the cylinder was filled, gas pressure within the cylinder after the cylinder was filled, a Certification of Analysis, and expiration date for the gas in the cylinder. When the cylinder is connected at a customer location, the RFID collar records cylinder gas pressure and gas volume used throughout any given period of time. The device records and stores data for easy retrieval and transmits data to a provided hand-held display that customers and Airgas personnel can use to retrieve the information and track cylinder usage. Davis said that the ability to transmit the data without the use of email was important to customers.

“Airgas SmartTag eliminates many of the concerns users of EPA Protocol gases have,” Davis explained. “From monumental concerns about not knowing when the gas will expire, which could result in non compliance with EPA regulations and significant penalties, to concerns about relying on email for notification of gases that have expired and then trying to locate those specific cylinders among all cylinders on site. Airgas SmartTag technology was developed to put an end to those headaches and hassles.”