To ensure its customers are able to transport pressurised gases across the EU, handling, storage and security specialist Ritchie has brought its bundle product portfolio into line with TPED, covering the transport of pressurised equipment and including the transport of gas bundles.

A gas bundle by definition is two or more cylinders joined together within a manifold and restrained within a frame. Ritchie designs and manufactures the frame element of the bundle for a range of customers, including long standing clients Air Products and Linde BOC. Prior to TPED, the transport of such equipment was solely covered by BS EN 13769, which governs the design, manufacture, identification and testing of this equipment.

There is confusion within the industry however, on how to interpret TPED and different companies are taking different viewpoints on compliance dates and other complex issues.

Steve Robertson, one of Ritchie’s project engineers, explained, “The document that outlines TPED is long and involved and by necessity written in a complex manner. Furthermore, the vast majority of the directive is concerned with other elements of transport and doesn’t touch on gas bundles. As a result, the challenge for all involved parties is to interpret the directive correctly and then apply it rigorously. At Ritchie, we’ve built up a centre of excellence to do this and thus are able to make things easy for our clients.”

Following structural calculations, a prototype frame is manufactured by Ritchie’s coded welders, to which approved welding procedures apply. This frame then undergoes rigorous testing at the company’s plant in Forfar, Scotland, including a rotational drop test, to simulate the impact of a bundle falling from the vehicle that’s transporting it and a vertical drop test to simulate it being dropped by a forklift. This entire process must be witnessed by a competent body such as Lloyds, DNV or similar.

Robertson commented, “The rule of thumb is that if a gas bundle has to be transported on the road network anywhere in the European Union it must comply with TPED. The only exception is that an offshore pack can be driven directly to the dockside for offshore use without TPED certification. However, if it is stored elsewhere on route or diverted, it has to comply. This means the most practical thing to do is to ensure compliance in the first instance.”