Speaking on gasworld TV’s Spotlight on Specialty Gases: Trends in Markets and Operations webinar, Doug Barth, Senior Global Product Manager at Servomex, Kevin Klotz, Field Technician and Customer Support Specialist at Weldcoa, and Romary Daval, European Technical Manager at Luxfer, joined gasworld Editor Rob Cockerill for a Q&A session.

During the Q&A portion of the webinar, the three guests answered questions on a multitude of topics, from the high demands of customers in an ever-advancing industry, to specialty cylinders and cylinder coating mixtures.

Reflecting further on that discussion and debate had during the Q&A, here we revisit some of the questions put to gasworld’s expert panel.

How do you deal with unrealistic analytical specification demands from your semiconductor customers that are pushing for parts-per-trillion or even parts-per-quadrillion measurements that are just not possible with today’s tech?

Barth, on Friday answered a question regarding the high expectations and measurement demands when it comes to developing semiconductor technology in a constantly advancing industry.

He said that Servomex and its associated companies are always looking at new technologies and reaching out to developers.

When faced with analytical constraints, Barth mentioned that Servomex use a delineated roadmap which is closely followed. He mentioned that the Servomex director, Dr. Mike Proctor, is always looking out for new technologies, what the competition is doing, and what the customers are asking for.

He said, “For detection limits, we’re constantly looking at new technologies and reaching out to developers.”

“When the analytical constraints are pushed, we known there is a roadmap, the RTIS roadmap. We watch, we participate in that roadmap, and we are constantly looking out.”

“Our director, Dr. Proctor, his job for the BU (Business Unit) is to look out for those technologies, the competition, what the customer is asking for and bringing those technologies into Servomex so we are able to produce them for production measurement applications.”

“We’re always constantly pushing for new technology to meet those limits and we’re trying to bring the best technology possible to our customers to give them the analytical information because if you’re not measuring, you’re not monitoring, and if you’re not monitoring, you’re running blind.”

Are there any developments by Luxfer for composite cylinders and their uses in specialty applications?

When asked about new developments from Luxfer in the world of composite cylinders and their uses in specialty applications, Daval said that Luxfer don’t have any development in this area at the moment, due to lack of demand for those kind of cylinders as they tend to be more expensive.

Despite this, he also stated that the current material that Luxfer use for the liners, which are inside the composite, is the same as the alloy used for their traditional Type 1 cylinders.

He said, “There is no development in this subject for the moment for the simple reason that there is no demand for that kind of cylinder, that are obviously more expensive but with the advantage of being lighter.”

“Having said that, the alloy of the liners, which is the metal part inside the composite is the same as the alloy that we use for the traditional Type 1 cylinders, so it would be easily replicated to the composite cylinders.”

“So, we can be in a position relatively quickly to offer a similarity to the one we offer for our metallic cylinders, this is completely possible.”

Given that inert coatings degrade and become reactive again after a few years of use, how do you manage the long-term stability of internal passivation coatings on cylinders and equipment?

Klotz spoke about being able to lengthen the shelf-life of cylinder coating mixtures and using measurement technology to ensure that the developed product is of a high enough standard.

He said, “We’ve been able to significantly lengthen that shelf-life, whereas mixtures before might have had a couple year shelf-life, with just advances in the technology we’ve been able to double that, sometimes even triple that.”

Referring to high-end measurement equipment, he continued, “We all think that we’re coming up with a good product to fulfil this need, whether it’s the cylinder end or the cylinder filling end, nobody knows what kind of stability we’re going to get long or short term without really reliable, repeatable analytical equipment.

“That’s been the backbone to supporting the development of these products and lengthening the shelf-life.”

Daval added to the conversation, suggested that after their cylinders have been made to a high standard and shipped, they are also aware that after that point it is out of Luxfer’s hands, with the responsibility of good maintenance and practice falling onto the cylinder’s customer.

“We know that with the quality we infer, if the practice is good, it can last a very long time.”

Speaking about procedures after manufacture and delivery, he said, “It’s out of our hands, after we deliver the cylinders, we don’t have any leverage to maintain this quality. We can help with advice, but we cannot do anything, unfortunately.”