The first-of-its-kind SMOOTHFLO gas regulator boasts a number of world-leading safety features that have been exclusively developed by Sub-Saharan African gas market leader Afrox – which officially launched the new range globally in mid-2014.
Exclusively developed over a two-year period at the Afrox manufacturing facility in Germiston, South Africa, SMOOTHFLO gas regulator features major breakthroughs in design, and is the first gas regulator in the world to come standard with a piston-embedded safety valve, as opposed to an externally mounted safety valve which is subjected to the external environment.
Afrox head of hard goods Nazmi Adams indicates that piston-driven technology produces excellent pressure stability at higher flow rates, which allows an operator to achieve greater gas cutting speeds. “The ability to go from zero to maximum operating pressure in just three turns reduces the amount of set-up time required,” he explains.
What’s more, a unique break-off inlet stem ensures that the high performing excess-flow valve will safely and automatically seal off gas discharge from a cylinder into the atmosphere, should it and the regulator be accidently impacted by a fall. This is a major safety advantage to numerous industries that use oxy-acetylene for welding, ranging from mining and fabrication, to manufacturing and rail.
Adams states that standard regulators with externally mounted pressure gauges can suffer damage from external impacts. The resultant gas leaks poses serious fire hazards as well as being costly to repair. The unique design of SMOOTHFLO makes the gauges almost entirely damage-proof, and minimises the threat of a catastrophic accident.
The SMOOTHFLO break-off stem ensures that the gas is shut off should the regulator be sheared off due to external impact or the cylinder falling over. This renders the cylinder safe. With normal regulators, the cylinder will vent uncontrollably, either becoming a projectile or a spinning hazard, with the associated risk to workers and equipment.
Adams highlights the fact that health and safety conscious companies in advanced economies in Europe and North America have been impressed by the performance of SMOOTHFLO and the manner in which it eliminates known risks associated with gas equipment. “It will likely become the new standard in the safety conscious global markets. Afrox is proud to be placing South Africa as the world leader in gas market safety through the development of SMOOTHFLO, which boasts unrivalled performance.”
The mirror configuration of SMOOTHFLO regulators prevents hose overlap and further reduces the risk of oxygen and acetylene fires. The outer casing of the regulator is manufactured from a robust, impact-resistant and fire-retardant nylon-based material and affords ultimate pressure gauge protection. In addition, the outer casing is entirely tamper-resistant for added security. This ensures that workers do not attempt self-repair or tamper with the high pressure mechanics, thereby introducing operational risks.
Due to the revolutionary design and performance of SMOOTHFLO, Adams reveals that Afrox is currently in the process of exporting up to 10 000 units to Australia and Europe over the next two months. “The tried-and-tested performance of SMOOTHFLO locally has prompted a surge in international demand for this unique product that is years ahead of competitors in terms of design.”
Looking to the future, Adams points out that Afrox aims to consolidate on its world-leading innovation through the continued research and development into new versions of SMOOTHFLO gas regulator. “In order to remain a market leader, Afrox is already researching the incorporation of smart technology to allow for communication between the unit and machinery for even greater safety and efficiency,” he concludes.
African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) is sub-Saharan Africa’s market leader in gases and welding products. Afrox was founded in 1927, listed on the JSE in 1963, and has prospered by constantly meeting the needs of customers and developing solutions that add value to customer applications. Afrox operates in South Africa and in ten other African countries. It also manages operations in five additional countries on behalf of its parent company, The Linde Group – a global gases, engineering and technology company.