RFID Technology and Digital Solutions Improve Gas Cylinder Inventory Management

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Industries that manage large inventories of gas cylinders
The use of gas cylinders extends to many other fields and applications depending on the specific gas needs of different industries, such as acetylene cylinders for welding, refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems (FGAS compliance), oxygen tanks for medical or aircraft use, or portable fire extinguishers, etc.
Cylinders, tanks, containers, tanks, kegs, etc. are reusable packaging and transport assets (RTIs) with a wide range of applications across numerous industries and sectors:
Energy – Gas cylinders are used in the energy and utilities sector for fuel gases such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), acetylene, propane and butane, for residential and commercial cooking, heating and fueling purposes.
Industrial – Gas cylinders are used extensively in industry and manufacturing processes including: welding and cutting, industrial heating, chemical synthesis
Healthcare – Gas cylinders play a key role in the emergency medical care industry, such as oxygen, anesthetic gases and medical air
Food – Gas cylinders are used in the food and beverage industry: carbonation – to aerate soft drinks and beer, food packaging: nitrogen (N2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) to maintain food quality and extend the shelf life of packaging.

Challenges in Cylinder Stock Transportation:

How to optimize cylinder inventory? How to gain insight into usage and upgrade rotation patterns? How to track down “lost cylinders”? How to ensure the safety and reliability of gas cylinders? To reduce inventory shrinkage and increase efficiency, cylinder operators must consider these key issues and challenges:

1. Accurate real-time tracking: Tracking cylinders can be difficult given their sheer number, frequent movement, and varying degrees of fullness.

2. Long-distance logistics and transportation: After gas cylinders leave the warehouse, they often have to go through long-distance transportation to customers, so it is necessary to ensure safety and efficiency.

3. Safety challenges: Gas cylinders can be dangerous and require regular inspection and maintenance to prevent accidents and leaks.

4. Compliance with Regulatory Requirements: Operators must comply with various local, national and customs regulations related to the inspection, storage, transportation and handling of gas cylinders.

5. Complex billing management: Gas cylinder operators must also manage the complex financial aspects of the business, including pricing, billing, and collections.

Meeting these challenges requires implementing sophisticated inventory management systems, strong logistics capabilities, a steadfast commitment to safety and compliance, and sound financial management practices.

Gas cylinder lifecycle management

Most cylinder manufacturers design their cylinders to have a life of approximately 15 to 25 years. The life cycle of gas cylinders generally goes through: manufacturing-filling-storage-distribution-use-recycling-refilling-inspection and maintenance-discarding and other processes. However, actual cylinder life may vary:

Gas Type: Some gases, such as hydrogen, can cause materials to become brittle over time, reducing the life of the cylinder.

Cylinder Material: Steel cylinders are generally more durable than aluminum cylinders.

Inventory Shipping Environment: Cylinders exposed to harsh environments, such as extreme temperatures or corrosive substances, will degrade faster.

Due to the complex process and large quantity, the life of gas cylinders is not completely controllable, so it is very important to use technical means to monitor and manage the life cycle of gas cylinders.

Which cylinder tracking technology to choose?

Different carriers may employ different tracking technologies and systems based on their specific needs and preferences. Some common tracking solutions include:

1. Traditional manual method: Use pen and paper or spreadsheets to track cylinder inventory and movement. While this method is simple and inexpensive, it is error-prone and time-consuming.

2. Barcode scanning: This method uses the barcode attached to the gas cylinder, scans the data of the gas cylinder with a handheld scanner, and enters the scanned data into a database for tracking and inventory management. This method is more accurate and efficient than manual methods, but may still require manual data entry and is prone to errors.

3. Radio frequency identification technology (RFID): Install RFID electronic tags on gas cylinders, and use RFID readers to automatically track their circulation and inventory. This method is very accurate and efficient, and can provide real-time data on the location and status of the cylinders. The technology uses RFID chips that are linked to the serial number of the gas cylinder, allowing its location and history to be known. Customers can access all information such as safety data, contents, cylinders, batches, release numbers, etc. in the cloud.

Xerafy (Sai Fei) customized RFID electronic tags, according to the characteristics of specific-purpose gas cylinders, can customize the gas cylinder tags that can be installed together, and can choose different reading and writing frequencies such as high frequency and ultra high frequency. It has durable customized tags and strong anti-interference reading ability. Thanks to the unique ID number of the RFID chip and the customization of the writing number and lock number, the full life cycle management of gas cylinders can be achieved.

4. Global Positioning System (GPS): This involves tracking the location of gas cylinders in real time using GPS technology. This method is useful for tracking cylinders in transit, but may be less accurate for tracking in storage. Active technology requires batteries, increases the size of the GPS tracker, and requires regular maintenance in the field.

Overall, the most effective solution depends on the specific needs and requirements of the cylinder operator. For example, a smaller operator may use manual or barcode scanning methods to manage inventory, while a larger operator with a high number of cylinders may require more advanced technology such as RFID or cloud-based software systems.

Xerafy is China’s reliable industrial RFID electronic label choice, providing stable and reliable industrial RFID electronic label products, with more than 90 intellectual property rights in various regions.

Xerafy has rich expertise and experience in RFID asset management, and is deeply involved in various sub-sectors and user application scenarios, including: tool tracking, manufacturing, inventory management, oil and gas, data centers and medical care. Our users are located on all continents, and our products have been verified by Fortune 500 companies. The product line includes RFID electronic tags and sensors, which are resistant to high temperature, high pressure, chemicals, vibration, water, acid and alkali, etc.

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