SCUBA Breathing Air Compressor Safety

Whether it’s a SCUBA Breathing Air Compressor, Paintball Compressor or Fire Service Breathing Air Compressor our goals are the same

Safety is? Being cognizant of your surroundings and prepared for the inevitable. Filling procedures may vary from SCUBA businesses to Paintball businesses or Fire Department to Fire Department. Given the lack of regulations in SCUBA bottle filling and years of filling SCUBA bottles in an open environment the high-pressure compressor industry has made changes to high pressure enclosures or fragmentation chambers. In previous years its been a common practice to submerge SCUBA bottles, during filling, to keep the often-steel bottles from heating up too rapidly and creating Rapid Expansion Air Loss (REAL) once the bottle(s) have been properly stored and begin to cool off. When filling high pressure bottles of a larger cubic foot, remember to check each bottle for the proper hydro-static tested date as well as connections and valves or valve stems for burst or pressure safety discs and worn damaged threads. Never fill a bottle that appears damaged, that is out of test date or continues to blow burst safety discs. Once the filling process has begun and the bottle is secure, open valves slowly and don’t exceed a fill rate of 300/600 psi/ min for aluminum bottles and to maintain an even more controlled rate of 200-300 psi / min for steel tanks. Steel tanks have a tendency to heat up at a more rapid rate than aluminum dive tanks, thus filling steel tanks at a more controlled slower rate will save REAL once properly stored.

Nardi Compressors recommends that every bottle be inspected, placed, secured and slowly filled in a NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) approved fragmentation chamber for Fire Service Breathing Air Compressors, or be placed in a Class II containment enclosure or “pop can” for SCUBA. he Frag. Chamber will fill from 2216-5500 psi, and fill a wide variety of High and Low-Pressure breathing air bottles from a series of fill valves, fill panel(s) or multi-port manifolds. Having a Frag. Chamber that is secured to the floor, will certainly prevent injury from a SCBA or SCUBA bottle that is overfilled or ruptures during filling. The Class II containment may provide some protection if a filling mistake is made, but will not prevent bottle fragments from possibly causing injury to those in the immediate area.

The Key(s) to safe filling is to always check bottles, fill slowly and maintain a safe working environment, utilizing a fragmentation chamber with only trained authorized personnel or a few employees or individuals near the filling stations during the filling process.

Check out our line scuba air compressors and fire department air compressors and feel free to contact us with any questions.