PSA Oxygen Plant Safety Precautions: While Installation And Operation!

July 22, 2022

The need for oxygen generators in the medical sector is now rising quickly on a global scale, and it is anticipated to do so in the wake of the recent coronavirus outbreak.

All layers of the healthcare system need oxygen, which should only be administered to patients in high-grade, medical-grade oxygen. Medical-grade oxygen is produced in pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen generation facilities. This article outlines the technical parameters that a PSA Oxygen Plant must adhere to in order to be used for the delivery of medical-grade oxygen.

What Is PSA?

By passing ambient air through an internal filtration system (such as a molecular sieve [zeolite granules or membranes]) with a sufficient total surface area to extract nitrogen (N2) from the air, pressure swing adsorption (PSA) concentrates the remaining oxygen (O2) to a specified purity. Filters, twin separation chambers, an air compressor, a dryer, a reservoir, and controls are often included.

Whereas, A PSA oxygen generator plant is a device created to concentrate oxygen from ambient air on a large scale. Its output capacity varies depending on the estimated amount of oxygen needed, often falling between 2 and 200 Nm3/hour. In order to distribute oxygen produced by PSA plants, it can either be piped directly from the oxygen tank to the wards or further compressed to fill cylinders using a supplemental booster compressor and a ramp/manifold for cylinder filling.

While using and installing a PSA system there should be major safety precautions taken. Some of those are mentioned below-

PSA Oxygen Plant Safety Precautions

While Installation

Installations indoors must take into account the possibility of an oxygen-rich or oxygen-deficient atmosphere there. It is advised to use enough ventilation, oxygen concentration alarms, or both. All vents must be directed to a safe area, including any relief devices.

Safety For Ears

High noise levels can be produced by the mechanical components (such as compressors and vacuum blowers), valve switching, condensate drainage, and process flows of PSA and VSA generators. Any worker ear protection should adhere to OSHA rules as well as necessary local and federal laws.

Exposure To The Atmosphere

In industrial PSA and VSA oxygen generators, exposure to the atmosphere inside the adsorbent vessels during loading, removing, or inspecting sieve beds is one of the riskier procedures. Obviously, this exposure happens when you enter the ship, but it can also happen if you just breathe the air close to the entrance. Changes in ambient temperature cause adsorbent material to adsorb or desorb nitrogen even when the generator is not running. This means that an object's atmosphere can quickly become oxygen-enriched or oxygen-deficient. It is crucial to cleanse the vessel with dry, oil-free air both before and during vessel entrance work.

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Operation Safety Precautions

It can be very dangerous to improperly dispose of the vent and waste gases that the generator produces. After the generator has been turned on, all piping should be checked for leaks (using a soap test), especially if the generator is situated indoors. Before using the generator, all leaks should be fixed in order to avoid the risks of oxygen-enriched or oxygen-deficient atmospheres.

Purity Of Products

Product purity can change based on operational circumstances. Depending on the ultimate application, varying levels of product purity may provide safety risks. Include proper and trustworthy analysis, followed by isolation using automated valves. Make that the analyzer is in good working order and has recently been calibrated before turning it on.

During operation, valve systems cycle automatically and regularly, so caution must be taken to keep hands and tools away from these valves.

Deficiency Of Oxygen

1. The first step will be to examine the OXYGEN level close to the gas storage facilities, such as the cryogenic tanks for nitrogen, argon, and co2.

2. The area or buildings around the cryogenic tank may not have enough oxygen due to the Safety Valve's constant operation.

3. The oxygen level may fall below 19.5% due to an increase in the percentage of inert gas, which is dangerous for breathing.

These are some of the safety precautions everyone should take while installing and also while using the system.

When Entering The Premises

1. Verify the oxygen percentage, which shouldn't be lower than 19.5 percent or higher than 23.5 percent.

2. When checking for flammable gases, the level should not be more than 10% of LEL.

3. Verify that there are no toxic gases present, such as CO or H2S.

4. When entering the building, USE A SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus).

5. Use an oxygen level sensor to constantly monitor the oxygen level.

6. When entering the building, area, or plant, wear the appropriate PPE.

7. When necessary, use the Lockout/Tag out procedure.

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