Each year in the EU there are hundreds of serious incidents involving bottled gases such as acetylene, propane and oxygen. These gases are routinely used in well over 100,000 individual applications using fuel gas and oxygen flames by manual hand torches for fabrication by welding, cutting and brazing of items such as refrigeration and air-conditioning plant.
In the UK alone, the Fire and Rescue Service attend about 100 incidents each year in which acetylene cylinders have been involved in a fire. Those cylinders known to have failed catastrophically generally split axially and fragment into several pieces – these have been known to travel distances in excess of 200m under the rocket propulsion of the burning gas which they contained. In addition to the fire and explosion hazards, the shrapnel can penetrate masonry and ISO container walls.
Because of these obvious safety concerns, the cost of insuring operators and vehicles transporting bottled gases can be prohibitively high. The SafeFlame EU project aims to bring major benefits to safety and costs within this sector.