AutoSupply automates cylinder gas inventory

Innovative inventory management system with telemetry
Manufacturing & Process
|
15 July 2019

AutoSupply allows users of cylinder gases to monitor remotely how much gas is left in the cylinders. The gas is automatically reordered and delivered, with the result that the user hardly has to even think about it.

“Air Liquide is constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and user experience of its cylinder gases,” says Nadia Bakker, Offer Deployment Manager M&P Benelux. “As part of this, we already make sure that drivers who supply gases are qualified to safely connect cylinders and cylinder packs to customers’ systems. AutoSupply is a logical next step in the process, where we’re looking to further relieve the burden on customers.”

No-worry stock management

Using an advanced telemetry system based on 3G communication - similar to the system Air Liquide has been using for its bulk tanks for some time - the contents of a cylinder or cylinder pack are continuously monitored by the Air Liquide control centre. As soon as the gas level falls below a predetermined minimum, a new cylinder (or cylinder pack) is automatically ordered, to be delivered and connected soon afterwards.

“Until now, stock control could only be done manually. Staff had to inspect cylinders on site every time to see how much gas was left before ordering a new supply. In a world of IoT and Industry 4.0, we felt that there was room for improvement, and AutoSupply was the answer.”

“By adding AutoSupply to our drivers’ connection service, we can take the burden away from our customers almost completely,” adds Nadia. “They no longer need to invest time and energy in managing gas inventory, and we make sure that under no circumstances will the customer be left without gas.”

Preconditions

AutoSupply can be applied to all cylinders and cylinder packs placed in the open air and linked to an Air Liquide distribution panel. The telemetry hardware is connected to the distribution panel and measures the pressure in the cylinders every hour, making remaining content easy to calculate.

What about CO2 and acetylene?

Remaining gas quantity calculation based on cylinder pressure doesn’t work for CO2 and acetylene, because these gases become liquid under high pressure. When the cylinder is empty, the pressure falls back to zero at a stroke, meaning that a new cylinder can only be ordered once the previous one is empty. That’s no problem, because the distribution panel automatically switches to a second connected cylinder (or cylinder pack). Before this cylinder (pack) is empty, the first has already been replaced.

Confident

“We believe that the majority of customers who use our cylinder gases appreciate the added value of AutoSupply. It saves a lot of time and prevents human error. The customer can be confident of not running out of gas, ever!”

The AutoSupply service is available right now. Please contact Nadia Bakker for more information.

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