Welding equipment requires oxygen in order to generate the flame used to melt and mold metal. The oxygen is in tanks, which you can rent or purchase from welding supply stores. Some organizations run oxygen exchange programs for such tanks. The rules for these programs exist to ensure that everyone involved in the programs receives fair treatment, to meet the needs of program participants and administrators, and to protect administrators from legal claims.
Oxygen tank exchange programs can save you time. When you participate in a program, you take your empty oxygen tank to an exchange location and swap it for a full tank. The exchange program takes your empty tank, refills it and passes it on to someone else in the program as an exchange tank. These programs cover numerous types of gas tanks, including acetylene and carbon dioxide tanks. Contact a hardware store or metal machine shop to find exchange programs in your area.
Exchange rules for welding oxygen tanks vary by program. The programs exist throughout the United States, and each makes its own rules. One standard stipulation, however, seems to run through all such programs: tank ownership. Never attempt to exchange a rented or leased oxygen tank. Programs refuse those tanks because they leave the program liable if the party from which you rented or leased that tank makes a legal claim. Thoroughbred Industrial Cylinder Exchange, for instance, requires individuals to sign a statement of ownership and accept all legal responsibility for exchanging rented or leased tanks.
As a general rule, never attempt to exchange a broken or damaged oxygen tank. The program cannot pass such a tank to another program participant. Some programs may require you to take tanks to them, while others operate a delivery exchange program. Exchange programs generally require you to fill out a form, provide them with valid and legal identification and make a deposit. Those programs keep the deposit if you lose, break or keep a tank. Some programs accept only certain types of tanks.
Exchange vs. Refill
Exchange programs are an alternative to refilling an oxygen tank. Refilling a tank entails little more than taking it to a venue or vendor that offers the refilling service, dropping it off and picking it up when it is full. Refills take a very long time with certain types of gas. Acetylene refills, for instance, can take as long as seven hours. The waiting time makes an exchange program an ideal means of getting more gas fast. Welding oxygen tanks, however, refill relatively quickly. Some refill services even drive a large tank of welding oxygen to a customer's house or business to refill a tank. Researching your area's refill and exchange program availability and cost will help you determine the best method for you.
- Thoroughbred Industrial Cylinder Exchange: New Exchange Rules
- Thoroughbred Industrial Cylinder Exchange: Ownership Acknowledgement
- HD Supply: Compressed Gas and Tank Exchange
- Welder’s Handbook: A Guide to Plasma Cutting, Oxyacetylene, ARC, MIG and TIG Welding; Richard Fink
- The Oxygen Edge and Oxy-Chum: Tanks
- Welding Essentials: Questions and Answers; William L. Galvery and Frank M. Marlow
- How to Weld; Todd Bridigum
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