We've all been there. There was an exposure somewhere on the job, and now the crew shuts down for an hour while you walk the gas monitor back to where you're keeping the calibration gas cylinder. It passes calibration just fine, and on your way back you wonder, "Why am I always paying these guys to sit around while I have to lug this thing back and forth?" You have an hour walk back to ponder the question, and meanwhile the crew is being paid to twiddle their thumbs.
We have an answer for you, and it's the MicroCal. A cylinder small enough to fit in your pocket, stable enough to last a full year without Hydrogen Sulfide fade (we mean it), and so portable you can ship it UPS Ground without a hazmat certification. The MicroCal is made from high quality stainless steel and is the first calibration gas cylinder actually designed from the ground up by gas detection professionals. A cylinder so revolutionary that you just might buy it.
We started with the cylinder, designing a new form factor meant for portability and stability. We know what it's like to lug two 58L 4-gas cylinders around a job site, and we hate it. Ever seen one tip over and fall off the table only to crack the seal and dump all of your gas? Yeah, so have we. We started with better materials. Almost all of the 4-gas calibration cylinders out there are made of aluminum. Of those, most are disposable, but some will be refillable. Copper impurities in the aluminum react with the Hydrogen Sulfide (or other reactive components) in your 4-gas and slowly drop your concentration from 25ppm or so down to almost nothing. Calibration gas manufacturers get around this slow fade by offering free replacement warranties, but how does that help you in a jam? Hearing you'll get a new cylinder in 3-4 days doesn't help when you're relying on your calibration gas to be accurate and ready when you need it.
Because we use stainless steel instead of aluminum, we can pressurize the cylinder beyond the competition. Standard 58L cylinders hold about 500PSI, our MicroCal holds a working pressure of well above the 1800PSI we fill it with we end up with about 15L of gas. That being said, make sure you use a regulator with a higher PSI range, as you don't want to ping the gauge. You can buy one from us if need be.
Once we had the greatest cylinder designed by man, it was time to choose a valve. We went through a ton of different sizes, materials, and styles of safety relief device until we discovered the best valve for gas detector calibration. Sticking with our preference for the absolute best materials, we use a stainless steel valve instead of the usual nickel-plated brass stuff you see in most calibration gas cylinders. We've specially selected the safety relief device to neutralize directional force by venting in two separate directions simultaneously. If you've ever seen a safety relief device on a portable cylinder blow and send the cylinder flying across the room, you know why we thought it was worthwhile to choose a safety which keeps the cylinder stable while venting the gas.
Our patent pending coating technology is a marvel. It keeps a flexible layer of completely inert material between the gas and the cylinder wall. It flexes just enough to give with the expansion of the cylinder, creating an impermeable barrier which keeps your Hydrogen Sulfide from sticking to or absorbing into the cylinder wall. We went looking for something that is tough against corrosives and found it looking at tank circuit board coatings. We won't tell you what it is, but we can tell you it holds up better than any portable cylinder coating we've ever seen before.
Reactive Component Stabilization
If you buy 4-gas, you know the dreaded fade problem that comes with reactive gases like Hydrogen Sulfide. It also effects Ammonia, Chlorine, Nitrogen Dioxide, Hydrogen Cyanide, etc. Our Reactive Component Stabilization process chemically stabilizes the reactive gas in question making it highly resistant to cylinder adsorption and absorption, a patent pending innovation unique to the MicroCal.
If you've purchased calibration gas before, you're aware of the hazmat fees associated with shipping. Typically, it raises your shipping cost to somewhere around $50 for a shipment. You'll notice no hazmat fees on the MicroCal, because it ships UPS or Fedex Ground under a DOT Limited Quantity Exemption! This means that with a simple sticker and writing two words on the box (we'll help you with this part) you can ship the MicroCal yourself with no hazmat certification! Have a central office where you'd like to stock calgas before shipping it to job sites around the US? No problem! We even provide handy carrying cases and shipping label carriers selected specifically to fit the MicroCal.
Lets break down the cost of the calibration gas. I'm going to use what we charge for a 58L cylinder of 4-gas as a baseline $206 (if you're ordering from someone else, expect to pay more). Generally, shipping is about $48 due to hazmat fees (again, prices will vary here). So you're looking at $254.00 at the end of the day for a cylinder of calibration gas.
Contrast that with the MicroCal. You're getting the gas for $90 and putting down a $60 deposit. When you return the cylinder to us, we return your deposit. If you'd like a refill, you just fill out the order form and place it in with the MicroCal. It couldn't be simpler. If you're with a company that only uses gas detectors a few times a year, this is perfect for you. You're getting a full cylinder of calibration gas for under what most companies charge to calibrate your monitor. We honestly don't know of another company that offers 4 component calibration gas for less than $100 list. If you find one, let us know!
We're all about saving the environment nowadays, so lets talk about refills. Refilling your calibration gas cylinder helps save you money and save us raw materials. Our cylinders are made in America, out of stainless steel meant to last. We don't want them filling up landfills. We know getting cylinders tested and picking them up and dropping them off is a pain, but the MicroCal solves all of that! We take care of all of the testing requirements on our end so you don't have to. UPS or Fedex will take care of carting them back and forth with standard ground shipping, and you don't have to worry about them anymore. So here are the steps:
- Go to our website and click on "MicroCal Refill"
- Fill out the form, save it if you'd like, and print a copy out.
- Put the form in a box with the MicroCal. Try and pack the box tight and secure please.
- Place the DOT LQE sticker on your box somewhere easily visible.
- Write your two highest concentrations on the box like this: (Nitrogen, Oxygen) or for a single component H2S mix (Nitrogen, Hydrogen Sulfide). Remember to include the parenthesis and spell everything correctly. If you have any questions on this step, please give us a call!
- Ship the package back to us. If you would like us to print a shipping return label up and send it your way along with the form and an additional sticker, please give us a call!
You're done! If you wanted to return the cylinder to us for good, we will send a check to your company 30 days after receiving the cylinder. If you'd like a refill, we'll either charge the card you specify or bill a PO# you request if your company has credit with us.
Carrying Cases and Accessories
The MicroCal is a new innovation in the industry, and we quickly found that the standard industry carrying cases don't work for our new cylinder. To solve this problem, we teamed up with B&W case company and had a special MicroCal package put together. The cases are solid and come with a lifetime replacement warranty. They're usually used for shipping military hardware and scientific instruments for scientists in the Antarctic. Our cases come in two varieties:
- Instrument Companion - Has space for a single MicroCal, fixed flow regulator, charger, gas detector (many will fit, but not all, give us a call if you'd like to check on a specific monitor), and a zippered container in the lid for tubing, calibration sheets, cal adapters, etc.
- MicroCal 9-Pack - Contains space for 9 MicroCal cylinders, snugly fit. Can be refit to hold 6 cylinders with space for a monitor and regulator, etc.
Cases come with a wrap-around envelope perfect for storing shipping documents, forms, etc without damaging your pretty yellow case.