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    Default SCBA bottle hydro test failures

    Is anyone having their SCBA bottles fail hydrostatic testing? I just sent in six Scott aluminum 30 minute, 2216 psi bottles, and they told me that 4 of them failed. The company that tested them had told me they have been seeing a lot of failures recently due to some new testing guidelines. Anyone else aware of this?

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    Nope, havn't heard of this. I would call the vendor and ask them to fax you a copy of the new CGA guidelines that are causing the failures, and then maybe contact the Mfr of the bottles and discuss it with them as well.
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    Recently sent 4 bottles to be tested, three failed (at the threads). Only failures we've ever had, up to now, were because of the shelf life of wrapped bottles (15yrs).

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    They told me they have been having problems with stress cracks at the necks, and they think it is due to the bottles being stored in the trucks with the necks down (typical compartment storage). Problem is, these have never been stored in a compartment that way. They have always been stored horizontally in hard sided cases.

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    There is a fairly new requirement to perform an eddy current test on neck area to detect stress cracking on Al cylinders.

    Scott (as on many issues) has been relatively generous in replacement of those that fail even though may not be under warrenty. Specific serial number ranges/batches that are included.

    If you are having your hydro tests performed by local testing firm (not Scott distributor) they likely are unaware and unable to take care of replacment for you.

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    When were the bottles made. It might be interesting to look at the alloy used. In scuba diving, the older luxfer AL80's pre 1988 were made from 6351 AL (so were lots of other brands used in scuba and SCBA's). Current AL tanks are 6061. They have seen Sustained Load Cracking (SLC) develop in the older 6351 alloy tanks and just this past year added an addendum to the hydro procedures for 6351 tanks to require an Eddy Current Test. The idea is that any cracks will be found by a visual inspection prior to hydro, a visual inspection immediately following hydro or via the eddy current machine.

    One more tidbit - its takes good training to use and interpret the eddy current machine. It has to be calibrated to each alloy so if you sent a 6061 tank with the 6351 calibration on the meter - it will fail. Even when using the proper calibration, it is essetial the tank is clean and then the data interpreted correctly. I don't know if this is still a problem but training quality was initially.
    Last edited by TheFNG; 03-02-2009 at 06:26 PM.

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    Consider buying new cylinders with no valve. Recycle the valves out of your old cylinders. Will save you $100 per.

    And upgrade to carbons.

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    Known problems with Aluminum cylinders.Particularly certain serial numbers. Be happy they found the defects before sombody got hurt,or worse.As the others have stated,Scott is assisting in the replacement. T.C,

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Consider buying new cylinders with no valve. Recycle the valves out of your old cylinders. Will save you $100 per.

    And upgrade to carbons.
    My understanding is that the valves from our aluminum cylinders will not work with composite cylinders (from the SCI website). Any thoughts on this?

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    Exclamation Luxfer Bottles damage

    Last year Jan 2008, our dept. went to 4500 psi, manufactured by MSA. The bottles we bought with the new air packs were manufactured by Luxfer. We are having a lot of chipping and gouges, and cuts occuring to these bottles, more so then our old bottles. I am aware of a coating change that Luxfer made prior to our purchase. Is anyone else having the same problem as we are? Our training and use patterns have not changed.
    Thanks
    Parkbear

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    Sore subject in my book.
    I too sent in bottles all came back failed claiming same thing then sent in 4 of my new bottles again claimed same thing on two of them. The two where still under warranty but had to wait 2 months for replacements to arrive. Luxfer has a posting on this on website http://www.luxfercylinders.com/suppo...0071022usa.htm

    my 8 bottles fell under the 6351 but my newer ones are 6061 and Luxfer FAQ states there is no problem.

    From Luxfer FAQ
    "If Luxfer 6061-alloy cylinders are not susceptible to SLC, why has Luxfer exchanged 6061 cylinders that have been reported to have cracks?

    After the introduction of eddy-current technology, Luxfer received reports of cracking in 6061-alloy cylinders. We accepted returns on about 1,200 of these cylinders to conduct extensive tests. Not a single cylinder was found to be cracked.

    On Luxfer 6061-alloy cylinders, eddy-current devices sometimes show harmless "indications" that lead to "false-positive" readings for SLC."

    I will know this week if the bottles that supplier claims are condemned were really bad. A trained inspector has his doubt and that threads were not even cleaned before test as he showed me. He pointed this out right off the bat when I brought them in. So we shall see.
    I also brought in failed test results and he said they were not even complete and chatter was from dirty threads.
    Vendor said that they have tested bottles straight from Scott/ Luxfer and they too were bad. So are they just passing the problem on the the fire service for us to found out ?

    Thinking somebody just want to sell new bottles.
    Last edited by mtndew21; 08-29-2009 at 09:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfra900 View Post
    Is anyone having their SCBA bottles fail hydrostatic testing? I just sent in six Scott aluminum 30 minute, 2216 psi bottles, and they told me that 4 of them failed. The company that tested them had told me they have been seeing a lot of failures recently due to some new testing guidelines. Anyone else aware of this?

    Contact me please

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    There is a fairly new requirement to perform an eddy current test on neck area to detect stress cracking on Al cylinders.

    Scott (as on many issues) has been relatively generous in replacement of those that fail even though may not be under warrenty. Specific serial number ranges/batches that are included. They are not replacing 6351 bottles.
    If you are having your hydro tests performed by local testing firm (not Scott distributor) they likely are unaware and unable to take care of replacment for you.
    Does not mean that you have to take them to a Scott Distributor for the testing. Which I suspect what he did. At $450.00 each for replacement bottles it can ruin a budget real quick on top of the overpriced testing
    Last edited by mtndew21; 08-29-2009 at 08:25 PM.

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    So if I'm getting this right, it's probable that none of the bottles that were condemned actually had cracks. We have since scrapped them all, but I'm sure that most of them were manufactured after 1988, which is when Luxfer says they started using 6061 exclusively. Seems like a certain distributor should be furnishing new bottles at little or no cost if they can't conduct the testing correctly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfra900 View Post
    So if I'm getting this right, it's probable that none of the bottles that were condemned actually had cracks. We have since scrapped them all, but I'm sure that most of them were manufactured after 1988, which is when Luxfer says they started using 6061 exclusively. Seems like a certain distributor should be furnishing new bottles at little or no cost if they can't conduct the testing correctly.

    The problem lays deeper then the vendor doing the test.

    What is needed now is departments to step forward and post their SLC failures or contact me.
    I need more information on how widespread this issue is and how many dept's this has affected.
    Last edited by mtndew21; 09-12-2009 at 12:12 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    There is a fairly new requirement to perform an eddy current test on neck area to detect stress cracking on Al cylinders.

    Scott (as on many issues) has been relatively generous in replacement of those that fail even though may not be under warranty. Specific serial number ranges/batches that are included.

    If you are having your hydro tests performed by local testing firm (not Scott distributor) they likely are unaware and unable to take care of replacement for you.

    Can you please post where it states in any rule that ALL cylinders must be tested for SLC cracking.

    From information told to me the reason for Scott replacing 6351 bottles was that Luxfer needed bottles back to do intensive testing on SLC cracking.

    Straight from Luxfer website
    http://www.luxfercylinders.com/suppo...0071022usa.htm

    "It is important to note that SLC has occurred only in a small number of older cylinders made from 6351 aluminum alloy. Cylinders made from 6061 aluminum alloy, the metal currently used by all U.S. manufacturers, have not exhibited SLC.

    "Luxfer discontinued use of 6351 alloy in June 1988 and since that time has only manufactured scuba cylinders from Luxfer’s proprietary L6X® formula for 6061 aluminum alloy. Out of more than 40 million cylinders, no Luxfer cylinder made from L6X® (6061) alloy has ever exhibited a sustained-load crack".


    As for replacements yea the market is so monopolized as WE have no choice but to return to Scott distributor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtndew21 View Post
    As for replacements yea the market is so monopolized as WE have no choice but to return to Scott distributor.
    Why do you say that? If you're talking about replacing bottles, you should be able to go to at least SCI (my career department is looking at just that) and I bet Luxfer. If you're talking a no-cost replacement, does it really matter who does it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtndew21 View Post
    Can you please post where it states in any rule that ALL cylinders must be tested for SLC cracking.
    First - SLC is identified and characterized in the 6351 alloy only. You will not find SLC in 6061 or other alloys. I am not saying you won't find cracks or defects similar to SLC, its just SLC was tested for and specifically found in the 6351 tanks and not the 6061 tanks. (in time - you may see SLC in 6061 tanks, it just hasn't happened yet)

    For the record - per DOT guidelines on hydrostatic re-qualification of cylinders, a 6351 alloy tank must be eddy current tested for cracks. They also recommend a 1/2 interval non-destructive test inspection and annual visual inspections. Only the hydro, visual and eddy current test are required by law though at the prescribed 5 year hydro cycle.

    6061 alloy tanks do not require eddy current testing though some areas are getting machine tuned for this alloy as well. They do get visual inspections and hydrostatic testing every 5 years and have the same recommendation to do annual inspections and 1/2 interval non-destructive tests. The only significant difference is the lack of required eddy current test.

    I should note - at least with SCUBA which also uses the same types of tanks, cracks have been found in the 6061 alloy tanks. Its just not, as of yet, developed into what is known as Sustained Load Cracking or SLC. All tanks can be damaged, its just the 6351 alloy has a known issue with cracking under sustained load (IE fully pressurized) - which most SCBA bottles fall under.

    If you want - I can dig up the references in the code of federal regulations that specify using CGA 6.1 guidelines for the inspections. Unfortunately, unless you are a member of the CGA, getting the guidelines is pretty costly - something like $50 or $75.
    Last edited by TheFNG; 09-12-2009 at 08:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Why do you say that? If you're talking about replacing bottles, you should be able to go to at least SCI (my career department is looking at just that) and I bet Luxfer. If you're talking a no-cost replacement, does it really matter who does it?
    You can not send failed bottles directly to Luxfer they must go though a Scott distributor.Now Luxfer can set this up but it still must be thru Scott since both parties have a contract among each other.

    "If you are having your hydro tests performed by local testing firm (not Scott distributor) they likely are unaware and unable to take care of replacement for you."
    So what I meant is even if you are aware you still are unable to return bottle unless thru a Scott Distributor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFNG View Post
    First - SLC is identified and characterized in the 6351 alloy only. You will not find SLC in 6061 or other alloys. I am not saying you won't find cracks or defects similar to SLC, its just SLC was tested for and specifically found in the 6351 tanks and not the 6061 tanks. (in time - you may see SLC in 6061 tanks, it just hasn't happened yet)

    For the record - per DOT guidelines on hydrostatic re-qualification of cylinders, a 6351 alloy tank must be eddy current tested for cracks. They also recommend a 1/2 interval non-destructive test inspection and annual visual inspections. Only the hydro, visual and eddy current test are required by law though at the prescribed 5 year hydro cycle Luxfer recommended the 2.5 yr inspection. For cylinders in heavy use (for example, those filled five or more times a week), Luxfer recommends visual inspection every four months. For more information, refer to Luxfer’s Scuba Cylinder Inspection Guide, which is available by calling Luxfer at 800-764-0366 or by visiting the Luxfer web site at www.luxfercylinders.com

    6061 alloy tanks do not require eddy current testing though some areas are getting machine tuned for this alloy as well. They do get visual inspections and hydrostatic testing every 5 years and have the same recommendation to do annual inspections and 1/2 interval non-destructive tests. The only significant difference is the lack of required eddy current test.
    Again Luxfer recommends 4 months for heavy use on 6061 bottles

    I should note - at least with SCUBA which also uses the same types of tanks, cracks have been found in the 6061 alloy tanks. Its just not, as of yet, developed into what is known as Sustained Load Cracking or SLC. All tanks can be damaged, its just the 6351 alloy has a known issue with cracking under sustained load (IE fully pressurized) - which most SCBA bottles fall under.
    I just had two 6061 SCBA bottles just condenmed for SLC cracking even thought Luxfer said that this highly unlikely

    If you want - I can dig up the references in the code of federal regulations that specify using CGA 6.1 guidelines for the inspections. Unfortunately, unless you are a member of the CGA, getting the guidelines is pretty costly - something like $50 or $75.
    Thanks for the offer.My tester stated that they will not do a test on a bottle unless a eddy current test is done. No matter what the bottle is 6351 or 6061

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    I just wanted to clarify one point - there is a difference between SLC cracks and cracks. SLC is a process by which cracks form over time. Cracks are just that - cracks. To determine if the crack is caused by the SLC process, a sample must be examined under high magnification. These characteristics of SLC have been seen in 6351 tanks but not in 6061 tanks. Also, to do this test required destruction of the cylinder to get the sample prepped. As such, its impossible to determine reliably if a crack is SLC based or simply a crack without destructive testing. For us though, it doesn't matter how - a crack is a crack is a crack and leads to failure of the bottle.

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    Still need department's to step up to the plate as I would like to figure out how wide spread the issue is with cylinder's being placed out of service with the eddy current device.

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    We had scrapped all 6 of our bottles that failed, but I did find them before they went to the grinder. All of the manufacture dates were between 1979 and 1983, so there appears to be a good chance they were not 6061 aluminum. Regardless, when they get replaced, it won't be with aluminum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mfra900 View Post
    We had scrapped all 6 of our bottles that failed, but I did find them before they went to the grinder. All of the manufacture dates were between 1979 and 1983, so there appears to be a good chance they were not 6061 aluminum. Regardless, when they get replaced, it won't be with aluminum.
    Well then they were beyond their allowable life span anyways, so what seems to be the problem??????
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    No problem. Just stating the facts. As originally posted, I was just wondering if anyone else was seeing this.

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