Industrial Gas Cylinder Management

Overview

Industrial gas companies use cylinders as the main supply method to supply industrial gases to their customers. The companies make a huge investment in cylinders – a key returnable asset. Tracking these cylinders is very important as asset utilization and visibility is very significant during these economically challenging times. Business productivity, knowing what cylinders are available, where they are at any given time and what their operational status is, are all critical elements that have a direct impact on the bottom-line.

People in the industry know that reading, writing and entering cylinder data take up much of their workers’ time. On top of this, the process is repeated multiple times during receiving, filling, shipping, and tracking. Moreover, around 10% of manual entries are incorrect. In a business that depends on accurate tracking of individual cylinders, errors can cause the cylinder to become lost faster; have a negative impact on productivity and results in big losses to the bottom line.

Bar coding and related tracking techniques have been in use for a while. Bar coding is handicapped as it has to be seen to be read. In harsh industrial environments, bar codes become unreadable very quickly due to mutilation or being covered by mud or oil. The biggest challenge to bar code use is that bar codes can be duplicated very easily, making the integrity of the cylinder’s physical location undependable.

 

Ultimately, this lack of up-to-date data results in the inability to easily locate assets and in the lack of readily available information about an asset’s operational status when it is most needed.

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology overcomes the handicaps of a bar code by replacing it with a unique microchip assembly that is small in size and has no moving parts. The unique identification code embedded digitally on the microchip makes the tag extremely resistant to counterfeiting and one cannot fake the reading of the asset it is associated with. Since RFID tags do not require a direct line of sight they are embedded in a protective high impact resistant case to withstand hard industrial conditions and extreme environments. Mud and oil do not hinder the reading. RFID Tags have a multi-year lifespan. RFID technology uses an RFID reader (radio signal initiator and receiver) that listen to signals sent back from RFID Passive tags. When the trigger on the RFID reader is pulled, the tag is read and provides a unique identification code. This makes it possible to track an asset.

The TRAKAID CyTRACK solution is the first commercial economically viable solution for the industrial gas cylinder industry that utilizes RFID technology to the fullest. It is comprehensive and includes all facets of business including production, logistics, and distribution and provides an economical and efficient way to keep asset location and status data up-to-date. This improves the rotation of returnable assets and avoids the loss of cylinders.

Challenges


  • Increased operation time and lost productivity due to cylinder identification issues.
  • Lower bottom line resulting from improper identification and loss of cylinders.
  • Cylinders are underutilized due to inefficient and inaccurate tracking methods currently in use.
  • Determining which cylinders are due for scheduled maintenance and testing is difficult.
  • Safety of staff and customers is impacted as cylinders are not tested when required.
  • Difficulty in reading cylinder number: missing – illegible – poor lighting – non readable bar code.
  • Human error in reading and writing cylinder numbers, including number transposition errors.

 


  • Time inefficiencies reconciling discrepancies in customer's and company's cylinder holding records.
  • Differentiation between cylinders owned by a customer, dealer or company difficult or impossible.
  • Inability to efficiently identify cylinder damage and attribute it to a specific delivery incident.
  • Cylinder asset management, audit, and periodic census is time consuming and difficult, resulting in an inability to locate individual cylinders.

TRAKAID CyTRACK is a web-based comprehensive industrial gases cylinder management and logistics solution. It covers all aspects of the business including the Receipt, Production, Issue, Testing, Service, Invoicing, Delivery, and Pickup of industrial gas cylinders. Incorporating the power of the web allows an enterprise to manage multiple locations, and rich dynamic web-based reports provide the ability to analyze data from anywhere.

RFID technology is integrated into the solution to eliminate potential data entry errors and automates data acquisition at lower labor cost; uses mobile technology that brings intelligent actionable data in the hands of the user at the point of use. TRAKAID helps simplify asset processing, management and real-time tracking. Its easy-to-use interface meets industry standards and gives companies the ability to view in real-time the current status of critical assets and assess their impact on business processes from any location.

Cylinder Tracking Advantage

  • A focus on “Rotation! Rotation! Rotation! Rotation!”, return of assets, and virtual elimination of cylinder loss.
  • Complete Solution with built-in robust processes and controls helps streamline and manage receipts, production, issues, delivery & distribution, cylinder tracking, billing, testing, and service.
  • Good Manufacturing Practices with built-in data validation and Information Governance so you can trust your data.

 

  • Solution built on latest Microsoft mobile, web, and database technology.
  • Cost reduction through process improvement, efficient automated data entry, and error elimination is achieved through use of hundreds of built-in data validations.
  • Data Export allows interface with existing accounting package.
  • More than 55 built-in reports to manage and analyze your business.

Key Features

TRAKAID CyTRACK uses agile, modular and scalable architecture that is integrated with RFID and mobile technology and was designed from the ground up with robust processes to utilize powerful technologies to the fullest.
The solution consists of multiple components – Cylinder Management System; RFID Interface System; Mobile Data Synchronization; Mobile Reader & Data Acquisition. Companies with existing gas cylinder management systems can interface very easily with TRAKAID’s Solution components allowing them to harness new technologies.

Comprehensive Real-Time Reporting

More than forty reports help run, analyze, and manage a business – Daily, Monthly, Annual, Historical, Comparative, Work Tickets, Billing, Servicing, Testing, and numerous other customized reports. Get access to accurate data that you can access timely and make informed business decisions. Empower every link in your logistics chain for better performance.

Protects Workers and Customers

RFID enabled processes detect cylinders due for testing or marked physically damaged at every step of the process. The process also stops the use of such cylinders which these can then easily be removed for testing and servicing.Service your customers better by always delivering the right product and never compromising the safety of the end users.

Accuracy and Cost Efficiency

Innovative use of RFID technology provides accurate data capture of cylinder movement during receipt, filling, issue, delivery, and pickup. Eliminates manual cylinder number reading, writing, and entering data into tracking system, and associated data entry errors. This automates operational data, simplifies data access, and delivers a huge cost reduction.

Increased Productivity

Transforms business processes resulting in increased productivity - on average 30% - from receiving to delivery.

Mobile Sensor and Custom Software

Collects and correlates data from RFID tags and mobile readers and integrates it into company databases.

Asset History

Track and Trace functionality allows users to view real-time and historical movement and analyze associated reports.

Customized RFID Tags

RFID tags are designed specifically for industrial gas cylinders.Curved to nicely fit the cylinders.

Enterprise-Class Architecture

Built with latest Microsoft .Net Technology with architecture that is robust, flexible, and modular.

Controlled Employee Access

Enables customized and controlled access to employees based on their position.

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