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A call for safety regulations.

Next to environmental issues, safety could very well be the hottest topic in American industry today. And that's as it should be. Our workers and their well being are key to the competitive position of the US, especially as markets go global. Each of us has to take responsibility for safety, from the individual worker complying with regulations at his workstation to manufacturers making sure their products are designed and produced to the people who use them. That's why we at Associated Spring/Raymond are encouraging the establishment of US safety regulations for one of the products we sell-nitrogen gas springs.

Nitrogen gas springs are nitrogen-charged compression springs which provide the high force necessary to operate many metal stamping dies, especially those used for deep draw applications. They are similar to typical air cylinders, but are sin and use nitrogen as the pressure media.

The US government provides guidelines for the design and manufacture of most types of high pressure vessels used in industrial applications. Those standards are necessary due to the potential risks involved in field failures. Such standards and criteria minimize the risk and danger to individuals working with high pressure vessels. However, a serious oversight exists in the regulation of nitrogen gas springs. Unlike most other high pressure vessels, there are no standards for design, materials specification, and manufacturing procedures in the US. Such standards do exist in other industrialized nations such as France, Germany, Japan, and Sweden. Field failures with nitrogen gas pressure levels of 2175 psi (and the missile-like effect such pressure could create) present a potential hazard to the work environment.

Associated Spring advocates the establishment of US safety regulations for nitrogen gas springs to reduce the potential for this danger. Currently, there are no statistics on injuries resulting from gas spring failures because no safety organization has yet tracked such incidents specifically. Yet, we think it's important to be out in front on this issue before injuries occur. Why wait until there's an injury if we can act responsibly now to prevent one?

This is certainly not to say that nitrogen gas springs are inherently unsafe. Gas springs are valuable components that provide enormous efficiencies in the die stamping process. It's clear that American industry needs nitrogen gas springs just as it needs other high pressure vessels.

The issue is one of making sure that the nitrogen gas springs which find their way onto the shop floor are made to exacting specifications to provide a high degree of assurance that their use will not harm the people or property nearby.

The governments of other countries have already realized this. Can the US-an industrial giant-afford to be behind on such an important safety issue? Our company is meeting now with various organizations and regulating bodies to advocate safety standards. We urge other manufacturers and those within the tool and die industry to join us in support of this effort.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:for nitrogen gas springs
Author:Nordby, William
Publication:Tooling & Production
Article Type:column
Date:Jun 1, 1991
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