While medical and industrial oxygen sound the same and contain oxygen, there are stark differences between the two – specifically how they are made, transported, and used.
Medical oxygen, also called supplemental oxygen, is used for medical treatment of patients who need oxygen supply in their body. Industrial oxygen is used in industrial settings, specifically in manufacturing processes like welding and steel making.
Medical oxygen is oxygen in highly pure or concentrated form. Its level of safety is strictly regulated and maintained by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help sick patients maintain good blood oxygen levels.
There are two basic ways to create medical grade oxygen: Through PSA (pressure swing adsorption) and cryogenic distillation. PSA plants and cryogenic plants both have their specific government-regulated processes and equipment to create medical oxygen that hospitals use for their patients. In both processes, nitrogen is separated from oxygen.
The cryogenic distillation method is done by freezing air, causing nitrogen and oxygen to come apart. When this happens, liquid oxygen is formed, transported, and stored in large tankers near medical facilities. This liquid oxygen is converted back to gas and conveyed through the pipes directly to the patient’s bedside when needed for medical use.
The PSA method, on the other hand, is the process of using pressure to separate some gas types from a gas mixture, in this case, the oxygen. PSA plants use either pipe systems or cylinders to store and transport medical oxygen.
Some hospitals, especially in less developed countries that do not have advanced pipe systems, storage and transportation of liquid oxygen is done through gas cylinders.
Industrial oxygen, unlike medical oxygen, is not safe for inhalation. It is created to support industrial functions like metal manufacturing, welding, flame cleaning, cutting, fuel creation, and more. Unlike medical oxygen, industrial oxygen is not as strictly regulated by the FDA and may contain some degree of contamination when produced and stored in tanks.
Like medical oxygen, industrial oxygen is also generated through the cryogenic method and PSA method. It is also produced through the VPSA process or vacuum pressure swing adsorption. This process uses the same technique as PSA but utilizes vacuum pressure. Compared to the other methods, it has a reduced carbon footprint and provides greater energy savings.
Industrial oxygen is stored and distributed through cylinder tanks, industrial gas pipelines, and bulk storage systems.
Forge Forward With nexAir KnowHow
Whether medical or industrial grade, nexAir provides a reliable supply of oxygen in cylinder tanks and bulk storage systems to our customers. We understand that a dependable, high quality oxygen supply is imperative to save lives in hospitals or to sustain production and minimize downtimes in industrial plants.
Aside from this, we also provide industry applied expertise in the use of medical and industrial oxygen to optimize their applications so you can save on costs and maximize their value.
You can rest assured that you get only the finest quality of products from nexAir, along with excellent delivery, technical, and customer services.
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