Title:
Acetylene cylinder manifold assembly
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method for simultaneously filling or discharging a plurality of acetylene cylinders. One embodiment provides an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly comprising a manifold connected to a plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling or discharging the plurality of acetylene cylinders, the manifold having an acetylene gas inlet/discharge coupling connectable to an acetylene gas supply to deliver acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders.



Inventors:
Hord III, Dan W. (Bellville, TX, US)
Schumann, Brian H. (Bellville, TX, US)
Royer, Ted M. (Orange, TX, US)
Kaase, Kenneth W. (Houston, TX, US)
Chavez, Matias (Richmond, TX, US)
Robertson, Craig A. (Bellville, TX, US)
Application Number:
10/681629
Publication Date:
04/14/2005
Filing Date:
10/08/2003
Assignee:
Western International Gas & Cylinder Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03B1/00; F17C11/00; (IPC1-7): E03B1/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MAUST, TIMOTHY LEWIS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
B. TODD PATTERSON (MOSER, PATTERSON & SHERIDAN, L.L.P. Suite 1500 3040 Post Oak Blvd., Houston, TX, 77056, US)
Claims:
1. An acetylene cylinder assembly, comprising: a manifold connected to a plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling or discharging the plurality of acetylene cylinders, the manifold having an acetylene gas inlet/discharge coupling connectable to an acetylene gas supply to deliver acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

2. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

3. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of valves connected to the manifold, each valve being adapted for coupling with an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

4. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a cock valve adapted to couple the manifold with the acetylene gas inlet coupling.

5. The assembly of claim 1, further comprising a pressure regulator interposed between the manifold and the acetylene gas discharge coupling.

6. The assembly of claim 1, wherein each acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders contains a low vapor pressure solvent.

7. An acetylene cylinder filling assembly for simultaneously filling a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent, the filling assembly comprising: an acetylene gas inlet coupling adapted for coupling the filling assembly with an acetylene gas supply; a manifold connected to the acetylene gas inlet coupling for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply apparatus; and a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders for delivering the acetylene gas from the manifold to the associated acetylene cylinder.

8. The filling assembly of claim 7, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent has a vapor pressure of less than 5 mmHg at 25° C.

9. The filling assembly of claim 7, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent is one of dimethylformamide, n-dimethylsulfoxide, hexamethylphosphoramide, ethylpyrrolidone and n-methylpyrrolidone.

10. The filling assembly of claim 7, further comprising a cock valve adapted to couple the manifold with the acetylene gas inlet coupling.

11. The filling assembly of claim 7, further comprising a pressure regulator interposed between the manifold and an acetylene gas discharge coupling for simultaneously discharging the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

12. An acetylene cylinder assembly comprising: a frame housing a plurality of acetylene cylinders; and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly comprising a manifold connected to a plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling or discharging the plurality of acetylene cylinders, the manifold having an acetylene gas inlet/discharge coupling connectable to an acetylene gas supply to deliver acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

13. The cylinder assembly of claim 12, wherein each acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders contains a low vapor pressure solvent.

14. The cylinder assembly of claim 13, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent has a vapor pressure of less than about 5 mmHg at 25° C.

15. The cylinder assembly of claim 13, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent is one of dimethylformamide, n-dimethylsulfoxide, hexamethylphosphoramide, ethylpyrrolidone and n-methylpyrrolidone.

16. The cylinder assembly of claim 12, wherein the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly further comprises a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

17. The cylinder assembly of claim 12, wherein the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly further comprises a plurality of valves connected to the manifold, each valve being adapted for coupling with an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

18. The cylinder assembly of claim 12, wherein the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly further comprises a cock valve adapted to couple the manifold with the acetylene gas inlet coupling.

19. The cylinder assembly of claim 18, wherein the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly further comprises a pressure regulator interposed between the manifold and the acetylene gas discharge coupling.

20. The cylinder assembly of claim 12, wherein the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly further comprises an acetylene gas outlet coupling adapted to couple the manifold with a consumer apparatus.

21. An acetylene cylinder assembly comprising: a frame housing a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent; and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly comprising: an acetylene gas inlet coupling adapted for coupling the filling/dispensing assembly to an acetylene gas supply; a manifold connected to the acetylene gas inlet coupling for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply or at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders; a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders for delivering the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the associated acetylene cylinder; and an acetylene gas outlet coupling adapted to couple the filling/dispensing assembly with a consumer apparatus for delivering the acetylene gas from the at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders to the consumer apparatus.

22. The cylinder assembly of claim 21, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent has a vapor pressure of less than 5 mmHg at 25° C.

23. The cylinder assembly of claim 21, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent is one of dimethylformamide, n-dimethylsulfoxide, hexamethylphosphoramide, ethylpyrrolidone and n-methylpyrrolidone.

24. An acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing system comprising an acetylene gas container containing acetylene gas, the acetylene gas container being connected to an acetylene gas supply for supplying the acetylene gas to an acetylene cylinder assembly, the acetylene cylinder assembly comprising: a frame housing a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly, the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly comprising: an acetylene gas inlet coupling adapted for coupling the filling/dispensing assembly to the acetylene, gas supply; a manifold connected to the acetylene gas inlet coupling for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply or at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders; a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders for delivering the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the associated acetylene cylinder; and an acetylene gas outlet coupling adapted to couple the filling/dispensing assembly with a consumer apparatus for delivering the acetylene gas from the at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders to the consumer apparatus.

25. A method for simultaneously filling a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent, the method comprising: coupling an acetylene gas inlet coupling with an acetylene gas supply for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply; wherein the acetylene gas inlet coupling is in fluid communication with the plurality of acetylene cylinders arranged on a portable housing; and supplying the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

26. The method of claim 25, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent has a vapor pressure of less than 5 mmHg at 25° C.

27. The method of claim 25, wherein the low vapor pressure solvent is one of dimethylformamide, dimethylsulfoxide, hexamethylphosphoramide, ethylpyrrolidone and n-methylpyrrolidone.

28. The method of claim 25, further comprising decoupling the acetylene gas inlet coupling from the acetylene gas supply.

29. The method of claim 25, further comprising charging/receiving a fee for the filling.

30. The method of claim 25, further comprising: flowing the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply into the acetylene gas inlet coupling; flowing the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas inlet coupling into a manifold; flowing the acetylene gas from the manifold to a plurality of conduits, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders; and flowing the acetylene gas from the plurality of conduits to the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to acetylene cylinder assemblies and more particularly to an acetylene cylinder filling assembly for simultaneously filling and then discharging a plurality of acetylene cylinders.

2. Description of the Related Art

In general, acetylene gas is distributed in individual acetylene gas cylinders which are adapted to the particular characteristics of acetylene gas. Each individual gas cylinder is typically filled and transported to the site where it can be utilized. As a result, much effort is expended to handle a large volume of individual cylinders during the transport and filling process.

Typically, an acetylene gas cylinder contains a porous mass which is inserted into the cylinder during manufacturing. The porous mass fills the gas cylinder to prevent the acetylene gas from collecting in significant volumes inside the cylinder. If significant volumes of acetylene gas would begin to decompose, it could cause an explosive decomposition of the acetylene gas to take place leading to detonation of the gas cylinder. In order to avoid this detonation, the porous mass is used to fill the entire gas cylinder such that within the gas cylinder no large cavities exist which may be filled out by acetylene gas introduced into the gas cylinder. The risk of detonation may further be reduced by minimizing the size of the cavities within the porous mass and the size of spaces between the porous mass and the surrounding internal wall surfaces of the acetylene gas cylinder. However, in general the cavities and spaces in the gas cylinder and the porous mass provide approximately 90% void space for the acetylene gas.

In addition, after manufacture of an acetylene gas cylinder, a solvent is added to the cylinder which is absorbed in the porous mass. As acetylene gas is particularly soluble in acetone, acetone is typically added to the acetylene gas cylinder as the solvent. When acetylene gas is filled into the cylinder during a fill cycle, the acetylene gas goes into a solution with the acetone. Then, when the acetylene gas cylinder is discharged during a discharge cycle, the acetylene comes out of the solution and is dispensed in the vapor phase. However, because of acetone's relatively high vapor pressure (225 mmHg at 25° C.), a significant amount of acetone is actually dispensed out of the acetylene gas cylinder with the gaseous acetylene. Consequently, during each fill cycle the acetylene gas cylinder needs to be replenished with acetone to compensate for the acetone lost during a previous discharge cycle. This process is known as resolventing.

Moreover, a conventional acetylene gas cylinder only provides for a limited gas capacity which depends on construction parameters and cylinder dimensions. An increased gas capacity can be achieved by assembling a plurality of filled gas cylinders in a larger bulk application in order to join the gas volumes of the plurality of separate filled gas cylinders together. These separate gas cylinders can be connected to a manifold adapted to dispense acetylene from one or more of the gas cylinders to a corresponding consumer apparatus. Compared to separate acetylene gas cylinders, the plurality of gas cylinders contained in bulk applications need to be re-filled individually when all gas cylinders have been discharged.

A major drawback of re-filling acetylene gas cylinders in larger acetylene bulk applications is that the assembled acetylene gas cylinders need to be disassembled and re-filled separately. For each fill cycle, the acetylene gas cylinders are disassembled, separately resolvented, separately re-filled with acetylene and then re-assembled. This process is cumbersome and time consuming and increases the resolventing cost.

Therefore, there is a need for an effective acetylene cylinder filling and discharging assembly which permits filling of a plurality of acetylene gas cylinders simultaneously without the need for disassembling the gas cylinders and enables the transport and delivery of the acetylene gas in bulk.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention are generally directed to an apparatus and method for simultaneously filling/discharging a plurality of acetylene cylinders and more particularly to an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly.

One embodiment provides an acetylene cylinder filling and discharging assembly including a manifold connected to a plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling and/or discharging the plurality of acetylene cylinders, the manifold having an acetylene gas inlet/discharge coupling connectable to an acetylene gas supply, i.e., an acetylene generator or pipeline, to deliver acetylene gas from an acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders. The plurality of gas cylinders and the manifold assembly are mounted on a frame member. The frame member enables transportation of the entire assembly from a filling location to a use location.

Another embodiment provides an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly for simultaneously filling a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent and then dispensing the acetylene. The filling/dispensing assembly includes an acetylene gas inlet coupling adapted for coupling the filling assembly with an acetylene gas supply apparatus, a manifold connected to the acetylene gas inlet coupling for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply, and a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders for delivering the acetylene gas from the manifold to the associated acetylene cylinder.

Still another embodiment provides an acetylene cylinder assembly including a frame housing a plurality of acetylene cylinders, and an acetylene cylinder filling assembly including a manifold connected to a plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling or discharging the plurality of acetylene cylinders, the manifold having an acetylene gas inlet/discharge coupling connectable to an acetylene gas supply to deliver acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

Still another embodiment provides an acetylene cylinder assembly including a frame housing a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent; and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly. The acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly includes an acetylene gas inlet coupling adapted for coupling the filling/dispensing assembly to an acetylene gas supply, a manifold connected to the acetylene gas inlet coupling for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply or at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders, a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders for delivering the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the associated acetylene cylinder, and an acetylene gas outlet coupling adapted to couple the filling/dispensing assembly with a consumer apparatus for delivering the acetylene gas from the at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders to the consumer apparatus.

Still another embodiment provides an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing system including an acetylene gas container containing acetylene gas, the acetylene gas container being connected to an acetylene gas supply for supplying the acetylene gas to an acetylene cylinder assembly. The acetylene cylinder assembly includes a frame housing a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly. The acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly includes an acetylene gas inlet coupling adapted for coupling the filling/dispensing assembly to the acetylene gas supply apparatus, a manifold connected to the acetylene gas inlet coupling for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply apparatus or at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders, a plurality of conduits connected to the manifold, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders for delivering the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply apparatus to the associated acetylene cylinder, and an acetylene gas outlet coupling adapted to couple the filling/dispensing assembly with a consumer apparatus for delivering the acetylene gas from the at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders to the consumer apparatus.

Still another embodiment provides a method for simultaneously filling a plurality of acetylene cylinders containing a low vapor pressure solvent. The method includes: coupling an acetylene gas inlet coupling with an acetylene gas supply for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply, wherein the acetylene gas inlet coupling is in fluid communication with the plurality of acetylene cylinders arranged on a portable housing, and supplying the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present invention are attained can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to the embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings.

It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing an acetylene cylinder assembly in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2A is a cut-out of the acetylene cylinder assembly of FIG. 1 illustrating an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly.

FIG. 2B is a block diagram illustrating an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing system according to the invention.

FIG. 3 is a flow chart illustrating a method for simultaneously filling a plurality of acetylene cylinders.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention is generally directed to an apparatus and method for simultaneously filling a plurality of, acetylene cylinders and more particularly to an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing system. The acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing system includes an acetylene cylinder assembly having a plurality of acetylene cylinders. Accordingly, by assembling the plurality of acetylene cylinders in the acetylene cylinder assembly, a relatively increased acetylene gas capacity is provided by joining the gas volumes of the assembled gas cylinders together. This is beneficial for larger applications requiring larger gas volumes than provided with separate acetylene gas cylinders.

The plurality of acetylene cylinders are filled with acetylene gas from an acetylene gas container. In one embodiment, the acetylene gas container is connected to an acetylene gas supply adapted for supplying the acetylene gas to the acetylene cylinder assembly. The gas supply may include a pipeline or an acetylene generator, for example.

In one embodiment, the acetylene cylinder assembly includes, a frame housing a plurality of acetylene cylinders and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly. In one aspect, housing the plurality of acetylene cylinders and the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly in one frame permits the acetylene cylinder assembly to be hauled on standard cylinder trailers as one unit and to be loaded and moved by either a forklift or a lifting eye, for example.

The acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly is adapted for simultaneously filling the plurality of acetylene cylinders with, acetylene gas. Furthermore, the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly is adapted for dispensing acetylene gas from at least one of the plurality of cylinders, preferably all of the cylinders. To this end, the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly includes a manifold connected to the plurality of acetylene cylinders. The manifold is connectable to the acetylene gas supply in order to deliver acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply to the plurality of acetylene cylinders. By simultaneously delivering the acetylene gas to the plurality of acetylene cylinders, the cylinders may be filled simultaneously. Furthermore, the manifold is connectable to an acetylene gas outlet which is connectable to a consumer apparatus. Thus, acetylene gas from at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders may be dispensed to the consumer apparatus.

Although filling and dispensing gas simultaneously with respect to a plurality of cylinders is a significant advantage provided by an aspect of the invention, it is also contemplated that only a fraction of the available cylinders of an acetylene cylinder assembly can be used. That is, some cylinders may be malfunctioning or purposefully disconnected from the manifold (e.g., by de-coupling the cylinder or closing a valve). Thus, an operator may select which of the plurality of cylinders to use.

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of an acetylene cylinder assembly 100 having a plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150. Filling with/dispensing of acetylene gas is accomplished using the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150, which is described below with respect to FIG. 2.

The plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 is assembled in a frame 110. The frame 110 consists of a top part 112, a middle part forming a cage and a bottom part 114. In one embodiment, the top part 112 and/or the bottom part 114 are configured to facilitate transport of the acetylene cylinder assembly 100. For instance, the top part 112 may include means suitable for loading and moving the frame 110 using a lifting eye. The bottom part 114 may include openings 116, 118 suitable to receive a fork of a forklift. The middle part consists of a plurality of cross beams 132, 134, 136, 138 forming the cage for housing the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124. Furthermore, in order to stabilize the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 on the bottom part 114, support members 126 are provided which fix the upper parts of the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 in the frame 110. In the illustrated embodiment, the support members 126 are secured to the cross beam 132 of the middle part by threaded fasteners 128 which facilitate their rapid and easy removal, should one or more of the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 need to be removed from the frame 110. Additionally or alternatively, the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 may-be secured by other mechanisms such as clamps and the like.

Illustratively, the frame 110 also includes the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 which is, for instance, mounted to a cross beam 152. Alternatively, the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 or a portion thereof can be mounted outside of the frame 110. In one embodiment, the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 is mounted in a separate frame which is attached to frame 110. This simplifies maintenance and exchange operations on the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 and the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124. For instance, when the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 needs to be resolvented, frame 110 can simply be replaced with another frame containing a plurality of acetylene cylinders.

Referring now to FIGS. 2A and 2B, an embodiment of the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing system making use of the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 is shown. The acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 includes an acetylene gas inlet coupling 210 adapted for coupling the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 to an acetylene gas supply 280. Illustratively, the acetylene gas inlet coupling 210 is coupled with a conduit 286 which is coupled with the acetylene gas supply 280.

The acetylene gas supply 280 is connected to an acetylene gas container 282 containing acetylene gas for supplying the acetylene gas to the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150. In one embodiment, the acetylene gas supply 280 is a dispensing unit which is connected to the acetylene gas container 282 by a conduit 284. However, it should be noted that various other configurations are possible and contemplated. For instance, the acetylene gas supply 280 may be a container inlet coupling coupled with the acetylene gas container 282. The acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly 150 further includes a cock valve 220 adapted to couple the acetylene gas inlet coupling 210 with a manifold 230.

The manifold 230 is connected to the acetylene gas inlet coupling 210 for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply 280. The manifold 230 is further connected to a plurality of conduits, for example conduits 250, 260, each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders for delivering the acetylene gas from the manifold 230 to the associated acetylene cylinder.

In addition, the manifold 230 is connectable to an acetylene gas outlet 270 adapted to dispense acetylene gas from at least one of the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124. In one embodiment, the acetylene gas outlet 270 is configured to be connected to a gas inlet coupling 290 of a consumer apparatus 292. In another embodiment, the acetylene gas outlet 270 is coupled with a conduit 294 which is coupled with the gas inlet coupling 290. In still another embodiment, only a single acetylene gas inlet/discharge coupling is provided instead of a separate acetylene gas inlet coupling 210 and an acetylene gas outlet 270. Furthermore, a pressure regulator 240 can be interposed between the acetylene gas inlet coupling 210 and the cock valve 220 and/or the acetylene gas outlet 270 (not shown) and the manifold 230.

In one embodiment, each acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 contains a low vapor pressure solvent such as dimethylformamide, n-dimethylsulfoxide (NMP), hexamethylphosphoramide, ethylpyrrolidone or n-methylpyrrolidone. The low vapor pressure solvent preferably has a vapor pressure of less than 5 mmHg at 25° C. Because of the relatively low vapor pressure of this solvent, the acetylene gas cylinders lose only a small amount of solvent during each discharge cycle compared to gas cylinders using acetone as a solvent. As a result, resolventing during each fill cycle may be omitted. Experimentally, using dimethylformamide as a solvent, which has a vapor pressure of 3.7 mmHg at 25° C., resolventing is required approximately after every 50 discharge cycles. Accordingly, as resolventing during each fill cycle can be omitted, the plurality of acetylene cylinders of the acetylene cylinder assembly needs not to be disassembled at each fill cycle and can be filled (refilled) simultaneously. Thus, the fill cycles are shortened leading to relative cost savings for each fill cycle.

Referring now to FIG. 3, a method 300 for simultaneously filling a plurality of acetylene cylinders (e.g., acetylene cylinders 120, 122, 124 of FIG. 1) containing a low vapor pressure solvent is illustrated. To this end, the plurality of acetylene cylinders is arranged on a portable housing, such as a transportable frame 110 of FIG. 1, and in fluid communication with an acetylene gas inlet coupling (e.g., acetylene gas inlet coupling 210 of FIG. 2A).

The method 300 starts at step 310. At step 320 an acetylene gas vendor receives an acetylene cylinder assembly (e.g., acetylene cylinder assembly 100 of FIG. 1) having the portable housing, i.e., frame 110, and the acetylene gas inlet coupling. At step 330, an operator couples the acetylene gas inlet coupling with an acetylene gas supply apparatus (e.g., acetylene gas supply apparatus 280 of FIG. 2B) for receiving acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply.

At step 340 the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply is simultaneously supplied to the plurality of acetylene cylinders for simultaneously filling the plurality of acetylene cylinders. In one embodiment, simultaneously supplying the acetylene gas to the plurality of acetylene cylinders includes: (i) flowing the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas supply into the acetylene gas inlet coupling; (ii) flowing the acetylene gas from the acetylene gas inlet coupling into a manifold (e.g., manifold 230 of FIG. 2A); (iii) flowing the acetylene gas from the manifold to a plurality of conduits (e.g., conduits 250, 260 of FIG. 2A), each conduit being connected to an associated acetylene cylinder of the plurality of acetylene cylinders; and (iv) flowing the acetylene gas from the plurality of conduits to the plurality of acetylene cylinders.

At step 350, the operator decouples the acetylene gas inlet coupling from the acetylene gas supply. At step 360, the acetylene gas vendor charges a filling fee to the client for the filling of the plurality of acetylene cylinders and receives the fee. The method 300 then exits at step 370.

It should be noted that the preferred embodiments with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2 have only been described to illustrate a possible configuration of an acetylene cylinder assembly and an acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly according to the invention. However, a person skilled in the art will recognize that various modifications and changes may be made to the exemplary configurations. For example, the manifold can be connected to an acetylene gas outlet coupling adapted to be coupled with the acetylene gas outlet. Furthermore, a cock valve can be interposed between the manifold and the acetylene gas outlet coupling. Moreover, according to one aspect, two separate but interconnected manifolds can be provided, one for filling and one for dispensing, to improve safety. According to this aspect, an acetylene cylinder filling assembly and a acetylene cylinder dispensing assembly which are both configured like the acetylene cylinder filling/dispensing assembly described above with reference to FIG. 2 are provided. In providing both assemblies separately, an inadvertent dispensing of acetylene gas during filling may more easily be prevented. According to another aspect, safety may further be improved by providing a flash arrestor with the acetylene cylinder assemblies according to the invention.

While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope thereof is determined by the claims that follow.