We at Gigglin' Marlin are proud to announce the completion of our new state of the art Trimix Blending Fill System. This project required many years of planning and preparation, hundreds of hours to complete. At a value of nearly $80,000.00 it is the result of input from top gas blending diving experts and is the finest blending station of its kind in our great state of Texas. Here is a brief look into the creation of the system and how it works.
There are basically three methods to blend gas for scuba. Partial Pressure Blending(Enriched Air Nitrtox-EANx), Continuous Gas Blending with a Nitrox Stick(also EANx), and Nitrogen Separating Membrane(De Nitrogenated Ait-DNAx)
How It Works
Before any work could be done, we looked at what we wanted to achieve and the best options for it. Before the new system, we were partial pressure blending Nitrox. This means we would put a specific amount of 100% O2 into a tank then filled it with air. The resulting mix would be the desired Nitrox percentage for the diver. While this method works very well, and allowed EANx fills up to 100% for deco bottles, it is not the quickest or most efficient way to fill Nitrox. We decided that installing a Nitrox blending stick would allow even more versatility by allowing us to fill premixed Nitrox from large gas storage banks. This not only allows divers to wait for their Nitrox fills, it becomes safer than injecting 100% oxygen through valves into cylinders.
By installing a Nitrox stick placed at the air intake on our compressor, air is sucked into the top of the stick 100% O2 is introduced. The Nitrox stick has a series of scaffolds inside that then forces the air and O2 to mix together creating blended Nitrox. An oxygen analyzer is located at the bottom of the stick to ensure the correct percentage is being made. This Nitrox is then run through the compressor where it is sent to our storage bottle system until it is needed. We have multiple storage banks for 32% and 36% ready for you when you need it.
The first step in this process was obtaining a Nitrox Stick while this sounds easy it is difficult to find a quality Nitrox stick that accurately blends the gases. Once we obtained the Nitrox stick we began running 100% oxygen gas rated piping to our compressor. Since the fill panel and compressor are not in the same room it was quite tricky in planning out the system.
Because this long run of PVC could over time potentially create a strain on our compressor we knew that it could not be used all the time when we were filling air storage and tanks. In order to remedy this we created an additional air PVC intake. Both Nitrox and air intakes run into a Y-valve that then goes to the compressor. Because air cannot be added at the Y-valve we had to install a gate valves that could block the air intake when we were filling Nitrox. Once this was all done it was just a matter of plumbing in our new Nitrox storage bottles and running them to our fill panel.
The piece that makes our new system truly awesome in our new 100% Oxygen clean Haskel pump. The Haskel is able to suck air out of bottles so that no helium or oxygen is ever wasted. By plumbing our Nitrox and Helium lines through the Haskel we ensure that all the gas we have could be used.
The filling process has been simplified by the fact that each storage bottle holds a different percentage of O2 so that we can fill Nitrox tanks directly. To fill Trimix we began by filling with Helium first and then add the determined amount of Oxygen and Air to the mix. With the addition of our new Analytical Industrial Inc. Trimix analyzer we can guarantee accurate percentages in all our Nitrox and Trimix fills.
Come by the shop and check out our new system. While you are here why not sign up for Nitrox or Trimix Specialties, or become a gas blender so that you can enjoy this new system and all the benefits it offers. Your first Nitrox fill is free with the purchase of a Nitrox Specialty! We look forward to seeing you in the water soon!