Acquiring Oxygen Globally
Many of our users find it challenging to fill their oxygen tanks for the first time. The following information will break down all the steps and supplies needed to make this process simpler. We will cover medical vs. industrial oxygen, new prefilled tanks, and regulator options for tanks outside of the United States.
Oxygen tanks are typically sold for two purposes: medical or industrial applications. Because of this, there are separate tank valves depending on which application is being used, and different regulators which govern the flowrate of the oxygen coming from the tank.
Medical vs. Industrial
The most commonly used source of oxygen with ozone therapy is industrial oxygen. These industrial oxygen tanks are typically purchased and filled locally, from large vendors like Airgas and Praxxair. There are a lot of smaller operations that can provide these services as well depending on your location.
For customers who want to go the industrial oxygen route, we suggest purchasing the pediatric regulator from us (CGA-540 for North America) and then purchasing the tank locally. We do sell oxygen tanks, but sometimes we run into an occasional oxygen filling company that is reluctant to fill tanks that they don’t sell. Luckily some of the bigger chain operations like Airgas and Praxxair usually don’t have any issues filling our temp-coated CGA-540 oxygen tanks, but we always recommend calling ahead to double check. A lot of these companies refuse to sell to customers who indicate that it will be used for ozone therapy or other therapy-related reasons, so it’s best not to mention that.
Generally speaking, there’s no difference in the quality of oxygen between medical and industrial tanks. Many times, the company filling medical tanks also fills industrial tanks, often from the same source of liquid oxygen. The main difference is the chain of custody, which is a standard practice in the medical industry for all prescription medicines. With industrial oxygen there’s no chain of custody, no documentation, no certification, so you just need to pay, get your tank, and go. With medical oxygen you need a prescription and the source and quality of the oxygen will be documented.
Ensuring you have the right regulator
Medical tanks are given the CGA-870 designation which is generally recognized universally, however some countries actually use the 540 for medical as well. Double check if you aren’t sure. Larger medical tanks also use 540 valves, so even though you might have an 870 regulator (which is standard on most medical oxygen tanks), it won’t work on the larger medical oxygen tanks. This can include medical tanks that are 1700 liters and above. Medical tanks 680 liters or smaller will use 870 regulators.
Since there is little to no difference in the quality of oxygen between medical and industrial tanks, both are more than sufficient to use for ozone therapy. For people who have existing respiratory issues and already have a prescription for oxygen, getting a medical oxygen tank shouldn’t be a problem. Medical oxygen is also accessible for existing healthcare practitioners. For the rest of us who can’t obtain medical oxygen it will be easier to source an industrial tank. The vast majority of home users of ozone therapy utilize industrial oxygen as their source of oxygen feed-gas.
New oxygen option with O2Ready pre-filled and shippable tanks
If medical oxygen is not a possibility and you’re concerned about the quality of oxygen from industrial tanks, you’re not alone. Luckily there is a new oxygen system option where we can deliver tanks to your doorstep without a prescription. These new tanks are pre-filled with 99.9% pure oxygen. The idea for these tanks came after talking to family members interested in ozone therapy. They wanted to try, but none of the existing options for obtaining oxygen would work for them.
Until now, the traditional options available for acquiring oxygen for ozone therapy were unfilled medical or industrial oxygen tanks as discussed above. Each O2Ready tank comes with a certificate of analysis guaranteeing the purity. If you are looking for the ultimate in purity and ease of use, this is the way to go.
These tanks are a little different from medical and industrial tanks. They require a different regulator which is easy to install and comes with the standard low flow rates needed for ozone. Simply screw on the regulator, turn the dial, and you’re ready to go. For more information on these tanks please go here.
More options for international users
Since most of our business is in the United States, we mainly sell the 540 type of regulators, but for our customers overseas I wanted to focus on industrial oxygen tanks found in other countries. Since CGA-540 is the same for all industrial tanks in North America, it’s safe to say that you aren’t going to have an issue getting the regulator to screw onto the tank.
However, for the rest of the world you will find there are many different types of oxygen tank and regulator combinations. Because of this it’s best to know what you need to order beforehand, rather than realizing later that you would need a special regulator. We will go over the most common international oxygen regulator and tank valve combinations now.
Just as we recommend purchasing industrial oxygen tanks locally for North American customers, we also recommend purchasing the oxygen tank locally for international customers. Some countries measure oxygen a little differently as well, so having a general idea about size in respect to the amount in a tank will help too. Normally the tanks we are using are not very big, and in general most of them will go up to the mid-calf or maybe a little higher than your knee. This should normally last several months depending on usage.
You can find places to sell and refill industrial oxygen tanks by searching for “welding oxygen supplier” in your general area to see the locations closest to you. Below you can see some of the tanks available throughout the world and what regulators work best with them.
BSP 5/8” (BS 341 #3) – “Bullnose”
First off is the BSP 5/8” (BS 341 #3), also known colloquially as the bullnose. BSP stands for British Standard Piping and, similarly to a CGA-540 in the US, the bullnose is a standardized connection for industrial oxygen tanks in the UK. These bullnose tanks and regulators are standardized not just in the UK but in many locations around the world. These are generally located in areas of British influence or previous colonies of the British Empire. Below is a list of countries that use the BSP 5/8” bullnose valve. You can find more information here.
DIN translates to the German Institute for Standardization and is similar to the CGA and BSP standards I have mentioned. The 3 digit number (477) indicates it is the standard for valves on various types of compressed gas tanks, and the #9 indicates it’s for oxygen. There are a few other countries outside of Germany that use these DIN-477 #9 valves too, and we’ve included a list below. See the regulator here.
SMS-690, UNI 4406, DIN-477 #6
This type of connection is the same for SMS-690, UNI 4406, and DIN-477 #6. Even though they have completely different names and designations, the dimensions are the same. SMS-690 and UNI 4406 differ by 0.1mm, but the regulator we offer for those tanks will work on either style. These regulators also work on DIN-477 #6 tank valves. SMS-690 is common in Nordic countries, while UNI-4406 is the standard for industrial oxygen in Italy, a few other Southern European countries, and several countries in South America and Africa. See the list below. Find the regulator here.
South American countries
Middle Eastern/African countries
NFE 29-656 / AFNOR
This regulator and tank valve fitting is the NFE 29-656, also known as the AFNOR. AFNOR is an acronym for the French national organization for standards. These regulator and tank valves are very common in France and Spain as well as many other countries as shown below. For more about this regulator, click here.
Middle Eastern/African Countries
This is the same CGA-540 tank and regulator that is used in North America for industrial oxygen, but it’s also used around the world. CGA stands for Compressed Gas Association and is the North American standardization for various types of compressed gas. 540 is the code for industrial oxygen and the regulator can only fit on a corresponding 540 tank valve. Below is a list of countries which use CGA-540 valve for industrial oxygen. For more information, click here.
North and South America
There are a few other international valve styles, but the ones we listed above are the main ones we encounter in the industry. This list is no guarantee that your specific country uses that style tank, so I highly recommend double checking the tank valve you will have on the oxygen tank in your country. If you aren’t sure what you need, feel free to send us a picture of the oxygen tank and the dimensions of the valve you have and we will try to see what type of regulator you need.
Sourcing the correct equipment to provide oxygen to your ozone equipment can sometimes be the hardest part of the process. To add to the confusion there are many different valve types, so buying a tank or regulator from another country might be a cheaper option but it might not work correctly when you are trying to put it all together. Plus, if you source an oxygen tank from a different country you might not be able to get it filled in your country. That’s why it’s important to know what you need in order to get started. Hopefully after reading this you will understand more about the process and what would be best for you depending on your location.
Credits: Special Thanks to Promolife and Whit Sheppard