After decades of standstill, is there finally a breakthrough in Germany with regard to more safety for pressurised gas containers with propane/butane mixtures?
It seems that Germany is finally beginning to realise that more must be done to ensure the safety of users of pressurised gas containers with propane/butane mixtures. The number of injuries and deaths in the handling of these pressurised gas containers is constantly increasing and hardly a day goes by without a sad report in the media. We would like to explain to you today that this does not have to be the case. Motor caravan/caravan owners and tourists who travel around the world will be very familiar with one or the other.
In the highly developed industrialised countries of the world, about 80-100 countries, a so-called clip-on technology is used for pressurised gas containers. Unfortunately, the fact that this invention originated in Germany and here in the Ore Mountains has been forgotten here in Germany. It was the company founder Willy Rackow who invented the patent for the world’s first automatic self-closing clip-on valve and regulator system in 1934. (35 mm “Jumbo” system or also called the Rackow system). This was also used in Germany until the 1960s. After the 1960s, until today, so-called “handwheel valves” were predominantly used on the German market. Why this handwheel valve came into permanent use in Germany was and is of course, as always, due to money. A German company hardly has a chance on the market against cheap suppliers from the Far East. However, the fact that the introduction of handwheel valves has led to a steady increase in accidents over the years has been kept under wraps until now. The GAGT e.V. has set itself the task of ensuring that this does not continue to be the case and will attempt to change this with the help of consumers, even against the will of the gas industry. Whoever does not support this on the part of the gas industry, and here primarily the pressure vessel manufacturers, is complicit in the many deaths and injuries in Germany in the future. The consumer will not be indifferent to this. Of course, the legislator in the EU/Germany is now also called upon. It is precisely the EU that has approved the conditions for the manufacture and sale of clip-on valves in the European Economic Area for 20 years. There is no need for a new initiative by anyone in Germany not to return immediately to the most dominant and safest withdrawal valve in the world, that of the inventor Willy Rackow. The motto “the cheaper the better” at the expense of user and consumer safety must finally come to an end.
The last serious accident in Fulda this year, which was probably caused by a handwheel valve that was not closed properly, should actually be the last one. In this accident, the vehicle, a VOLVO V 70, was left as a total loss and the vehicle owner was seriously injured and taken by rescue helicopter to a clinic in Offenbach. In the opinion of GAGT e.V., this accident should never have happened. Things cannot and must not go on like this in Germany. Handwheel open-handwheel closed and the question of right-hand thread or left-hand thread on the W21.8 screw cap are perpetual sources of error with serious consequences for users. Based on this outdated valve, there is then no other country in the world that provides such high prices and complicated regulations (TRF-DVFG) for the end user. (Regulator prices up to € 75.00!!). The complicated technology “after” the valve (i.e. to make the valve “safer”) with hose rupture protection, overpressure indicator, complicated “instructions” for private consumers, “soap test”, use indoors and outdoors, camping-leisure, industrial-commercial, does not exist anywhere else in the world.
Protagonists are also constantly reminded to quote old DIN standards or parts of old DIN standards (4811) and to implement them in special regulations (TRF). These do not otherwise exist in Europe either, so that certain business models of equipment manufacturers remain protected. Cartel issues always come up in this context.
This explains why, with so many superfluous accessories, gas system tests according to DVGW G 607 should still be valid. Even the manufacturers of the technologies used do not trust them. Of course, this is only the case in Germany – in Europe such specifications do not exist at all and are not required of the owner when entering a campsite. The GAGT e.V. calls this behaviour simply rip-off!
The fact is: when clip-on valves are introduced in conjunction with the current EN standards, it will be much simpler, safer and significantly cheaper for the end user. Ultimately, however, what we have in Germany is “a cartel of those who refuse to accept technical progress and greater safety”.
Clip-on valves are already providing more safety for consumers throughout Europe. Large-scale gas distributors (abroad) have been using these “modern pressurised gas containers” with clip-on valves for years, making it easier for customers with different equipment (motor caravans/caravans/barbecues etc.) to use them, even if they have to buy more “portable pressurised gas containers” if they run out of gas on holiday. Wood and coal were yesterday, and such standardised pressurised gas containers do not produce waste either. Furthermore, the consumer has the possibility to get back a deposit once paid, at any place in the country, when returning the pressure container.
Here is a presentation of, for example, clip-on valves from ROTAREX/SRG as “links” to familiarise you with this technology.
PS. Constant dripping wears away the stone, so we would be pleased if, after many decades of standstill, things would finally start to move. You can be sure that technical progress cannot be stopped forever, not even in Germany.
By the way: the number of accidents in Europe with the use of clip-on valves by the consumer has decreased by approx. 2/3 in the last 20 years at the request of the GAGT e.V., e.g. in Spain/Portugal France etc. and this continues with an upward trend.
gez. Peter Ziegler CEO