People who work with anhydrous ammonia (NH3) may know the hazards of its use, and they may know the precautions to use when handling it. But do they understand the life threatening danger in using an improperly coupled hose? As a chemical that changes from a liquid to a gas when released to the atmosphere, NH3 is an extremely dangerous product that can result in severe burns and even fatality.
Anhydrous ammonia is an efficient and widely used source of nitrogen fertilizer, due to ease of application and availability, as well as cost-effectiveness. There are potential dangers involved in its handling that require special care in use. NH3 is a gas under ambient conditions, but liquid when refrigerated and pressurized. It is applied by injecting the liquid into the subsoil, where it reverts to a gaseous state and combines with the soil’s moisture to provide the essential nitrogen nutrient. To ensure the safety of those working with NH3, it is important to be educated about the procedures and personal protective equipment required to safely handle this product – including the hoses used to transport it. Contact with Anhydrous Ammonia will burn skin, and is especially damaging to the eyes and lungs. This is true in either its liquid or gas/vapor state.
Many accidents involving NH3 have occurred by using the wrong hose – hose that was not compounded to handle the product and not constructed to handle the pressure. Many accidents have also occurred by using an improper fitting or a fitting not installed properly. In either case, these hoses would fail quickly and many times cause sever injury. Historically the preferred method for coupling NH3 hose has been a permanent crimped on fitting. This is the safest method and requires the least amount of maintenance. However, re-usable fittings have also been used on NH3 hose assemblies. The clamp bolt holding these fittings onto the hose require retightening on a regular basis and without it re-usable fittings are inherently unsafe.
To address this critical safety concern, Apache has partnered with Parker to introduce a program where only pre-coupled NH3 hoses are sold. All assemblies are fabricated using approved, safe, and reliable Parker hose as well as authorized crimped on fittings. All hose are coupled using approved, permanently crimped fittings and attached using manufacturer certified coupling procedures.
This coupling process is reviewed regularly and our hose coupling fabricators are trained, audited, and certified by Parker annually in this process. We want to ensure that all NH3 assemblies shipped to Apache customers are of the highest quality, and provide the greatest level of safety and reliability in this demanding service. As a leader in offering innovative performance products to the agricultural industry, Apache is raising the bar by introducing products designed to improve performance and more importantly safety.