Gas Regulators

Gas Regulators Explained

A gas regulator (also known as a pressure regulator) is a device for regulating a generally variable inlet pressure to an as constant as possible outlet pressure. (EN ISO 2503)

By name and definition, a Gas regulator is simply a kind of valve designed to regulate and stabilize system pressure downstream of its placement. The gas cylinder content is consumed stepwise during the operation and thus the pressure upstream of regulator varies from full cylinder pressure to values close to zero. The task of the pressure regulator is to cope with such variation and maintain outlet parameters as stable as possible.

Technical Detail on Regulator Principles

A gas regulator maintains downstream pressure by automatically modulating the level of the regulator encapsulated valve opening and gas stream throttling. By changing the area of opening as upstream pressures and downstream flow-rate vary, pressure drop through the encapsulated valve changes proportionally to maintain the downstream pressure at a relative constant level and relatively independent from remaining cylinder content and - to some extent – independent to gas amount consumed.

The Heart-valve opening or closing is driven and actuated by forces balance on the regulator diaphragm. Ideally all forces caused by inner pressure conditions and forces generated by spring compression become perfectly balanced, and the encapsulated valve seat allows just the requested quantity of gas to expand into the low pressure chamber, causing a steady, constant pressure gas stream.

In reality all conditions fluctuate and the heart-valve spindle can move constantly up or down to reflect the changing conditions and regulate the opening appropriately. For that reason the proper design of diaphragm, right choice of heart-valve geometry and high-grade materials are key in the regulator's functionality and reliability.

What should I look for in a Gas Regulator?

Different regulator designs and connections for different gases

The intended working gas selection affects not only connection style but also the inner design of the gas regulator and material compatibility of the product with the selected media.

Never use gas regulators with other gases than specified by product marking even if the inlet connection allows- such misuse can result in product damage and in potential health and safety hazards, and bodily harm.

Gas Pressures

It is important to consider the pressure range available on the cylinder side and mainly the pressure requested on the regulator's output. For standard cutting, welding or heating operations, a low pressure regulator can be used, in single stage or two stage capacity, but for certain applications, high pressure regulators are needed, please check our full range available online.

Gas Flow

Not only the gas pressure, but also the correct flow rate is equally important when selecting the correct gas regulator for the job. The capacity of gas cylinder should also be considered when choosing the correct gas bottle regulator. We provide a comprehensive range of welding regulators which covers the needs of most industrial/welding applications.

Pressure Stability

The pressure stability of the regulator is mostly affected by product size and design. A larger diameter of diaphragm dramatically improves stability. In many specific cases only a two stage regulator can provide ultimate stable pressure supply. The benefits of a two stage regulator certainly become evident when the gas bottle starts to empty below 15%, as the larger size diaphragm compensates for the lowering of the gas pressure.

What gases do I use for different welding applications, and what is the best Gas Regulator as a result?

For TIG welding Aluminium, Steel and Stainless, pure Argon gas is mainly used. The Argon regulator used would normally be a single stage type, along with an Argon flow meter for better visibility of flow rate. Some industrial gas manufacturers have recently launched Argon gases with a small percentage of Helium content, offering a better finish on the stainless steel weld, also improved penetration. For this application a helium Regulator would have to be used, and because of the Helium content, a left hand thread for connect.

For MIG welding applications on Mild & Stainless Steel, these usually require different percentages of CO2 in the Argon, for these welding processes, an argon/CO2 regulator (often called a MIG welder regulator) should be used.

Oxygen gets used for many applications- typically gas welding and metal cutting applications in combination with a fuel gas. For many years oxy acetylene has been the favourite combination of gases to be used for this, because it can generate the most intense heat. However, due to recent Health & Safety regulations, many companies are now transferring over to Propane as it is safer to use, and although this doesn't generate the same level heat, with new technology in Cutting and Welding torches, almost identical results can be achieved. For each of these gases, an oxygen regulator is required. When using Propane, a plugged regulator with no gauges is the popular choice, as the very nature of propane being a liquid can render inaccuracies in the gauge readings. However for Acetylene, a regulator with two gauges is usually used.

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