Switch boxes and medical gas intakes

Within the hospital safety systems and the proper functioning of each health centre, switch boxes and medical gas inlets are two of the fundamental elements for the correct and gradual administration of medical gases.


The reason is twofold: first, to guarantee and ensure the correct supply in the event of a breakdown of one of the lines and for maintenance reasons. And then, so that there is always a line in operation when a part of the lines needs to be repaired or gas cylinders need to be replaced.

In this post, we are going to find out what they are and what their characteristics are.



Switch boxes

The switch box (sectioning / insolation) is one of the key and indispensable control elements in any medical installation, as saving lives in emergencies depends on its proper functioning.


What are isolation boxes?

Also known as shut-off valve boxes, switch box allow the grounding to control the flow of medical gases or vacuum supplied by piping networks designed to supply medical gases. In other words: with switch boxes we can manually (basic key system) interrupt the flow in cases of emergency, maintenance or other factors.

Thus, unlike other valves found in the hospital, this control element isolates sections or parts of the network for maintenance, extensions, service and emergency.


“With switch boxes we can manually (basic key system) interrupt the flow in cases of emergency, maintenance or other factors.”





What do they consist of?

Placed in transformer substations, these medium-sized boxes consist of a ‘ball’ valve connected to a copper pipe, with pressure or vacuum gauges depending on the specification, to effectively monitor line activity. 

The final design of these boxes identifies the gas inlet and the direction of flow. And they may include different types of valve boxes, either for several medical gases or one. 

Their location should be signposted and in an area that is freely accessible for maintenance and/or emergency use. Therefore, switch boxes should not be installed within the same room as the gas outlets it controls.




What are they for and what are their benefits?

As we can see, sectioning or cut-off boxes for medical gases make clinical areas independent, and thanks to their strategic location, they control the areas where they are installed. And as benefits, they allow us to:

  • Signalling pressure and vacuum faults.
  • Isolate the medical gas circuit connected to the hospital’s piping network in the event of repair, emergency or maintenance intervention.
  • The emergency connection of services to a back-up source in the event of a lack of supply from the main source.





Medical gas intakes

In the healthcare environment, medical gas outlets are critical elements, as are the electrical installations of the hospital infrastructure. This is because their operation cannot be interrupted under any circumstances. It is therefore a basic and necessary piece of hospital equipment. 


What are medical gas intakes?

Medical air/gas is supplied by means of compressed air, a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen, which offers quality and low maintenance. Thus, medical gas systems are installed in order to provide oxygen and other medical products for treatment, surgery and stabilisation of patients.

In this sense, medical gas intakes are the point of supply of medical gas to patients, enabling the operation of surgical instruments and the supply of ventilators and respirators during surgery and/or anaesthesia. In other words, they function as distribution networks with control points that allow the supply of gases to patients.

Within this medical gas supply, gases such as nitrogen, medical air or vacuum, anaesthetic gas or instrumentation air, among others, are mobilised.


“Medical gas intakes function as distribution networks with control points that allow the supply of gases to patients”




Objectives of medical gas intakes

The purpose of these systems is to provide a safe, optimal and cost-effective system for the adequate supply of gases throughout the hospital centre, promoting absolute safety and guaranteeing the continuity of the same to all parts of the healthcare space.




Features and benefits

  • All medical gas inlets, whether for oxygen, air or medical vacuum, must be supplied through a zone valve.
  • They are usually located on the walls closest to beds and furniture to be more accessible.
  • These medical gases should be supplied directly from the cylinder, including antibacterial filters to prevent the spread of bacteria, and always subject to safety standards.
  • In addition, all electrical installations must follow wiring, electromagnetic compatibility and electrical distribution regulations.
  • These medical gas outlets are used in operating theatres, emergency rooms, ICU, ICU, ICU, intensive care, basic hospitalisation…
  • Beyond the hundreds of designs that exist and the ranges of assembly, what is essential is that they are easy to connect, have a smooth connector and a constant fluidity in the passage of gas. 





Switch boxes control and monitor the flow of medical gases or vacuum supplied. This helps to make the gas supply for the operating theatre or other hospital wards independent from the rest of the hospital’s gas supply or installations. 

It is, therefore, a crucial element in hospital infrastructures together with the medical gas inlets, which are the ones that facilitate the correct supply of gases throughout the hospital centre.


If you need advice on improving electrical safety in your hospital or medical gas systems and other solutions for critical areas in hospitals, please contact us. 

Share This

Copy Link to Clipboard