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Friday, April 18, 2014

Safety First: Reactive Gas Monitoring Yields Safer Work Environments

Germany’s Drager, the gas detection and analysis system maker, whose U.S. bases are in Pittsburgh and Sugarland, Tex., has developed a portable gas monitor employing electrochemical sensors and operating in the diffusion mode specifically for the detection of hydrogen fluoride (HF), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and hydrazine (N2H4) reactive gases.

The X-am 5100 checks HF during the injection process for the extraction of crude oil, H2O2 during the bleaching process in pulp and paper production, monitoring sterilization units used in the medical field, and monitoring hydrazine used for propulsion, thus serving a variety of industries. The gas monitor is particularly suited to monitoring alkylation units in the petrochemical industry.

“The X-am 5100 is a portable, easy-to-use monitor that reliably detects the presence of reactive gases in a variety of workplaces,” says Ed Lig, product manager at Drager.

Compact sensor detects reactive gases with sub-ppm resolution.

Compact sensor detects reactive gases with sub-ppm resolution.

The design of the monitor prevents reactive gases from depositing in the housing through gas adsorption while ensuring direct gas entry to the sensor, fast sensor response times, and precise measurement. If the monitor’s alarms are activated, it warns the user with audible, visual, and vibration signals.

The X-am 5100 is protected against dust and water ingress and has an IP54 NEMA rating. It carries the Directive 94/9/EC rating for use in potentially explosive environments and, according to Drager, is resistant to high impact and vibrations. Electromagnetic compatibility has also been verified according to Directive 2004/108/EC. Navigation of gas monitor’s system menu consists of two buttons.

According to Drager, the key challenge in developing a monitor for multiple gases lies in the sensors — making sure the response is within the needed range and minimizing effects from other gases to make them as specific as possible to the target gas.

The X-am 5100 is used where gas is known to exist or has a possibility to be present due to an unexpected release. The sensor has to be within the area of gas presence, but does not necessarily need to be at the gas source. If a gas leak occurs, gas concentration will dilute within the ambient air as the gas migrates away from the source.

The sensor detects H2O2 in the 0 to 20 parts per million (ppm) range with a resolution of 0.1 ppm and a response time of 60 seconds. HCl and HF, meanwhile, can detected over the 0 to 30 ppm range, also with resolution of 0.1 ppm and a response time of 60 seconds.

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