Key benefits of a fixed gas detection system

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Gas detection specialist Rockall Safety explores five key benefits of a fixed gas detection system and outlines key steps to help identify the most appropriate detection solution.

In certain industrial situations, fixed gas detection solutions may offer advantages over portable alternatives. Here are five key benefits.

Continuous protection: Fixed gas detectors continuously monitor the surrounding environment to detect specific gases promptly. They utilise various sensing technologies such as electrochemical, infrared, catalytic, or photoionisation detectors.

Cost-effectiveness: The initial investment in installing fixed gas detectors may seem significant, especially for large facilities or complex environments, but the long-term benefits outweigh the costs. Fixed systems provide continuous monitoring, require minimal maintenance, offer scalability and flexibility, ensure regulatory compliance, and enhance safety and productivity in the workplace.

Customisable: Fixed gas detectors offer tailored solutions by providing customisable detection capabilities, flexible sensor technologies, integration with existing systems, environmental adaptability, and application-specific configurations. Fixed detectors enhance safety and mitigate risks by offering flexibility, reliability, and confidence in gas detection.

Seamless communication: Fixed gas detectors are designed to integrate with existing management and safety systems, such as building management systems (BMS), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, emergency shutdown systems (ESD), and fire alarm systems. Gas detectors can exchange data and trigger coordinated responses with other safety devices and control systems in real time through standardised communication protocols, such as Modbus, BACnet, or OPC.

Environmental compliance: Fixed gas detectors facilitate compliance with regulatory reporting requirements by providing accurate and reliable data on gas emissions and exposure levels. Many regulatory agencies require organisations to monitor and report emissions of specific gases, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), or carbon monoxide (CO). Most fixed detectors generate comprehensive records of gas detection events, alarms, and trends, which can be used to demonstrate compliance during regulatory audits or inspections.

Other considerations

Each fixed gas detection system is unique, requiring a site survey by a qualified installation engineer. It is strongly advised to consider the following factors during the survey:

Location: Assessing the monitoring location, including airflow patterns, is imperative. For fixed-point detection sensors, effective detection relies on gas passage across the sensor. Hence, if there’s a consistent airflow direction, positioning the gas detector downwind of the suspected leak source is essential.

Alarm functionality: Determining the purpose of the fixed gas detection system is pivotal. In scenarios involving explosive gases or oxygen depletion, the system aims to alert of a gas leak, often through audible or visual alarms signalling a ‘safe – not safe’ status, regulated by the controller’s relay output.

Selection

There is a wide range of fixed gas detection equipment, and while many may appear similar at first glance, upon closer inspection, each device boasts distinct functionalities and features, providing unique advantages. It’s crucial to identify your specific requirements before deciding on the most suitable gas detector.

The first step when searching for a fixed gas detection solution involves clarifying the objective such as the health and wellbeing of site personnel, legal compliance or insurers’ requirements. Once the objective is defined, you should have a clearer understanding of what equipment is required.

The next step is to identify the gases requiring detection and their potential hazards. A well-suited gas detection solution will effectively identify specific gases and prompt warnings before they reach hazardous concentration levels.

Once this information is confirmed, the following steps should be taken.

To determine suitable sensor types, recognise the types of risks present (flammable, toxic, and/or asphyxiant gases).

Define the critical concentration levels that could pose a danger to establish alarm thresholds, sensor placement for fixed gas detection systems, etc.

Identify potential sources of gas leaks to determine the quantity and placement of sensors needed for a fixed gas detection system. If leak sources are unknown, utilising portable gas detectors is advisable.

 

www.rockallsafety.co.uk

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