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Industrial and Fixed Gas Detectors: Types and Uses

industrial gas detector

Industrial gas detectors are crucial in many industries, such as mining, refining, petroleum extraction, hospitality, brewing and manufacturing. These devices ensure the safety of employees when working around hazardous gases. But selecting the right type of detector to meet your specific needs can seem intimidating.

When it comes to gas leaks in industry, they are far from uncommon. For those working around compressed gases, asphyxiation and explosions can be a constant risk that is faced each day.

That's why CO2Meter has put together this overview of different types of industrial gas detectors, their operating principles, and their unique strengths and weaknesses. 

With industrial gas detectors, employees can have peace of mind and make smart decisions to ensure they are protected and that productivity is continually maintained.

What is a Industrial Gas Detector?

An industrial gas detector has several components such as a sensor, industrial enclosure, display screen, and audible/visual indicators. Industrial gas detectors are commonly used in facilities where fixed gas detection devices are required to ensure employee safety and also meet code compliance. An industrial gas detector is also installed on-location and can also be connected to a control panel or ventilation system.

Because industrial gas detectors are most often regulated as required by code, they can easily help facilities meet inspection criteria while protecting workers. These industrial fixed gas detectors are used most commonly to ensure gas safety in industries such as food production, food packaging, canning and bottling of beverages, pharmaceutical, indoor agriculture, cold storage, manufacturing, safety and industrial process.

How does an Industrial Gas Detector work? 

The primary function of an industrial gas detector is to continuously or periodically sample the air in a specific area and alert users if the concentration of a particular gas exceeds a normal threshold. Industrial gas detectors can be configured to monitor various types of gases.

The most common include:

  1. Toxic Gases: Examples include carbon dioxide (CO2) hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbon monoxide (CO), ammonia (NH3), chlorine (Cl2), and others.

  2. Flammable Gases: Gases that can ignite and pose a fire hazard, such as methane (CH4), propane (C3H8), and hydrogen (H2).

  3. Oxygen Depletion/Enrichment: Monitoring the gas levels of oxygen (O2) in the air is also crucial. Too little oxygen can be harmful, while too much can increase the risk of fire.

Types of Industrial Fixed Gas Detectors

Depending on the manufacturer, industrial gas detection systems also come in different types depending upon the gas sensing technology that is used. These sensing technologies are what enable the gas detectors to accurately detect the presence of gases and accurately notify personnel of higher than normal thresholds.

  • Pellistor/Catalytic Bead (CB): Uses catalytic combustion to measure combustible gases at lower explosive levels (LEL) concentrations. This type of century has been used for decades and responds to a full range of flammable gases. Detectors that use this technology typically monitor hydrocarbon gas, hydrogen, or acetylene where there may be extreme fluctuations in temperature or humidity.
  • Infrared Sensors (NDIR): Measures the absorption of infrared light by the gas to identify its presence. These industrial gas detectors work best for detecting gases like carbon dioxide, hydrocarbon gases, and low-oxygen environments. This sensing technology is often referred to as one of the most accurate and commonly used.
  • Electrochemical Sensors (EC): These sensors utilize a chemical reaction to generate an electrical current proportional to the gas concentration. These sensors work best for detecting hazardous gases in the ppm range or in confined spaces that may experience oxygen enrichment or deficiency.

Do You Need a Industrial Fixed Gas Detector?

An industrial fixed gas detector is a device used in factories, labs or any industrial setting to continuously monitor and detect hazardous gases. If a hazardous gas or low oxygen level is senses, they alert personnel by audible and visual alarms. These industrial gas detectors typically detect a single gas, such as carbon dioxide, or can also measure oxygen deficient environments. 

Industrial gas detection systems serve several important purposes essential to industry:

  1. Safety of Personnel: The primary purpose of industrial fixed gas detectors is to ensure the safety of workers. Many gases that are present in industrial environments can be harmful, toxic, or pose a risk of asphyxiation. By continuously monitoring the air for the presence of such gases, these detectors can provide early indication and allow personnel to evacuate or take appropriate measures to protect themselves.

  2. Prevention of Accidents: Industrial processes often involve the use, production, or storage of gases that can be flammable or explosive. Fixed gas detectors help prevent accidents by monitoring the levels of flammable gases and triggering alarms or automatic shutdown systems if concentrations exceed safe limits. This proactive approach can significantly reduce the risk of fires and explosions.

  3. Compliance with Regulations: Many industries are subject to regulations and safety standards that require the monitoring of specific gases. Industrial gas detectors help businesses comply with these regulations and demonstrate a commitment to workplace safety. Non-compliance can result in legal consequences and jeopardize the well-being of employees.

  4. Early Detection of Gas Leaks: Fixed gas detectors are continuously operational and can detect gas leaks promptly. This early detection is crucial for preventing the buildup of dangerous gas concentrations, minimizing the potential for explosions, fires, or other hazardous situations.

  5. Protection of Equipment: Some gases can be corrosive and damaging to equipment. Detecting the presence of these gases early on allows for preventive maintenance and protection of industrial equipment, reducing the likelihood of equipment failure and associated downtime.

  6. 24/7 Monitoring: Fixed gas detectors operate around the clock, providing continuous and accurate monitoring even when personnel are not present. This ensures a constant level of vigilance and allows for the detection of gas hazards at any time, including during non-working hours.

  7. Process Optimization: In addition to safety considerations, fixed gas detectors can contribute to process optimization by providing real-time data on gas concentrations. This information can be used to adjust processes, improve efficiency, and minimize waste.

Pros and Cons of using an Industrial Gas Detector:

 Pros:

  • Assure the safety for personnel by providing early detection
  • Easily prevent accidents by triggering alarms or shutdown systems when gases exceed safety limits
  • Instantaneous audible/visual indication should hazardous levels be present
  • Comply with safety regulations and standards, avoiding legal consequences and ensure a safer work environment
  • Real-time data can be used for process optimization, improved efficiency, and minimized waste.

Cons:

  • Routine calibration and testing is required for accurate performance
  • Some gas detectors only last 10 years dependent upon the gas sensor
  • No ability to monitor every hazardous gas in one platform

 

 

What Industries use Industrial Gas Detectors?

Industrial fixed gas detectors are employed in a wide range of industries where the presence of hazardous gases poses a potential threat to workers, processes, and equipment. Some of the industries that commonly use industrial fixed gas detectors include:

Oil and Gas:

  • Exploration and production facilities
  • Refineries
  • Petrochemical plants

Chemical Manufacturing:

  • Chemical processing plants
  • Specialty chemical manufacturig
Manufacturing:
    • Automotive manufacturing
    • Aerospace manufacturing
    • Electronics manufacturing
    Utilities:
      • Power generation plants (coal, natural gas, nuclear)
      • Water and wastewater treatment facilities

        Mining:

        • Coal mines
        • Metal mines
        • Quarrying operations
        Pharmaceuticals:
        • Pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities
        Food and Beverage:
        • Food processing plants
        • Breweries
        • Distilleries

        Laboratories:

        • Research laboratories
        • Analytical laboratories

        Warehousing and Storage:

        • Facilities storing gases or chemicals
        • Cold storage facilities for food
        Healthcare:
        • Hospitals and medical facilities with gas storage or production

        These industries all use fixed gas detectors as a crucial component of their safety protocols to protect personnel, assets, and the environment. The specific types of gases monitored depend on the industry and the processes involved. Common gases include flammable gases, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and other gases relevant to the specific industrial activities. 

        CO2 or Oxygen Industrial Gas Detectors

        When it comes to industrial gas detectors, many come in series that offer multi-gas options dependent upon your application or industry. These devices further ensure protection for those individuals working near hazardous gases like CO2, nitrogen, argon, helium, and others. 

        Many customers stand by these solutions due to their ability to integrate into harsh environments and their ability to maintain compliance with current carbon dioxide and oxygen safety standards.

        Most devices come hard wired in order to integrate into the facilities electrical system for permanent power, providing a display screen to show gas levels in real-time. Additionally an industrial gas detector should offer audible and visual alarms if one of the gas levels is dangerous, it will indicate to personnel that a potential hazard has occurred mitigating employee injury and saving facilities time and money.

        While many customers find both industrial gas detectors critical across applications, they work differently based on the gas concentration one is looking to target. These devices are commonly found beneficial in areas such as food production and packaging, beverage systems, breweries, cold storage, pharmaceutical, indoor agriculture, gas distribution and chemical manufacturing.

        Your Industrial Gas Detection Solution Specialists

        Overall, industrial fixed gas detectors are instrumental in creating a safe work environment, preventing accidents, and ensuring compliance with current safety code regulations. The benefits extend to both the well-being of personnel and the protection of assets and equipment in various industrial settings.

        For more information on gas detection and to better assist you in choosing the right gas detector, one of our gas detection experts would be happy to walk through some common questions to better select the right device that fits your individual needs and environmental requirements. Contact us online, email an expert at Sales@CO2Meter.com or call (877) 678 - 4259.


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