From canaries to ultra-connectivity

From canaries to ultra-connectivity

In the beginning, there was the canary: these little finches would warn miners of dangerous gases underground. If the birds stopped singing, the miners had to return to the surface quickly. Such crude and inaccurate methods of determining atmospheric gas concentrations are long gone. We chat with Sagaran Chetty, marketing manager of gas detection at Dräger South Africa, about what to consider before you buy modern gas detection devices.

Across diverse industries, gas detection devices are used in many different ways. Scenarios range from use by individual employees or small groups of workers all the way up to large-scale operations, like the industrial shutdown of an entire petrochemical plant.

Instruments measuring various hazardous substances have to be reliable under changeable conditions. This can also place great demands on durability and flexibility – in the end, it is the detection equipment that is directly responsible for the safety and health of employees during their operations.

What should companies consider before they purchase gas detection equipment?

Not every device is suitable for every working environment, so before using equipment be sure to check that the specifications are adequate.

As safety technology products, gas-detection instruments for industrial use must not only comply with statutory requirements (explosion protection and electromagnetic compatibility, for example), but also fulfil additional requirements that ensure the product’s quality and reliability for gas detection – even under harsh conditions.

Another consideration should be the total cost of ownership – in this case, the cost of downtime, calibrations, and maintenance of the equipment for the entirety of its lifespan.

What should companies keep in mind/do after they’ve made the purchase?

All types of gas detectors will require periodic bump tests or calibrations at regular intervals. Between the checks, the performance of the equipment may be affected by potential deviations from the norm. These interval periods should therefore be chosen appropriately, following guidelines from the original equipment manufacturers, as well as local authorities and regulations.

How does Dräger help clients with purchasing decisions and maintenance?

We have a team of local specialists for gas detection that will assist with selecting the correct device and sensor technology, based on the specific requirements of the client’s application. We have branches located throughout South Africa with dedicated sales and service teams to support our customers with aftersales, as well as commissioning and maintenance requirements.

Do you offer any additional services?

Yes, we do. For portable gas detection we offer tubes for spot measurements, single and multi-gas detectors, area monitoring devices, calibration, and bump test stations for this equipment.

For fixed gas detection, we offer complete gas detection systems, including control units and various sensor technologies (such as wireless fixed gas detection). In addition, we offer installation via our in-house team.

To support shutdown requirements and short-term equipment needs, we also offer rental and shutdown services for gas detection and other safety equipment.

What does the next decade have in store for gas detection equipment?

The digital networking of production facilities in the industry is a global trend. Safety technology is also benefiting from digitalisation and the Industrial Internet of Things. Portable and fixed gas detection will soon merge into one networked system, where all devices can be monitored and managed.

Gas detection has come a long way since the days of the canary.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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