Keeping maintenance workers safe during shutdowns
23 January 2013
Crowcon has provided 65 of its portable gas detectors to protect personnel at Dow Corning's manufacturing plant in Barry, south Wales. The Triple Plus+ IR detectors are used by maintenance contractors during crucial ope
As silicone is present in the manufacturing process and can interfere with conventional sensors, it was necessary for the detectors to have infrared (IR) capability as IR sensors are unaffected by silicone. In addition, Crowcon provided linearisation of the IR sensor for pentane and also provided a bespoke hydrogen sensor.
According to Kevin Reid of Dow Corning's analyser Group, ruggedness was a key factor in the company's choice of gas detector supplier. "We issue the instruments to off-site contractors, which means they pass through many pairs of hands in a short space of time," he explained.
"Without a sense of ownership on the part of the user, they can get some pretty rough treatment. The Triple Plus+ units are hardwearing and require little maintenance - they also have an extremely reliable IR sensor.
They performed exceptionally over the first shutdown period without a single detector exhibiting a fault or failure." The Triple Plus+ IR version differs from traditional detectors because it does not require the presence of oxygen, making it suitable for use in silicone manufacturing processes or in purge monitoring of hydrocarbon storage tanks such as in petroleum processing facilities or oil and gas carriers.
Favoured by the chemical and oil and gas industries because of its toughness the Triple Plus+ can monitor up to four toxic and flammable gases at once from a list of over 15, is almost unbreakable and uses 7-series sensors which have been shown to be the most reliable sensor type available. It is housed in a shatterproof polyamide/ABS casing, making it shock-resistant and water-proof to IP65. It will also float if dropped in water.
A large backlit display shows all gas levels simultaneously and a loud audible alarm and extremely bright visual alarm warns the operator when gas levels reach dangerous levels. 100 hours of datalogging capacity is available as standard and a PC interface through an RS232 serial port allows all data to be downloaded for permanent storage.
Dow Corning's 160-acre Barry site employs approximately 600 people and manufactures silicon-based products and intermediates for use globally. The process starts with elemental silicon which is chemically reacted and changed to make silicon-based fluids, gums, rubbers and specialty polymers.