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CASE STUDY
A customised EFS solution to monitor gas stores on a large scientific research site

The client in this case is a scientific organisation that operates large-scale scientific research facilities on campuses in the UK. The customer’s building contractor put it in touch with Crowcon’s EFS team, with a view to upgrading the oxygen depletion monitoring in one of the campus gas stores. The client was aware of several problems, including a lack of remote alarm capability and its outdated gas shut-off system. The EFS team not only designed a solution that solved these problems, but sorted out other hazards too.

Outdated systems need a new approach

The customer, a world-leading scientific organisation, needed to improve monitoring for oxygen depletion in a large helium store and spoke to the EFS team about designing a new, customised system. The client wanted to include remote alarm capabilities, because in the past their existing alarm had sounded but nobody had been on site to hear it. The customer also wanted to upgrade the existing gas shut-off system, which was activated by compressed air and very outdated. The helium store housed banks of helium cylinders and had a removable roof to allow those cylinders to be craned in and out. The existing oxygen depletion detectors were placed at height — this is reasonable because helium is lighter than air and tends to rise, but it made them hard to reach and dangerous to maintain (special access equipment was needed). Other hazardous gases were also stored on the site, including silane, which can ignite spontaneously in air.

Safer site, safer maintenance

The EFS team designed a customised system to monitor oxygen depletion in the helium store, using a sampling approach so that all components could be placed within easy reach. This immediately made system maintenance much safer and removed the need for special access equipment. The team also brought in a specialist, who supplied specific ATEX-certified solenoids that integrate with the bespoke detection system to operate the gas supplies, doing away with the outdated compressed air arrangement. Remote alarm capabilities were built in. The team also upgraded the flame detectors in the silane store.

“This is a great example of a site that is potentially very dangerous being made much safer through a customised approach to gas monitoring,” says Andy Avenell, who leads Crowcon’s EFS team. “It’s also a good example of why everyone should keep an eye on their gas monitoring arrangements over time, because in this case we made a huge improvement to the value of the gas shut-off system by upgrading it
and integrating it with our system.”

If you have a site that presents gas monitoring challenges, why not contact us? We’ll get back to you to discuss your requirements and how our EFS team can help.

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Contact us today with your requirements to see how we can help you!

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