What is Photo-ionisation Detection (PID) Technology? 

Photo-ionisation detection (PID) technology is generally considered the technology of choice for monitoring exposure to toxic levels of VOCs. The sensors include a lamp as a source of high-energy ultraviolet (UV) light. The lamp encases a noble gas, most commonly krypton, and electrodes. The UV light’s energy excites the neutrally charged VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) molecules, by removing an electron. 

The amount of energy needed to remove an electron from a VOC molecule is called the ionization potential (IP). The larger the molecule, or the more double or triple bonds the molecule contains, the lower the IP. Thus, in general, the larger or more fragile the molecule, the easier it is to detect.  

This technology does not require use of a sinter, which might prevent the gas reaching the sensor. It is also not susceptible to poisoning by chemicals in cleaning products, or silicone, although some cleaning agents containing large fragile molecules can cause positive readings. 

Benefits of PID Technology  

A high number of solvent species are sensed by this technology. Books have been written detailing the PID cross calibration responses to more than 750 solvent and gas types at ppm concentrations. It does not need air to function, it does not suffer from poisons and gives minor variation for moderate changes in temperature. 

PID is extremely sensitive and will respond to many different VOCs. The magnitude of the response is directly proportional to the concentration of the gas. However, 50ppm of one gas will give a different reading to 50ppm of a different gas. To cope with this, detectors are usually calibrated to isobutylene and then a correction factor is employed to get accurate readings for a target gas. Each gas has a different correction factor. Therefore, the gas must be known for the right correction factor to be applied. 

Consequently, pellistor sensors and photo-ionization detectors can be considered complementary technologies for many applications. Pellistors are excellent at monitoring for methane, propane, and other common combustible gases at %LEL (Lower Explosive Limit) levels. On the other hand, PID detects large VOC and hydrocarbon molecules that may be virtually undetectable by pellistor sensors, certainly in the parts-per-million range required to alert to toxic levels. Thus, the best approach in many environments is a multi-sensor instrument equipped with both technologies. 

PID sensor technology is very versatile and can be used, for example, for clearance measurements during shutdowns in the chemical and petrochemical industries, monitoring operations in shafts and enclosed spaces, detecting leaks and many other applications. 

Factors that affect PID Technology and their problems

Lack of voltage to the sensor affects the function of a PID sensor, also extremely high humidity, or particle densities. Also, the lamps last 2 years, but they will not last for 3 so the output must be monitored to check it has not gone into a fault condition. 

The problems with this sensor are limited to age related issues.  

  • Lamps age, voltage stacks work less well when they get dusty 
  • Some common gas types have zero response, e.g., methane and propane. The risk assessment needs to show the gas types expected have a response. If this information is not known for a gas type, then our website or customer support personnel can help. 
  • PID sensors are the highest cost sensors we use in our products. They are good, but with the quality comes the cost. 

How do I know when the technology is failing? 

The results drop from the pedestal value sensed by out PID bearing products, causing our instrumentation to go into fault. 

Products 

Our portable and fixed products are fitted with PID sensors that will detect large VOC and hydrocarbon molecules that may be virtually undetectable by pellistor sensors, certainly in the parts-per-million range required to alert to toxic levels.  

To explore more, visit our technical page for more information.

Our Partnership with Hitma 

Background 

Originally founded by the French company Pont-à-Mousson, Hitma is an independent subsidiary of the Swedish holding Indutrade a group of more than 150 companies in 25 countries, offering high-quality international technology and industrial products. Hitma supply technical components and systems including gas detection products to industrial sectors such as oil and gas, pharmaceutical and food industries. In addition, to the supply they also have specialised service teams, who service both on-shore and off-shore. Although Hitma started through the sale of sewerage and manhole covers, moving to other products like instrumentation, filtration products and gas detection after the second World War, over these 96 years of trading, the Hitma department ‘Gasdetectie’ now specialise in detection of flammable and toxic gas. Providing their customers with the high-quality equipment and expert technical advice is at the front of the organisation. 

Views on Gas Detection 

With more responsibilities being given to employers and larger companies to ensure workers are kept as safe as possible in the workplace, ensuring the correct equipment is provided and maintained is at the forefront of Health and Safety Officers responsibilities. Hitma view gas detection as equipment that is work safe in order to prevent hazards for those working and surrounding hazardous areas. Hitma work by providing their customers with the knowledge, expertise and advise in order to keep them safe when using gas detection products. 

Working with Crowcon  

Through the combination of knowledge, expertise and advise, our partnership has allowed for the understanding of gas detection and its importance in certain industries, to ensure their customers to get the correct equipment for their industry. Now the introduction of our fixed detectors as of 2020, will allow Hitma to reach new markets and sectors. “Crowcon are a trusted brand who have filled the gap in our business in a variety of sectors as well as enhancing our knowledge, expertise and advise for current and future customers.”  

Connected safety – More than Smart PPE 

Until quite recently, gas detection was widely considered to be ‘just another aspect of personal protection equipment (PPE)’, with gas detectors being fairly basic pieces of kit that detected gas hazards and nothing more. That attitude has been reinforced over years by the fact that gas detectors can be quite cumbersome things; they need bump testing and regular maintenance in order to work, which makes them something of a weak link in an increasingly digitalised, remotely-monitored, connected world. But is that attitude still fair? 

Well, no. Because just as just as every device and system  from washing machines and fridges to supply chains and enterprise equipment management – has joined the internet of things (IoT), so has gas detection. Now, just as your wearable fitness tracker can monitor your health status, and the impact of variables in your environment (exercise, food, temperature, sleep etc.), your gas monitor can connect to the web and feed data into software to generate insights that go far beyond, ‘have I been exposed to a gas hazard today?’ Becoming part of the IoT is transforming gas detection; and that transformation has only just begun. 

Where are we now with connected safety in gas detection? 

As things stand, gas detectors are increasingly connected to cloud-based software. This is often provided on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis by the device manufacturer, either on their own infrastructure or via a third party cloud provider. It may take the form of an app that is accessed through a web browser. The software interacts with each gas monitor in a fleet, recognising each one individually and logging data throughout each device’s operation.  

Of course, the primary purpose of gas detectors remains the safety and protection of personnel, but IoT connectivity offers many additional benefits. The scope of each software package may vary according to the provider, but good quality gas detection SaaS should provide: 

  • Remote monitoring of multiple aspects of the device (e.g., has the alarm sounded, and if so, why? When is the device due for calibration? Does it have any faults?)  
  • The ability to connect the device to the wearer (for example through RFID tags in ID badges) so that any failure to comply with proper use that is detected through the software can then be associated with a specific user. In the same way, consistent correct use is also registered. This makes it  much easier to tackle problems with non-compliance and to prove compliance at audit. 
  • The use of software to automatically upload data to the cloud also eliminates the risk of human error and greatly reduces the need for (often tedious and time-consuming) manual documentation. 
  • Above all, adding gas detectors to the IoT in this way generates lots of useful data and, importantly, presents that data in ways that make it genuinely useful. Some applications can also format and populate reports, invoices and other documentation, which can then be accessed from any mobile device with an internet connection, regardless of location.  

What can SaaS/IoT connectivity do for my fleet? 

The short answer is ‘lots’. Some examples are: 

  • Cloud software and monitoring can make it easier to locate workers and devices. This keeps workers safe and reduces device loss or theft. 
  • In today’s digital environment, the data generated by SaaS services is like gold dust: users can see at a glance which devices need to be calibrated or serviced, where they are and who has them. This information can be combined with schedules to plan service and maintenance in ways that reduce downtime and increase productivity. 
  • In a similar way, data insights can be used to identify hazardous areas (for example, repeated alarms may signal a leak) which can then be tackled proactively. 

Of course, gas detection is just at the beginning of its IoT journey: the future may hold anything from smaller wearable devices to on-site IoT drones and more. But even at this early stage, the benefits of using cloud software are clear. Click here to read more about Crowcon’s own solution.

Hydrogen Electrolysis

At present the most commercially developed technology available to produce hydrogen is from electrolysis. Electrolysis is an optimistic course of action for carbon-free hydrogen production from renewable and nuclear resources. Water electrolysis is the decomposition of water (H2O) into its basic components, hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2), through passing electric current. Water is a complete source for producing hydrogen and the only by-product released during process is oxygen. This process uses electrical energy that can then be stored as a chemical energy in the form of hydrogen.

What is the Process?

To produce Hydrogen, Electrolysis converts electrical energy into chemical energy by storing electrons in stable chemical bonds. Like fuel cells, electrolysers are composed of an anode and a cathode separated by an aqueous electrolyte according to the type of electrolyte material involved and the ionic species it conducts. The electrolyte is an obligatory part as pure water does not have the ability to carry enough charge as it lacks ions. At the anode, water is oxidised into oxygen gas and hydrogen ions. While the cathode, water is reduced to hydrogen gas and hydroxide ions. At present there are three leading electrolysis technologies.

Alkaline Electrolysers (AEL)

This technology has been used on an industrial scale for over 100 years. Alkaline electrolysers operate via transport of hydroxide ions (OH-) through the electrolyte from the cathode to the anode with hydrogen being generated on the cathode side. Operating at 100°–150°C, Electrolysers use a liquid alkaline solution of sodium or potassium hydroxide (KOH) as the electrolyte. In this process the anode and cathode are separated using a diaphragm that prevents remixing. At the cathode, water is split to form H2 and releases hydroxide anions that pass through the diaphragm to recombine at the anode where oxygen is produced. As this is a well-established technology it is relatively low in cost of production as well as it provides a long-time stability. However, it does have a crossover in gases possibly compromising its degree of purity and requires the use of a corrosive liquid electrolyte.

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Electrolysers (PEM)

Polymer Electrolyte Membrane is the latest technology to be commercially used to produce hydrogen. In a PEM electrolyser, the electrolyte is a solid specialty plastic material. PEM electrolysers operate at 70°–90°C. In this the process the water reacts at the anode to form oxygen and positively charged hydrogen ions (protons). The electrons flow through an external circuit and the hydrogen ions selectively move across the PEM to the cathode. At the cathode, the hydrogen ions combine with electrons from the external circuit to form hydrogen gas. Compared to AEL there are several advantages: the product gas purity is high in a partial load operation, the system design is compact and has a rapid system response. However, component cost is high and durability is low.

Solid Oxide Electrolysers (SOE)

AEL and PEM electrolysers are known as Low-Temperature Electrolysers (LTE). However, Solid oxide Electrolyser (SOE) is known as High-Temperature Electrolyser (HTE). This technology is still at development stage. In SOE, solid ceramic material is used as the electrolyte which conducts negatively charged oxygen ions (O2-) at elevated temperatures, generates hydrogen in a slightly different way. At a temperature about 700°–800°C steam at the cathode combines with electrons from the external circuit to form hydrogen gas and negatively charged oxygen ions. The oxygen ions pass through the solid ceramic membrane and react at the anode to form oxygen gas and generate electrons for the external circuit. Advantages of this technology is that it combines high heat and power efficiency as well as it producing low emissions at a relatively low cost. Although, due to the high heat and power required, start-up time takes longer.

Why is Hydrogen being considered as an alternative fuel?

Hydrogen is considered an alternative fuel under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Hydrogen produced via electrolysis can contribute zero greenhouse gas emissions, depending on the source of the electricity used. This technology is being pursued to work with renewable (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal) and nuclear energy options to allow virtually zero greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions. Although, this type of production will require the cost to be decreased significantly to be competitive with more mature carbon-based pathways such as natural gas reforming. There is potential for synergy with renewable energy power generation. Hydrogen fuel and electric power generation could be distributed and sited at wind farms, thereby allowing flexibility to shift production to best match resource availability with system operational needs and market factors.

Our Partnership with Guardsman 

Background

Guardsman Ltd. are one of the leading suppliers of Personal Protective Equipment and Workwear in the UK, based centrally in Leicester with their Sales and Distribution Centre. Guardsman have been a part of Bunzl PLC, a global £9.2 billion FTSE 100 company, who specialise in the supply of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies and Contractors’ Site Equipment, for 9 years. Although Guardsman has been supplying safety equipment, workwear and PPE to major industrial customers and utilities for over 45 years. During this time, they have followed their simple philosophy “To provide the correct protection at a competitive price, through friendly and efficient staff with flexible supply arrangements.” throughout this time they have built a substantial portfolio of blue-chip clients across all sectors of industry, where they now supply to 27 countries across 5 continents. Guardsman’s customers are striving for excellence in their fields and expect to receive excellence from Guardsman as a supplier.  

Views on Gas Detection  

With the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 2022 scheduled for amendment with the 1992 Regulations being extended to employers’ and employees’ duties in respect of PPE to a wider group of workers. These changes will mean that employers will now have duty to concern the provision and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) at work.  

With these scheduled changes leading to a shift in who is responsible for workplace PPE, Guardsman have in response to this begun developing conversations with existing relationships in gas detection to identify the pains their customers may have and to allow the easiest way to provide correct equipment.  

Working with Crowcon  

Through continuous communication Crowcon will allow Guardsman to extend the safety they provide. Our partnership has also allowed for the enhanced understanding of gas detection and its importance in certain industries, all of which allow for Guardsman to provide gas detection products within the industries they provide, such as manufacture and automotive. “Our partnership with Crowcon now offers a solution to our customers that we were unable to offer previously, thereby enhance our specialism in providing PPE to existing and future customers.”   

Connected safety – Centralised Records Storage and Security for Compliance

Connected safety – and in particular the use of cloud applications to collate, present and archive data – is an important evolutionary step for gas detection, and one that is here to stay. The benefits it conveys, including greater safety, easier fleet and compliance management and automated, error-free data capture, are too important to overlook. However …

We live in an era where data is king, and most organisations are acutely aware of their duty to comply with data protection rules. Failure to do so can result in harsh financial and reputational punishment; consequently, some organisations are wary of centralising records in the cloud (and sometimes anywhere else) for fear of data breach via malware, hacking, DDoS attack or simple human error.

While this is understandable, it absolutely need not be a barrier to the use of transformative technologies like Crowcon Connect. All of the relevant risks are well managed and mitigated, and in fact the cloud is a far more secure (and customisable) environment than many people realise.

How does cloud data storage work?

In simple terms, when a Crowcon gas detector is connected via the internet to the Crowcon Connect software, the data passes directly from the detector to the cloud. It does not interface with any other software, applications or data: in that sense, the stream of data is entirely isolated. Exactly the same applies when the system is used the other way around, i.e. when a user accesses the cloud solution via a connected device.

When we say that gas detector data ends up in the cloud, this is to use ‘cloud’ as a bit of a catch-all term. So, let’s break it down. Many people understand the cloud to mean a hosted environment (i.e. the data sits on a server somewhere, where it interacts with the software). Many assume that ‘the cloud’ is effectively shorthand for ‘a server rack in a datacentre’ and that is often true. But because we know that customers vary in their hosting preferences and needs, the ‘cloud’ that Crowcon Connect exists within can be provided to clients in various forms.

The Crowcon Connect system is hosted and manged on the Microsoft Azure cloud instance hosted in Dublin, Ireland. This is an extremely secure set-up that exceeds the usual Microsoft standards (which are already very robust), and is accessed via an internet connection as we have seen. However, according to need it can also be formatted for use in the following ways:

  • API – the use of an API allows the user to draw upon the Crowcon Connect database in combination with existing databases: some organisations favour this because it allows them to continue using their current dashboards and report tools, but with fleet-wide detector information.
  • On-prem – this term is short for ‘on premises’ and it means just that. If required, Crowcon can create a local version of the portal, which means that all data remains on the organisation’s own in-house servers. Some users like this because it gives them absolute control over their data.
  • Own-cloud – it is also possible for Crowcon to create an implementation on an organisation’s own cloud, which ensures that all device data remains on their server, within their control.

How safe is it?

In all cases and formats, the use of connected safety in this way has been made extremely secure. Full details are given in our IT FAQs document, which you can read by clicking here.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of using a connected safety solution for gas detectors are numerous and potentially transformative. With gas detection that connects to cloud software you can enhance safety, productivity and compliance, and when the gas insights provided are integrated with wider business data, they can be used to make important and lasting improvements. Want to find out more? Click here to read more about Crowcon’s own cloud software solution.

International Women’s Day

March 2022 has already started with a historic moment, with world leaders, environment ministers and other representatives from 173 countries agreeing to develop a legally binding treaty to tackle plastic. In which this treaty has been described as the most important multilateral environmental deal since the Paris climate in 2015, in which this treaty intends to include the full lifecycle of plastic for production to disposal. The UN describe the advancing of gender equality in the context of the current climate crisis as one of the greatest challenges being faced in the 21st century.

Celebrating women in Crowcon

In an industry that has historically been male dominated, here at Crowcon, we are fortunate to have women in key positions throughout the organisation ranging in all levels of the organisation’s hierarchy. These are just some of the women who play an integral role in the success of Crowcon and help to tackle the effects of climate change.

Debbie Airey – Sales Manager Europe

Debbie is our UK Sales and Service Manager, providing a key role in building strategies for the European sales team. Beginning her career with Crowcon three and a half years ago she has enjoyed every single moment. Prior to that her main career path was held mainly within the industrial and liquid gas sector for Linde Gas UK where a ran the customer service team for UK and export gases, progressing to managing the Helium product. She believes that honesty and integrity are paramount when working with people and clients. Offering a solution in the face of a challenge is her daily objective and her advice is always “Never be afraid to ask why” and always challenge to strive for best practice. Within her time at Crowcon the team has grown considerably and continues to develop. She likes to have the right people on the bus, then figure out where the bus is going.

Debbie’s team, clients and colleagues provide her with new learnings every day so Job satisfaction is completely in abundance and working for a HALMA company means that she has a clear and achievable career path. Not only has she progressed within Crowcon, but she has had opportunities to be part of some amazing initiatives and projects including a global initiative for Diversity and Inclusivity.

Her private life is just as busy and you’ll often find her in the gym, in the pool, on the bike or completing a parkrun. Debbie is also the 1st woman in the world to complete the parkrun Alphabet challenge 3 times and is well on the way to the 4th and 5th. Debbie describes sport as a great way to help with her relaxation and mental health, but also loves the competition that it brings. Debbie volunteers at the junior parkrun on a Sunday morning which allows children the opportunity to join a running and social event. When there is any spare time left, she also supports the local “Waste Water Shepherds” and “Yate Clean up charity” where she helps investigate the water ways for debris, rubbish and contaminants entering the water.

“Working within a progressive business allows me the room to grow, working at Crowcon and specifically within HALMA offers me the environment to succeed and working with my team offers me a place to bring my true self to work every single day. It is with confidence that I can honestly say that we all save lives each day and I am proud to be part of this group.”

Anna Pulisciano – Operations Director

Anna is our Operations Director, who deals with global operations, strategic supplier relationships (key partners), manufacturing operations, transformation programmes and supply chain functions. Anna is key in contributing to the corporate strategy in the areas of production, purchase, distribution and supply chain to ensure that the company achieves its short and long-term objectives but plays a crucial role in directly overseeing operations staff to ensure that they are motivated and trained to carry out their responsibilities to the required standard.

Karen Zhao – Finance Controller

Karen joined Crowcon last April as Finance Controller with our team in China. Karen provides a key role in the finance of our Crowcon team in China. Allowing for the establishment of preparing financial reports, including balance sheets and income statements allowing for effective accounting function in the region. Karen also ensures that there is compliance with both regional and parent company policies and procedures. Another key role Karen is responsible for is that of providing business support to management and as well as other functions of the organisation.

Giovanna Trevizan Rocha – Test and Verification Technician

Giovanna joined us over 3 years ago as a Test and Verification Technician at Crowcon. Her responsibilities within this role include the performance of testing procedures to investigate issues and assure the functionality, integrity and robustness of new and existing Crowcon software and hardware products. Key tests include inspect, measure, analyse, audit, calibrate and test the instrumentation, equipment, machines, and procedures. As our instruments are key to ensuring the safety of workers and the environment around them are safe, these rigorous test and pre-tests are vital to our equipment.

“Working on engineering solutions that save people’s lives in a great work environment that promotes necessary values such as respect, diversity, and equal opportunities has been a great source of professional and personal fulfilment.”

What is Biogas?

Biogas most commonly known as biomethane is a renewable fuel constructed through the breakdown of organic matter (such as animal manure, municipal rubbish/ waste, plant material, food waste or sewage) by bacteria in an oxygen-free environment through a process called anaerobic digestion. Biogas systems use anaerobic digestion to repurpose these organic materials, converting them into biogas, of which consists of both energy (gas), and valuable soil products (liquids and solids). It can be used for many different functions; these include vehicle fuel and for heating and electricity generation.  

What industries is Biogas used in?

Biogas can be produced through the combustion process to produce heat only. When burned, one cubic metre of biogas produces around 2.0/2.5 kWh of thermal energy, providing the nearby buildings with the heat generated. The unused heat is dismissed, and unless it is heated and converted into hot water through a local pipe network into local houses, it is wasted. This concept of heating water and transferring to homes as part of central heating is popular in some Scandinavian countries. 

Biogas is eligible for support under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation due to the combustion of biomethane from vehicles being more environmentally friendly than those who use transport fuels such as modern petrol and diesel, thereby helping reduce greenhouse emissions. Examples of renewable transport fuels in vehicles that are formed out of biogas are compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).  

Electricity can be generated from the combustion of biogas. Electricity is easier to transport and measure than heat and gas supply, however, requires the right infrastructure in order for it to feed into the grid, that is expensive and complex. Although, generating green electricity can benefit the generators (households and communities) by using the Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs) or for bigger players can maximise the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for industrial scale production, thereby leading to a reduction in cost as well as being better for the environment. 

Other industries include hospitality, manufacturing, retail and wholesale. 

Which gases does Biogas contain? 

Biogas consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. The most common ratio is 60% CH4 (methane) and 40% CO2 (carbon dioxide), However, the respective quantities of these will vary depending on the type of waste involved in the production of the resulting biogas, therefore the most common ratio will be 45 to 75% methane and carbon dioxide from 55 to 25%. Biogas also contains small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and some moisture.  

What are the key benefits?

There are several reasons why biogas technology is useful as an alternate form of technology: Primarily, the raw material used is very cheap, and to farmers it is practically free with the biogas having the ability to be used for a range of household and farming applications. The burning of biogas does not produce harmful gases; therefore, it is environmentally clean. One of the most convenient benefits of biogas is that the technology required for its production is relatively simple and can be reproduced in large or small scale without the need for a large initial capital investment. As this type of energy is a renewable, clean source of energy that relies on a carbon-neutral process, therefore no new amounts of carbon are released into the atmosphere when using biogas. As well as it helping to divert food waste from landfills, positively impacting the environment and economics. Biogas also helps to reduce soil and water contamination from animal and human waste, allowing for the maintenance of a healthy and safe environment for many communities worldwide. With methane being a contributor to climate change, biogas contributes to its reduction that is emitted into the atmosphere, helping to counteract its impact on climate change, thereby helping to possibly help with its immediate impact on the environment.  

However, biogas as a source of energy does have its disadvantages, one is that Biogas production is dependent on a biological process that doesn’t have the ability to be controlled fully. Additionally, biogas works better in warmer climates, this consequently means biogas doesn’t have the capacity to be accessible equally worldwide. 

Is Biogas Good or Bad?

Biogas is an outstanding source of clean energy, due to it possessing a lower impact on the environment than fossil fuels. Although biogas doesn’t have a zero impact on the ecosystems, it is carbon neutral. This is because biogas is produced from plant matter, of which has previously fixed carbon from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A balance between the carbon being let out as a result of producing biogas and the amount absorbed from the atmosphere is maintained. 

Do more with less: streamline device maintenance and improve safety 

Managing a fleet of gas detectors is a complex business, especially if you’re still relying on manual methods and human search to find records. Thankfully, cloud computing and in particular connected gas safety solutions like our own Crowcon Connect can make light work of what are otherwise overwhelming workloads: and they can make your outcomes better, too. 

In previous posts (here, here and here) we have explored the nature of connected safety solutions and how they can improve operational and business outcomes, drive up safety and reduce costs. In this post we will see how connected gas safety solutions make light work of fleet and device maintenance and improve safety and other outcomes. 

The challenges of device management 

Most organisations that use portable gas monitors have multiple devices. In some settings – for example where sites are widely distributed or the organisation rents out device fleets to other businesses – these numbers can run into many hundreds. What is more, each device might be sent to multiple locations at various times, and used by a range of different people.  

Historically, this has made the task of tracking and maintaining those detectors incredibly complex, resource-intensive and time consuming. Traditionally the types of record kept – calibration due dates, maintenance schedules, event data, location and user IDs – have been entered manually onto spreadsheets, or even paper.  

And when that information has been needed for audit, maintenance activities or any other purpose, some poor person in an office has sifted through the records to find and collate the information required, hoping that human error hasn’t compromised the data quality.  

Not only is this time consuming and liable to take highly-skilled people away from their specialist work, it also introduces multiple risks to the process. With manual or even merely hard-to-search records there is always the risk that a vital indicator – an overdue calibration date, a failed sensor, a dangerous event – can be overlooked. In some cases, data may not be recorded, or be entered inaccurately.  

Not only does this make efficient fleet management almost impossible, but it also ramps up the risk of catastrophe. 

Connected gas safety insights transform operations and protocols 

Connected safety makes device management much more straightforward, accurate and resource efficient. 

It achieves this by clearly linking each device with its named user at the start of every work session and then, when the detector is returned to its docking station or charger, it pulls data directly from each gas detector into the connected safety portal (and logs off the user). In the portal, that data is automatically sorted and aggregated and presented in user-friendly formats according to need. 

That means no more manual record keeping or report collation for compliance audits, no risk of incorrect information, no missed calibrations or bump tests (the system can flag these up for you), no more failing or faulty devices missed.  

If you’d like to see this in action, please have a look at our interactive online demo of Crowcon Connect.  

Connected gas safety solutions let you keep and easily search detailed, reliable records. They make exceptions easily and immediately visible, which lets you accurately assess (and then reduce) risk.  

Because they boost data gathering, insight analysis and record keeping, and present data through highly accessible dashboards that are easily configured to show multiple perspectives, connected safety solutions give you a 360-degree overview of your gas safety operations that is available 24/7/365. 

Maximising device lifespan and asset management 

Connected safety solutions can also help to extend the life of your gas detectors and improve your asset management. Generally, this improves efficiency and reduces costs.  

For example, gas detectors rely on their sensors and in every case, those sensors will ultimately fail. All sensors must be replaced eventually – but replacing them too early (when they have plenty of life left) is inefficient and costly. Crowcon Connect keeps you informed about all factors that affect device function, including sensor life, which allows you to replace sensors only when you need to.  

Most devices suffer wear and tear, and potentially terminal damage to a portable gas detector can be hard to spot. That’s why you should be conducting regular maintenance and testing. A connected safety solution makes this simple, because it logs and flags maintenance due dates. And because you get ample warning, you can intelligently structure and plan your maintenance schedule to avoid busy periods, minimising disruption and costs.  

With a connected safety solution, you can instantly see which devices are good to go and which need attention. And you can easily keep on top of maintenance, so it becomes easier to streamline the number of devices you need – because you can always be confident of having a sufficient number available. 

For example, if you currently have enough portable detectors for every member of your workforce, a connected safety system may let you reduce that fleet to approximately the maximum number required at any given time. The connected system’s 360-degree view and alerts will help you to keep the maximum number of devices ready for use, and Crowcon Connect’s ability to quickly link devices to named users and locations will drive down detector losses.  

Crowcon Connect is a gas safety and compliance insight solution that helps you to streamline fleet management by gathering insights from across the device fleet and presenting these in practical, useful forms. If you’d like to learn more about the ways Crowcon Connect can make light work of managing your fleet(s) of portable gas detectors, why not check out our white paper on that very subject?