Gas Detection Controller: How it Works, Types, & Importance

Posted by TechStar on Aug 15, 2022 11:19:13 AM

Gas detection controllers are used in a wide variety of industrial and commercial applications where fire, smoke, and/or toxic gases can present a potential hazard to property or threat to personnel. Controllers are designed to work with one or more gas detectors that provide permanent and continuous monitoring and generate actions in case of gas detection.  

What is a gas detection controller?

Controllers | MSA Safety | CanadaA gas detector controller is the main element of a fixed gas detection installation.   The controller is connected to a gas detection instrument (gas detector). The gas detector measures the concentration of various gasses and sends the concentration ot the controller as an electrical signal. The controller then processes the signal and performs an alarm maintenance function, based on pre-programmed parameters.

Gas detection controllers are the main element of a gas detection system. They are used to gather and process data, relay instructions to the other components in the system, and even integrate with external systems.

How do gas detection controllers work?

Fixed gas detection controllers are connected to one or multiple detectors to ensure continuous and permanent monitoring of areas presenting gas leaks that could relate to risks.   The gas detector then sends an electrical signal to the controller related to the concentration of the gases being detected.   At this point, the controller will generate actions triggering signals, and alarms that may be visual and/or audible.  

Fixed gas detection controllers are used for various applications where toxic or combustible gases are part of an industrial process or a by-product of it, which pose a threat to people, property, and productivity.   Applications include petrochemicals, specialty chemicals, water, and wastewater treatment, and other industrial applications.

The first step in preventing an accident is to monitor for the presence of dangerous gases. A system that can detect the presence of dangerous gases in an industrial setting is crucial to preventing workplace injuries and accidents. Using an automatic gas detection controller can trigger several protective measures, including ventilation, water mist, fire suppression, and more. These controllers can be used in both process control and safety applications. But they do much more than just monitor for dangerous gases.

Some gas detection controllers use semiconductor sensors. These sensors detect gases through chemical reactions. Tin dioxide, for example, has a resistance of 0 kO in air. This falls to 3.5 kO when 1% methane is present. The change in resistance is used to calculate the concentration of gas. These sensors are often used to detect oxygen, hydrogen, and alcohol vapor. They also allow operators to see the status of the system from a distance.

When a gas detection controller is installed permanently, it is important the detectors are installed in the field properly and are also connected to the controller properly, along with any visual or audible accessories.  In addition, all parameters should be set up in both the detector and controller to meet the needs of the application.  When commissioning the fixed gas detection system both detectors, controllers and any visual and audible items should be tested for their intended functionality. TechStar offers expert commissioning and start-up service. To help maintain the accuracy and prevent any malfunctions with your system, it is recommended that calibrations should be performed at least every 6 months. Audio/visual alarms should also be tested during system calibration to ensure that they work correctly.

Types of gas detection controllers

Gas detection controllers are divided into two categories: single-channel and multi-channel. Single-channel controllers can only be linked to one detector, while multi-channel controllers can take two independent sensors (dual-channel) per control module.  The multi-channel design allows for many configurations to meet most applications.

There are three types of fixed system controls: digital, analog, and hybrid. Digital controls use a microprocessor to process information from various sensors in the system; analog controls use an analog signal to indicate whether there is danger present; hybrid controls use both digital and analog signals to determine if there is danger present in the environment around them (e.g., both high-temperature levels as well as high levels of CO).

Offerings at TechStar

  • The GASGARD® XL Controller is a fixed gas and flame detection controller that monitors fixed gas and flame detectors. It has a large LCD display that provides real-time readings and also includes an audible alarm.
  • The 9010-9020 Controller is used for detecting hydrocarbon gases such as methane, propane, butane, and natural gas leaks from pipes or tanks through an infrared sensor module that detects infrared radiation from these types of gases at ranges up to 1 meter away from their source (or closer if desired).

Why gas detection controllers are important

Gas detection controllers are a critical component of gas detection systems. They help to monitor and control the flow, pressure, and temperature of the gas being detected. They can also be used to provide alarms when certain conditions are met.

Gas detection controllers are important because they help to ensure that the gas flow is consistent and that the system is working properly. This ensures that the overall integrity of the system is maintained and that no dangerous conditions are present.

Above, we outlined some of the reasons why gas detection controllers are effective for fixed systems. Knowing that we hope you've found this post informative.

TechStar is your local manufacturer representative. Their expert team provides customized monitoring systems, installation, and service support. Factory-trained sales representatives provide assistance to customers worldwide. If you'd like to learn more about how gas detection controllers can help protect your facility from hazardous risks, please contact us today.

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