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The Basics of Flame and Gas Detection

Installing the right flame and gas detection fire protection system is essential for workplaces that contain toxic or combustible gas as a part of their industrial process.

Flame Detection

A flame detector senses fire and responds as programmed. Different systems offer different levels of fire detection. A flame detector may activate an alarm, shut down a fuel line, or trigger the area’s fire suppression system. If you opt for a flame detection system in an industrial furnace, it will monitor to ensure that the furnace is properly lit.

The ultraviolet/infrared flame detector is a popular choice for many industrial plants. It activates when two different spectrums of radiation are recognized. It’s important to choose a well-made sensor for flame detection, preferably one that is explosion-proof. Consult with an expert in fire protection to ensure that you’re investing in the right fire protection for your worksite.

Gas Detection

A gas detector senses gas, able to flag gas leaks and shut down systems to help prevent disaster. It can also alert nearby workers so the area can be cleared. Gas detectors usually check for combustibles, such as methane, propane, or gas; oxygen; or toxic gases, like carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and other toxic gases.

There are many types of gas detectors, including ultrasonic sensors, semiconductor sensors, and others. Some can detect multiple gases while others are calibrated for just one gas.

Infrared combustible sensors work well when there is little oxygen. This sensor reflects light off of a mirror and then measures the amount of light absorbed during the refraction. It isn’t able to detect hydrogen but works well when calibrated for methane or ethane.

Electrochemical toxic gas sensors are programmed for a specific chemical so it’s important to ensure that the right one is on site. There are about 30 different types of gases that can be detected. They provide about one year of gas detection for most toxic gases and tend to be very accurate.

Choosing a Flame and Gas Detection Fire Protection System

When you’re choosing a flame and gas detection system for your workplace, it’s important to consider many aspects of the possible sensors. Be sure to research the false alarm immunity. This is especially true if your plant contains many hot objects so the flame detector doesn’t confuse an actual fire with sunlight or welding.

The detection range is also important. You need full coverage, including in areas you may not expect to be impacted. The greater the range and the shorter the detection time, the more time you have to clear the area and prevent further disaster.

Look for units that can perform self-diagnostics so they can run regular checks. Such detectors should be able to detect that the sensing paths are clear, the detector is working, and that all electric circuits within the unit are functioning.

Any industrial plant, warehouse, or hangar that deals with combustible or toxic gases needs to have a well-maintained fire protection system. A major part of any fire protection system is the flame and gas detection equipment, which can help save lives and prevent disaster.


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