Introducing the first intelligent, fully wireless gas detection solution

Mark Heuchert's picture
Mark Heuchert, Marketing Manager, ADM, Dräger Inc.
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Detecting toxic and explosive gases to avoid accidents is central to life safety and plant productivity. One of the top topics of concern that is brought up at every level of the organisation is how to avoid accidents; and modern wireless technology coupled with an intelligent, extremely reliable controller answers this concern.

The fact that regulations from OSHA are requiring lower detection limits, combined with corporate objectives of zero tolerance of accidents and a focus on life safety is leading to the need for higher gas detection coverage ratios. This, in turn, will require a significant increase in the number of gas and flame detection points, which poses a significant challenge to the industry, not only in terms of installing hundreds of miles of cables but also in managing the significant increase in the number of detectors and other devices in your facilities.

In order to solve these issues the solution of the future would need to offer:

  • Wireless detectors that are SIL 2 compliant
  • Controllers that can handle larger quantities of inputs
  • Intelligent systems that avoid false alarms
  • Sensors that detect gases more accurately and require fewer calibrations
  • A system that has higher standards of reliability and ease of use.

These key requirements were taken into account when Dräger developed the Polytron WL (wireless) series of detectors and controller. But Dräger could not have developed these advanced solutions without recent key advancements in computer and wireless technologies. In fact, modern solutions like the Polytron WL are only possible with the simultaneous launch of compatible technologies like ISA 100.11a wireless networks.

Without the highly reliable communication and fast response time of the ISA 100.11a networks it would not be possible to be SIL 2 compliant, which is key for any facility wanting to modernise their operations and ensure a more efficient, productive and safer working environment. As ISA 100.11a networks became more reliable, easier to install and affordable, Dräger saw this an opportunity to offer customers a unique solution to take plant safety to a whole new level.

By using an ISA 100.11a network the Polytron WL system can provide faster response time and be SIl2 compliant. The well-known DrägerSensors are among the fastest and most accurate in the industry due to unique and patented Catalytic, EC and IR designs. With many gases, a DrägerSensor can react in <5 seconds, and if coupled with a proper controller can immediately shut down problem areas to avoid accidents to employees and potential damage to equipment and facility.

The DrägerSensors require fewer calibrations, as their drift is low and their tolerances are among the highest in the industry and thus keep their accuracy for longer periods of time, even in the harshest conditions. This is why industrial companies such as rocket manufacturers (Hydrazine), mines (Oxygen), and fertilization plants (Hydrogen Sulfide) chose Dräger as their trusted supplier. Due to their unique design and high-quality laboratory-like production facilities in Germany, DrägerSensors tend to outlast customer’s expectations, even for aggressive gases like Ammonia, which typically saturate sensors in short periods of time. The Bluetooth compatibility and ease of calibration makes maintenance fast and simple. The intelligent EC sensors have a “plug and play” feature that allows DrägerSensors to be hot-swapped, even for different gases.

The controller is a modular control unit for gas and fire alarm systems. The control units consist of one or more Docking Stations, each of which can contain up to 8 modules. The complete system can have 24 Docking Stations and a total of 192 modules. Which in turn can control a maximum of 1536 channels as each module has 8 channels. Input and output channels may be distributed as required (1 to 1535 up to 1535 to 1).

The controller is designed as a system with distributed intelligence that does not require a master controller (masterless). The modules communicate with one another deterministically (predetermined) using a proprietary safety Ethernet network protocol.  Due to the communication without a master device (masterless), there is no component in the system whose failure would trigger a failure of the complete system (Single Point of Failure). A key feature is the ability to avoid false alarms by cancelling out spurious electrical signals or adjusting alarm settings to specific time-frames.

The controller can notify when detectors require calibration, and can constantly monitor detector statuses, ensuring the entire gas detection system is working properly. If an alarm sounds, pre-programmed actions can immediately initiate actions and send alerts to the appropriate personnel. 

With HART diagnostics and Modbus interface the controller is a comprehensive controller satisfying the needs of almost any facility no matter its size or complexity. 

By utilising the latest developments of technology, Dräger has again brought solutions to the market that ensure life safety and plant productivity, which is why our theme has long been “Technology for Life.”

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