Presence of gases and vapors in breathable air in concentrations above the safe toxicity threshold limit values need to be ensured to ensure the safety of human life, assets, and the environment by undertaking appropriate measures. A number of industries produce, as by products, or use a variety of flammable, toxic, or even virtually harmless gases, which may become risky when they displace oxygen by a sudden release, in an endless number of operations and processes. On an industrial front, gas monitoring systems form one of the crucial elements of typical safety and security infrastructure.
With a vast rise in stringent rules and regulations pertaining to the safety of workers and the environment, industries are focusing and investing more on the timely replacement of outdated gas monitoring systems. With the vast rise in oil and gas exploration activities in remote locations, where it is not possible to install cables for power or signaling purposes, the demand for technologically advanced products with highly accurate gas concentration data has significantly increased in the recent past.
With promising growth prospects in the next few years, the global gas monitoring systems market is witnessing an increase in the number of companies and the market is becoming increasingly competitive. To outshine their peers, companies are focusing more on research and development activities and focusing on development opportunities in high-growth sectors such as offshore oil and gas exploration.
Gas monitoring systems are used for the detection of different gases, usually as part of a wider safety system. These detectors trigger alarms when the specified concentration of gas or vapor is exceeded. They are useful in terms of providing an early warning to help ensure safety of the people; however, they do not prevent gas leaks and are not a substitute for safe practices and maintenance. There are several industrial, manufacturing, and other commercial activities that produce flammable gases and vapors, which are likely to mix violently with air, and cause harm to humans. Gas monitoring systems help prevent such situations by detecting the gases early.
Gas monitoring systems are available in many types. These include fixed and portable. A fixed detector is permanently installed in a chosen location to provide continuous monitoring of plant and equipment. It is particularly useful when there is a possibility of leak or gases could accumulate in an enclosed or partially enclosed area. On the other hand, portable detectors refer to either small, handheld devices, or those not meant to be hand-carried, but can still be moved from one location to another. There also exist single-gas detectors, which are commonly used to track changes in the level of oxygen. Multi-gas detectors help track the change in level of several toxic and flammable gases. The selection of these detectors depends upon the expected work to be carried out in a location. Of late, intelligent systems consisting of wirelessly-connected and software-integrated gas monitoring systems have emerged. These are especially useful to track the safety and related information of multinational companies’ (MNCs) various locations spread across continents, as well as to co-ordinate the monitoring of gases in large manufacturing units or corporate offices.
Gas monitoring systems carry out their functions through two methods: open-path and point-detection. In case of point detectors, the concentration of gas at sampling point is measured. This functionality is commonly found with the fixed gas monitoring systems. The open-path detectors have a radiation source and a physically separate, remote detector. Under this system, the detector measures the average concentration of gas along the path of the beam. The type of sensor and sensor technology used by the system also differs in terms of various factors such as gas to be detected and expected concentration levels, type of gas monitoring systems, and the presence of other gases. Different sensor technologies used include catalytic and thermal conductivity, infrared, flame ionization and temperature, semiconductor, ultrasonic, electrochemical, paramagnetic, and zirconia type.
Gas monitoring systems are required in a wide range of areas, from home and domestic to commercial and industrial sectors, and the mining industry. These systems are majorly required in the chemical and oil & gas sector. From large refineries to chemical product plants, emission of various toxic and flammable gases is a grave concern for the chemical and oil & gas sector. It is closely followed by the industrial and manufacturing sector, where various processes such as spraying, spreading, and coating of articles; solvent extraction processes; and removal and entry of a variety of materials from tanks and pipes offer immense scope for the leakage of toxic gases. The mining industry has been one of the oldest users of various forms of gas detection equipment. Military is another sector where the usage of gas monitoring systems is vital, because of the various chemicals used in the manufacture of weaponry and related artillery. The residential and commercial sectors are recent additions, while environmental application is an emerging field for the gas monitoring systems. This segment is expected to witness faster rate of growth due to the increasing awareness about climate change. Gas monitoring systems are used throughout the world. However, Asia Pacific, North America, and Europe are the major users of these systems. These regions are followed by Latin America and Middle East & Africa. The gas monitoring systems market is expected to expand at a moderate pace during the next few years. Large players in the industry – Siemens AG, ABB Inc., Honeywell RAE Systems, General Electric Co., Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA, Alphasense, Omega Integration Pte Ltd., and Vertilas GmbH – are expected to benefit from the increased awareness regarding gas monitoring systems.
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