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The Importance of Oxygen Deficiency Monitors in the Workplace

The Importance of Oxygen Deficiency Monitors in the Workplace

If someone were to ask you what the major cause of gas related injuries in the workplace is, would your answer be carbon monoxide poisoning?

What about exposure to ammonia, hydrogen chloride, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, or chlorine? Even though injuries are reported because of over exposure to these gases, oxygen deficiency continues to pose the largest overall health risk. Often referred to as the “silent killer”, oxygen depleted breathing air is the cause of numerous injuries and/or deaths on an annual basis. Breathing air oxygen can be depleted because of leakage of stored or piped inert gases such as nitrogen, helium, argon, carbon dioxide, sulfur hexafluoride, etc. These gases, as well as others, are often used in laboratories, fertility clinics, heat treating facilities, cryotherapy installations, shipyards, various manufacturing processes, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) installations, research facilities, dry ice manufacturing facilities, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) installations to mention a few. According to a recent paper released by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) “oxygen can even be consumed by rusting metal, stored ripening fruits, drying paint, combustion, or bacterial activities.” so it’s not just leakage of inert gases that can be problematic. Breathing air contains essentially 20.9% oxygen by volume. If oxygen levels drop to 14-16%, individuals exposed to those levels may become disoriented and confused.  When a sustained exposure to oxygen levels of less than 10% takes place, fainting, convulsions, and death may result. The first line of protection to help prevent injury and/or death is the use of an oxygen deficiency monitor(s).

In a January 2016 report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), entitled, “Sudden Deaths Among Oil and Gas Extraction Workers Resulting from Oxygen Deficiency and Inhalation of Hydrocarbon Gases and Vapors — United States, January 2010–March 2015” the article cited the potential dangers associated with exposure of workers to oxygen depleted atmospheres. A study conducted from 2010 to 2015, reported nine deaths attributed to   workers who were attempting to measure and record liquid hydrocarbon levels in storage tanks. Access to the liquid hydrocarbon was through “thief” hatches (closable apertures on atmospheric tanks, used for accessing the contents of the tank). When workers climbed to the tops of the tanks to open the thief hatch, they were often exposed to significantly depleted oxygen levels due to displacement of oxygen by the hydrocarbon vapors.

Another example of a potential low oxygen safety hazard is in MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) facilities where significant volumes of liquid helium are used to cool the MRI’s magnets. If an unexpected magnet quench (liquid helium boils off abruptly) the helium gas released into the MRI room can quickly displace breathing air oxygen levels creating a hazardous, life-threatening condition. For some installations, the volume of stored helium can be as much as 700,000 liters.  Few industries are immune from the risks of oxygen depletion, particularly when inert gases are in use. For this reason, it is prudent to use oxygen deficiency monitors to help protect personnel.

The above examples help to illustrate that the use of inert and/or process gases in the workplace can pose a real and severe threat to the well-being of individuals unless proper precautions are taken. Alpha Omega Instruments has been providing solutions to the safety market for over 26 years offering a comprehensive line of oxygen deficiency monitors and alarms.

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Cryogenic Gases: Dew Point

Cryogenic Gases: Dew Point Measurement

Cryogenic gases are normal atmospheric components which have been liquefied, separated and purified.

Although they may be supplied as a high-pressure gas, most are shipped to the customer in a liquid state and vaporized on site. The primary cryogenics are O2, N2, Ar, H2 and He are supplied in much smaller quantities.

Cryogenic gases are purchased for their particular properties. They may be used as an inert blanket, in a chemical reaction or as a catalyst. Due to this usage, they are sold in various degrees of purity. Moisture (H20) is obviously an impurity, although on a very small scale. Moisture levels will, typically, be in the 0-5 PPM range.

Due to the purity of the gas and cleanliness of the application, there are few problems with this application. The sensor should be in a bypass after the vaporizer and not directly in the flow. This will warm the sample and ensure that the flow past the sensor is not excessive.  Learn more on dew point measurement.

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Glove Boxes: Sensors

Selecting an Oxygen Monitor Sensor for a Glove Box Applications

Glove boxes are used to perform manual manufacturing processes where exposure to the components may be harmful to personnel, or exposure to the room atmosphere may be harmful to the product.

Glove boxes, generally, are purged with N2, Ar or CDA to form an inert boundary. They are widely used in the semiconductor/electronic component metalworking, nuclear and crystal manufacturing industries.  Many glove box problems are unique. Gases and residual products can produce aggressive chemicals. In some instances, sensors have required bi-weekly recalibration and a 3–6-month replacement. Most glove box applications, however, are much easier with normal sensor lifetimes expected.

Sensors are normally installed directly into the box. Our preference is to mount the sensor in a sample cell on the discharge point (there is normally a continuous bleed on glove boxes) to minimize the chance of physical damage.  Learn more on oxygen monitor sensors.

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Fenceline, Air & Flare Gas Monitoring

Fenceline, Air & Flare Gas Monitoring

Environmental Applications for Real-Time Mass Spectrometer Gas Analyzers

By Chuck Decarlo, Business Development & Marketing Manager

See how the recent updates to 40 CFR 60 and 63 have increased EPA regulation of flare gas and fenceline monitoring requirements is prompting the need to adopt real-time gas analysis solutions at many sites, ranging from oil refineries to downstream hydrocarbon manufacturing.

Industrial mass spectrometers provide fast, continuous updates of the necessary compliance parameters as well as additional information for overall process safety and control. This presentation showed many examples and data from fenceline, flare gas, fuel gas and air monitoring environmental applications using a real-time, mass spectrometer gas analyzer.

Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that utilizes the molecular mass of substances for identification and quantitation. Gas and vapors are ionized inside a vacuum chamber. The ions are then filtered using electric fields generated by the quadrupole. Ions of a particular mass are selected to go to the detector. The composition of the gas sample is calculated from measured ion current and reported to the user in real-time.

By its very nature, a mass spectrometer is a generalist: there is no class of molecules that is unable to analyze and it’s fast.   Also, if you have to measure 80 or 100 sample points spread throughout your facility that would mean many dedicated analyzers, and all of the required maintenance.  A mass spec can do it all.

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NEW O2CX Combustibles Analyzer

New Combustion Optimization Gas Analyzer Launched by Process Insights

A new, compact process, in-situ gas analyzer from Process Insights, measuring both combustibles (COe) and oxygen (O2), provides fast, optimal combustion control for many applications like refining and petrochemical, power, and steam generation, and in furnace and kilns.

Our COSA Xentaur O2CX allows the process to operate safely with a lower excess air ratio, which translates into higher fuel efficiencies. With greater accuracy and sensitivity below 10% O2, the O2CX doesn’t require dilution air, unlike others.  Measuring combustible gas components, oxygen and COe, reliably minimizes safety issues.  Measuring in-situ directly has many advantages and is ideal for process heaters, steam boilers, thermal oxidizers, and furnace optimization.

In addition, installation and service is easy, as the flow guidance tube design allows the sensors to be located near to the back of the transmitter, making for service and maintenance without the need to remove the entire assembly from the stack. The probe provides for both direct and continuous dual readings of oxygen and COe.

The COSA Xentaur O2CX is also versatile for various mounting requirements or difficult applications, including high temperature, dust, or hazardous installations.

Jim Belanger, VP Sales and Marketing – Americas, Process Insights said “Enabling engineers and plant operators to access these previously unachievable air levels is a significant benefit. Combined with improved sensors, superior design and better combustion performance, the COSA Xentaur O2CX gives our customers continuous, reliable gas measurements with greater accuracy and lower maintenance costs.”


Welcome COSA Xentaur

Welcome COSA Xentaur


BOSTON, MA – December 4, 2017.   Process Insights, a portfolio company of Union Park Capital, today announced the acquisition of COSA Xentaur Corporation (“COSA Xentaur”), a leading provider of sensors and analytical instrumentation for process measurement applications.  COSA Xentaur, the inaugural acquisition in Union Park’s newly created Process Insights Holdings, will represent the firm’s third platform investment, accompanying the already existing Industrial Physics Holdings and KPM Analytics Holdings family of companies.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1982 by Christoph Mueller, COSA Xentaur combines the strength of over 30 years of experience in providing innovation measurement solutions for a wide range of industrial applications in petrochemical, energy, environmental, pharmaceutical, semiconductor and plastics industries.   
“We are truly excited to be joining the Union Park Capital family,” says Craig Allshouse, who will remain as President at COSA Xentaur.  “With Union Park, we will be able to continue to leverage our deep, market specific technical experience and application knowledge while continuing to bring innovative solutions to the market” he continued.
COSA Xentaur product and technology portfolio includes moisture and dew point measurement, laboratory based analytical instrumentation, laser-based technology, NMR technology, and BTU analyzers.  Through its highly advanced products and intelligent solutions, COSA Xentaur delivers, highly accurate, robust and cost-effective instrumentation systems for industrial process measurement and analysis. 
“COSA is an exceptionally innovative and technical company” notes Morgan Jones, Managing Partner of Union Park Capital.  “As an investment firm, we only invest in high quality instrumentation businesses solving unique industry problems.  Over the years, we’ve observed thousands of related companies, and COSA Xentaur stands out with world class measurement solutions. We are thrilled to start Process Insights, our third theme, with the acquisition of COSA Xentaur,” said Morgan.

About COSA Xentaur Corporation  

COSA Xentaur Corporation was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Yahpank, NY with additional offices in Houston, TX and Hanau, Germany.  COSA Xentaur has a direct sales team in the US and Germany and a network of global distributors serving a worldwide customer base.  For more information visit www.cosaxentaur.com.

About Union Park Capital

Union Park Capital is a private equity firm solely focused on lower middle-market industrial technology companies.   Union Park takes a long-term perspective to help stakeholders build value over time, and drives value creation through profitably growing a business, not financial engineering.   Union Park Capital is based in Boston, MA and has extensive investments and expertise in the analytical instrumentation sector.  For more information, visit www.union-park.com.

COSA Xentaur

Process Insights

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