Air Pressure Monitoring for a Chemical Fume Hood
Date Published: April 16, 2012
Accsense A1-01a Pressure and Temperature Data Loggers
CAS DataLoggers recently provided the pressure and temperature datalogging solution to a manufacturer using a chemical fume hood to protect workers by containing vapors, dusts, gases, and fumes, and then expelling them as air flowed into the hood from the front (open) side of the cabinet and then out via the ducted hood exhaust system. Designed for 2 operators, the fume hood had a Fiberglas Reinforced Polyester liner and shielded workers with a sash containing harmful aerosols and preventing injury from chemical spills, fires, or minor explosions. The fume hood used a specialized scrubber ducted hood which absorbed the fumes through a chamber filled with plastic which was then saturated with water. The chemicals were washed into a sump and the fumes dispersed into the atmosphere. Management began searching for a general purpose wireless datalogging solution to monitor the lab room’s pressure differential, which had to be negative to the space outside the room. This system needed to feature 4-20mA inputs to connect with commercial pressure transducers and also feature an ambient temperature sensor. Additionally, the manufacturer required an alarm to instantly contact staff whenever the differential pressure changed so that equipment could be serviced or replaced without delay.
Management installed 2 Accsense A1-01a Wireless Environmental Data Logger Pods, one in the chemical fume hood’s control panel and another in the room immediately outside the lab door. An Accsense B1-06 Wireless Data Logger Gateway featuring built-in 10/100BaseT Ethernet enabled online connection with the pods’ data. Both wireless pods were then connected to pressure transducers to efficiently record the differential pressure.
The Accsense environmental sensor pods began monitoring the pressure in both rooms using their external 4-20mA and 0-5V inputs, and the lab room’s pod recorded ambient temperature using its internal temperature sensor. The Accsense installation was hassle-free and had virtually no impact on the manufacturer’s existing infrastructure since all the data was immediately sent out to the Web. The system’s operation was both simple and intuitive, so there was no need for time-intensive training sessions. The data loggers could operate on either battery or AC power and also featured 2 digital inputs as well as a +5Vdc output to power external sensors. The Accsense wireless gateway could support as many as 16 sensor pods as well as DHCP and static IP addressing. The pods and gateway ranged out to 250 ft. and 90 ft. indoors, and the pods could be used as repeaters to extend their signals. A 250-sample data buffer allowed the pods to compensate in the event of a power or internet outage.
The Accsense wireless system also provided the lab with cloud-based data storage and reporting for effortless alarming and archiving. Utilizing the wireless gateway, the pods continually monitored the fume cupboard’s pressure and temperature data, giving management remote access to data in real-time. The gateway could send all the data to the secure ‘Rackspace’ cloud server or as a local ASCII stream, which personnel could then incorporate into their own custom software including LabView. Once online, data could be downloaded as a manageable CSV file and loaded into most database applications. Advanced alarms monitored the incoming data and sent email, pager or phone warnings to multiple addressees whenever an alarm was triggered. The company’s Accsense online account gave instant access to charts showing all measurement history with ranges as narrow as 5 minutes or as wide as 90 days, and also offered a customizable interface with a dashboard showing the most recent measurements from all sensor pods.
The manufacturer successfully implemented effective pressure monitoring in its lab area following installation of the Accsense A1-01a Wireless Environmental Data Logger Pods. Continually monitoring the pressure ensured safer operation inside and outside the lab, and working conditions were further improved with the Accsense system’s powerful alarm capabilities which immediately notified all parties when the differential pressure or temperature went out of specification. Implementation of this system was simplified with no need for IT department involvement or training sessions.
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