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Underground gas monitoring

Gas detector

The new fixed gas detector
launched to the mining sector.

Dangerous gases that pose lifethreatening risks to underground miners are now easier to detect due to new technology developed by MSA Africa. The Johannesburg based company has launched the Ultima X3, a fixed gas detector that can continuously monitor any three toxic and combustible gases simultaneously.

This technology allows three sensors to be linked to one Ultima X gas monitor, and provides a ModBus RTU output. Each sensor can be placed up to 3,000 feet away from the monitor without any interference.

MSA product manager Emmanuel Kwena Manaka explains: “This is a unique product with technology that has not been seen anywhere else in the world. The sensors are available in three forms; namely electrochemical, catalytic, and infrared, making it a perfect match for all applications and industries.”

The Ultima X3 is currently being used at a coal mine in Mpumalanga, where first three units in the country have been installed, with another nine due to be delivered later in the year.

“The product is suited to a coal mine to detect any serious leakage. When batteries are being charged, they emit hydrogen, and due to the underground environment of the coal mine there is a risk of methane and, of course, carbon monoxide needs to be monitored too. The minute the concentration of any gas goes above a certain level it will cut off the charger,” Manaka says.

Additional benefits of the Ultima X3 include multi-sensing; 31 monitors can each be fitted with up to three sensors, allowing for a total of 93 sensors, as well as a scrolling display whereby the monitor scrolls through type and reading for all sensors attached.

As with all gas monitors, the Ultima X series must be calibrated periodically with the gas of interest to ensure that the unit is operating correctly. The calibration process offers the following advantages: automatic adjustments, date stamping, calibration instructions displayed on monitor, selectable lockout of output signal during calibration, and the ability to calibrate at the installation location or remotely without systems interruption.