High performance FalcoTAC and Titan fixed instruments offer fast and reliable detection of benzene

When the coronavirus lockdowns eventually end, air pollution could return with a vengeance and human exposure to benzene has been associated with a range of acute and long-term adverse health effects and diseases, including cancer and aplastic anaemia. Leading manufacturer of gas detection instrumentation for occupational health and environmental monitoring applications, ION Science is helping to protect employees and the public from exposure to this harmful volatile organic compound (VOC) with its high performance fixed photoionisation detectors (PIDs).

Benzene, also known as benzol, is a common VOC identified by its unique numerical CAS2 number 71-42-2. It is also a hydrocarbon and belongs to the Benzene, Toulene, Ethylbenzene & Xylene (BTEX) family of aromatics.  It is a highly flammable colourless to light yellow liquid which occurs naturally in crude oil, natural gas and some ground waters.

Benzene is found in ambient air as a result of burning fuels, such as coal, petrol and wood, plus is common in unleaded fuel, where it is added as a substitute for lead. It is also found in cigarette smoke.

Workers can be exposed to benzene in a wide range of industries, including oil refineries, chemical and petrochemical plants, coke works, foundries and the storage, distribution and use of petrol or benzene itself.

As well as inhalation, benzene can be absorbed into the body through the skin or by swallowing material containing it. The effect on worker’s health depends on how much benzene they are exposed to and for how long. As with other organic solvents, the immediate effects of a single exposure to a high concentration (hundreds of parts per millions) include headache, tiredness, nausea, dizziness and even unconsciousness if the exposure is very high.

It is advisable to use an appropriate form of quantitative monitoring and ION Science offers several fixed instruments including its world first FalcoTAC fixed PID with 10.0eV lamp offers fast and reliable detection of high toxic aromatic compounds (TACs), including benzene, in high humidity environments.

Designed for plant wide safety and the on-going protection of workers in global petrochemical and oil and gas applications, the new FalcoTAC instrument also boasts the company’s innovative typhoon technology for unrivalled accuracy in condensing atmospheres and extreme weather conditions.

Utilising ION Science’s proprietary high output 10.0eV detection system, the FalcoTAC VOC monitor offers a detection range of 0.01 – 50 parts per million (ppm), fast response times and the best possible protection for plant personnel, giving early warning of exposure to harmful levels of benzene.

Simple to install and operate, the FalcoTAC features an external intrinsically safe sensor for quick and easy servicing without the need for a hot work permit and can be serviced and calibrated in a hazardous environment without having to remove the power.

ION Science’s advanced typhoon technology prevents condensation forming on the sensor which helps to stop the FalcoTAC short circuiting and make it ideal for harsh conditions and wet outdoor environments, without the need for weather enclosures.

FalcoTAC is operated via an intuitive user interface with OLED display and five magnetically activated switches – up, down, left, right and enter – which are back lit to confirm to the user that the correct button is being pressed. For added convenience, safety and ease of use, super bright traffic light coloured red, amber and optional pulsing green status indicators are clearly visible in sunlight allowing checks to be conducted from a distance.

As the world’s first continuous, real-time benzene specific monitor, ION Science’s wall-mounted ‘Titan’ is capable of providing fast, accurate and reliable monitoring of ambient benzene in a wide variety of applications both on site, in process areas or along a boundary or fence line. Providing significant value for money, it tracks exposure in real-time and automatically logs data.

Traditional PIDs identify benzene as well as other less harmful VOCs often present at the same time. Incorporating the well proven ION Science MiniPID 2 technology, the highly sensitive Titan samples and analyzes the environment to provide continuous feedback of ambient benzene levels. When a sample is taken, the benzene component is chemically filtered using a robust separation technology.

Featuring a clear display, Titan provides users with an immediate warning alarm system when hazardous levels of benzene are detected. It offers two relays with configurable levels to integrate into site alarm systems and PLCs. Beacons and sounders are used as an alarm signal to give a clear indication when benzene levels are present.

Data is stored internally and remotely connects to a PC. The continuous, real-time measurement facilitates the analysis of trends and allows activity levels to be accurately identified. Designed to operate in conditions ranging from -4 ºF up to 140 ºF, ‘Titan’ is unaffected by changes in ambient temperature.

Modular in design, ‘Titan’ is easy to service and can run for up to six months at a time without intervention. Working parts can be easily removed and serviced or replaced by another inter-changable ‘plug and play’ service module. It also provides removal of particulate contamination in the air stream to provide long-term service free sampling.

Like all ION Science PIDs, Titan utilizes the company’s unique patented Fence Electrode technology for unrivalled resistance to humidity and contamination, making it ideal for extended operation in harsh environments. It is designed to IP65 and meets UL / CSA / ATEX / IECEx hazardous area safety approvals.