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Crowcon F-Gas Detector for SF6 – Ideal for GIS Switchgear

13 August 2015

Crowcon F-gas detectors lower total cost of ownership by providing fast, stable and dependable performance with infrared technology.  Unlike semi-conductor type sensors, infrared is not affected by changes in temperature or interference by other gases.  Crowcon’s superior IR sensor is able to provide stable and reliable performance and low maintenance, making Crowcon F-gas detectors more cost effective in the long run. 

The Crowcon F-gas detector for sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) is ideal for GIS switchgear applications.

To ensure a safe, reliable electricity supply, facilities like offshore platforms, industrial plants and hydro power plants, gas insulated switchgear (GIS) may be used if there are safety or space constraints that mean that air insulated switchgear (AIS) is not a suitable alternative. The SF6 used in GIS is a much better insulator and spark quenching gas than air, and as a result, switchgear with SF6 has become increasingly popular and cost effective during the last 20 years. Indeed, when it comes to high-voltage switchgear (above 52 kV), there are, currently, few viable alternatives to SF6 in its switching role.

In EU regulation 842/2006, leakage control and regular checks on fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) usage are mandated. Effective monitoring and detection of these gases is essential. SF6 has a very high Global Warming Potential (GWP), 22,200 times higher than CO2. Therefore, a small amount in the atmosphere can have a large effect on global temperatures. 

Although it is generally not considered toxic, SF6 has an short term exposure limit of 1000ppm. Because it is so heavy in comparison to air, it is also considered by some to present a substantial suffocation risk, because once inhaled, it is hard to expel from the lungs. Leakage can also mean a substantial economic cost to the industry, since F-gases are very costly chemicals to replace. 

The Crowcon F-gas Detector utilises a high quality infrared (IR) sensor specifically calibrated to detect the F-gases commonly in use.  The tri-coloured LEDs that indicate the operating status make it is easy to operate.  Push-button controls facilitate simple adjustments like zeroing and calibration. 

The product requires very little maintenance; a bi-annual gas check can be quickly and easily performed using the keypad and indicator. Housed within an IP54 rugged enclosure, as part of a compliance system, these F-gas Detectors are usually connected to a building control system. 

The output signal can be set to suit virtually any control system.  It operates from 24Vdc nominally, and provides a 4-20mA signal.  There are no consumable parts within the detector, and it thus can be expected to provide many years of service.

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