Gas Detection

Understanding Gas Detector Performance Specifications

Jul 19 2006

Author: Robert E. Henderson on behalf of BW Technologies by Honeywell

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Manufacturer specifications for gas detectors can be both a blessing and a curse when purchasing an instrument. Understanding the vocabulary used by the manufacturer to describe performance is critical. The most prudent approach includes field evaluation prior to purchase. Performance specifications published by manufacturers are a valuable tool for would-be purchasers. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a practiced eye to interpret specifications when comparing one instrument design to another. The most significant problem is the terminology used by a particular manufacturer. While some terms are straightforward and fully accepted throughout the industry, other terms have specific meanings to a particular manufacturer. Conservative firms tend to minimize performance capabilities in written specifications, preferring to err on the side of caution. Less conservative specifications may be based on “best case” performance. The best advice is to conduct a field trial prior to purchase! There is no substitute for hands-on experience.

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