Health & Safety
Foam Manufacturer Installs New Isocyanate Monitoring System
Sep 13 2017
A1-cbiss have installed a new continuous isocyanate monitoring system which will provide audible and visual alarms to help keep workers safe from isocyanate gases at a foam manufacturing plant.
As part of the production of foams, the foam manufacturing operation uses large quantities of Isocyanates that are held as liquids in large, stainless steel tanks. One of the most common forms of isocyanates is toluene diisocyanate (TDI).
TDI is a liquid at room temperature, and can cause asthma-like conditions when inhaled as an aerosol. Prolonged exposure to concentrations of TDI can rapidly affect lung function. Short-term exposure to TDI can cause coughing, tightness of the chest, chest pains as well as skin irritation and eye irritation.
The site’s Environment Agency (EA) permit requires monitoring of the Isocyanates levels, but not continuously. However, the plant manager decided that he wanted to have continuous monitoring to help keep their employees as safe as possible which was above and beyond what the EA required.
An a1-cbiss gas detection engineer carried out a complete site survey to evaluate a number of parameters including; the location of a potential leak, the potential rate of gas leak, the direction it would leak in, alarm thresholds and communication outputs.
Given the number of risks that the production and storage areas presented to workers, the site survey concluded that continuous area monitoring was required to protect workers. Isocyanate monitoring equipment is needed to log levels of gases and activate an alarm once the alarm threshold is met. In some cases, machines can be switched off to restrict gas production.
The alarms would need to be seen by all workers so they could begin the evacuation procedure. The management team also required access to data logs for reporting purposes.
Colorimetric technology is the recognised technology to measure isocyanates. Upon detection of the target gas, a chemical reaction between the gas and cassette-like paper tape creates a chemically impregnated colour stain, which in turn is analysed by a sophisticated optical system, converting the colour stain into a ppb measurement.
A1-cbiss recommended the DOD ChemLogic Continuous Gas Monitor (CL1) because it was highly appropriate for this application.
A1-cbiss suggested that the site install several monitors at various points within the facility - at the production lines, the exhaust stacks and also in the TDI tank room.
A1-cbiss, experienced in system integration sent an installation team to site to install the CL1 monitors in accordance with the sites safety needs.
The client purchased CDAS Net which is an advanced data acquisition and reporting software designed by a1-cbiss. CDAS is connected to both the CL1 monitors and the central computer via Ethernet to control the alarms and produce data fed reports.
The ease and flexibility of CDAS allows user defined profiles to be created allowing several of these profiles to exist at once. A1-cbiss have created a profile for the clients management team giving them access to all the historical data and run reports without the shop floor workers seeing them.
The secondary profile is displayed using CDAS on a large 55” screen on the shop floor. The screen can be seen by all workers giving them the confidence that they are working in a safe environment. It also allows maintenance issues to be noticed and dealt with quicker.
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