Friday 12 October 2012

Reducing the cost of oxygen analysis in reactor applications

Pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals are typically produced in batches by mixing several components in a reactor. When the ingredients are mixed with solvents, the void between the top of the reactor and the liquid level can be filled with highly flammable vapours. When combined with oxygen and a potential source of ignition, there can be a risk of explosion.

One way of ensuring that the mixture of air and solvent vapours stays below flammable levels is to use a nitrogen purge. By accurately monitoring the oxygen level in the reactor, the nitrogen feed can be shut down when the O2 level is safe. By ensuring that this level is not exceeded, operational costs are reduced while ensuring that safe operation is maintained.

The Michell Instruments XTP601 oxygen sensor is ideal for this application. Based on thermo-paramagnetic sensor technology, it is ideally suited for determining the level of oxygen in a wide range of background gases. The sensor will operate efficiently under various environmental conditions and is insensitive to mechanical shock. It has very good response time characteristics, has no consumable parts and offers excellent accuracy, for example, 0.02% O2 over a range of 0-1%.

The thermo-paramagnetic sensors used in the XTP601 will last the life of the instrument in normal operation. Features include enhancements such as an integrated touch-screen display that makes configuration and calibration easier. This reduces time spent maintaining the unit, further reducing the total cost of ownership.

It has a very low drift and, with no moving parts, maintenance is minimised. While the initial purchase price is slightly higher than sensors based on electrochemical cell technology, life cycle costs are much lower. This makes the XTP601 process oxygen analyser a popular choice for O2 monitoring in reactors.

Michell Instruments is represented in Ireland by Instrument Technology.

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