ExRobotics commercially develops robotics technology for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, typically found at oil and gas production and processing facilities. These industries and their sites are often found in remote locations within harsh environments, but even regular sites require regular inspection work and monitoring capabilities. Therefore, deploying Ex-certified robots can have a positive impact on safety by minimizing worker field trips, which in turn significantly reduces operating costs.

The ExRobotics ExR-1 robot is fitted with cameras for visual inspection, microphones for sound monitoring and gas detectors for leak detection. It transmits an alarm to the control room when a leak is detected. Autonomously navigating through terrain and installations, the machine has the capacity to find its way back to its docking station to recharge. This allows operators and inspectors to minimize their visits to remote and/or hazardous locations while improving their work safety.

The robots are used in the oil and gas industry mainly for first response, fugitive emission and preventative maintenance. More stringent fugitive emission regulations and the subsequent opening of new markets have created the need for a fixed gas detection instrument that could be incorporated into the remotely operated ExR-1 robot. The ION Science Falco VOC monitor was recommended due to the results of extensive performance tests and trials at a large refinery, resulting in the Falco coming out on top. When ExRobotics did their own testing, they found the PID instrument to be robust and reliable.

ION Science’s Falco demonstrates rapid response times and multiple state-of-the-art design features. The instrument’s typhoon technology promotes anti-condensation on the sensor, making it perfect for use in high humidity and harsh weather conditions. Easy to operate, the Falco’s intrinsically safe sensor is externally located, enabling quick and easy servicing without the requirement for a hot work permit. The Falco PID introduces ION Science’s patented Fence Electrode Technology, which practically eliminates the effects of airborne humidity and ensures anti-contamination. This instrument ensures complete reliability and accuracy in the field while limiting drift issues and prolonging run time. There are eight models in the Falco series offering detection ranges as low as 0 – 10 ppm with parts per billion (ppb) sensitivity or as high as 0 – 3000 ppm. The Falco’s certified flame and explosion-proof enclosure is certified to EX d IIC T4 II and the external sensor to EX ib IIC T4 Gb II. A 4 – 20 mA analog output enables easy integration of the device into a DCS control system, providing warning or control of high VOC levels in the working environment. Two relay outputs mean that it can be remotely connected, plus RS485 output with Modbus protocol included as standard facilitates network connectivity.

ExRobotics found that the key advantages of the Falco PID are flexibility of communication channels, adequate power requirements and most importantly to them, certification. ExRobotics supplied the only Ex robot for this kind of application, making it a vital instrument that was accredited for use in hazardous zones and atmospheres. Importantly, the Falco is also able to detect those VOCs commonly found in the oil industry and offers high sensitivity to a broad range of gases. The functionality of the Falco allows the user to interface with an OLED display and five magnetically activated LED switches – up, down, left, right and enter – which are back-lit to verify the correct button is being pressed. For further convenience and simplicity, the device features red, amber and optional pulsing green status indicators that are clearly displayed in sunlight, allowing checks to be performed from a distance of up to 20 meters.

ION Science is a leading gas detection and prevention company offering a variety of solutions across a vast amount of applications. To learn more information about products offered by ION Science for gas and leak detection, view our products page. For more information about our Falco instrument, gas detection, solutions for your application, or if you have a question for us, contact ION Science today.