As we announced on Tuesday, 3M is integrating Scott Safety into their impressive arsenal of safety equipment. Today I’m going to explore their line of gas and flame detection products. Before we go exploring it’s worth asking what exactly these products do. How does one “detect” gas or flame, and what does it matter? What’s the difference between these products and the thermal imagers we saw before? Thermal imaging is for when the fire is already in progress. These products are designed to head dangerous situations off at the pass and prevent fires from breaking out in the first place. Let’s start with gas detection.
Different gas detectors have different capabilities, intended for various environments and situations. For example, there’s the Protege Multi-Gas Monitor. It looks like a Tamagotchi from the 90’s, but this is a sophisticated piece of tech that can save lives. With the bush of a button it can analyze the atmosphere in a space to determine if hazardous gases and fumes are present. It can also analyze oxygen and carbon monoxide levels to determine the breathability of the air. OSHA uses devices like this to determine if respiratory protection is required (by law) in a given work area. These devices have to be unbelievably precise, and the craftsmen at Scott hold their products to that high standard. It can be hooked up to a computer and calibrated to your specifications. The single-gas version of the Protege comes with thirteen different “chemical sensors” that plug into the device one at a time to detect a particular gas. It’s slightly lower tech with fewer bells and whistles, but the same great performance.
Flame detection is a bit more arcane. Flame detection systems are similar to a smoke or heat detector in someone’s home, but far more advanced. The Flame Vision FV282f+, for example, uses triple infrared (IR3) sensing to verify and reverify the presence of a fire within seconds of it starting, minimizing false alarms. It’s ideal for areas with flammable chemicals that can ignite suddenly and burn rapidly, a process which usually creates massive amounts of dark smoke in a very short time. It comes with a CCTV camera built in that can send a live feed of the room to a security monitor, providing a visual of the situation (at least until the entire room is black with smoke). There’s also the FV-40, which has seven different models: IR1, IR3, multi IR, UV, UV/IR2.5, UV/IR4.5, and ultra-fast UV/IR. Which model you choose depends on many factors, such as the dimensions of a room, the potential fire hazards present, budget, etc. Standard UV, for example, can detect organic and inorganic flames (depending on the flammable material) but trades a slightly higher false alarm rate than the UV/IR models in favor of higher reaction speed.
This is just a taste of Scott Safety’s top-tier gas and flame detection products, which provide specific services that I haven’t known 3M to provide (though the conglomerate is vast, so they could very well have products like this already). The Scott brand is strong enough that a merger with 3M is a no-brainer, and the partnership will surely be a fruitful one, for them and us!