The Environics, Inc. Post
As most of you know, last week marked the last day for our long-time Service Manager, Paul. After 22 years with Environics, he is moving and starting a new chapter in his life. We will all miss him and wish him the very best!
With service on our minds, I bring to you today a few of the more commonly asked questions from our customers. If you have a question, you can always reach us via our website, email or by phone.
My system locked up. What should I do?
I replaced the system batteries and now I see odd characters on the screen. Help!
In both of these cases, the system needs to be reinitialized to factory settings using the system configuration data provided with the system. Tech Bulletin 104 outlines how to proceed. If you've misplaced your system's data, you can request a copy online.
I'm not getting flow but I can hear the solenoids clicking on. What should I do?
The instrument's configuration data may be corrupted. Tech Bulletin 107 will walk you through how to confirm the calibration data is in error and show you how to restore it.
SERIES 6100 OR 9100
I want to recalibrate my ozone generator. What should I do?
If you are interested in doing this calibration and have the necessary equipment, Tech Bulletin 106 (9100) and Tech Bulletin 114 (6100) will guide you step by step through the process. Be sure to read through all of the notes on preparing the system prior to calibration.
As a US-based company, we are often asked where we ship internationally. Both direct and through distributors and reps, we sell worldwide.
Here is a map of the locations our units have shipped from us over the past few years (the blue pointers are our distributors).
Are you using an Environics system in a location that isn't marked? Let us know so we can add you to the map!
Just for fun, here is a look at an ad from 1988, when Environics was just 2 years old. It features our discontinued Series 200, which was replaced by our Series 2000 and Series 4000 gas mixers.
Often, customers come to us looking for a gas flow management system to fit a very particular set of criteria. In some cases, this requires just minor customization of a current Environics model. In other cases, a completely unique design is required. Today, I share with you one interesting example. Although I focus on the first system we designed, we have since made similar systems for other customers whose needs parallel these.
Our customer needed to dilute explosive gases at high concentrations in order to calibrate gas detectors. After working with our sales and engineering teams, we designed and built a modified version of our Series 4040 gas dilution system which included a dual chassis design.
The electronics enclosure includes the power supply and PC boards for controlling the Mass Flow Controllers (MFC) and direct acting solenoid valves in the second enclosure. The electronics enclosure connects to a computer via a 9 pin serial port connector and cable. The 4040 software, on the computer, communicates with the microcomputer board inside the electronics enclosure.
The second enclosure is sealed and houses the MFCs, valves and components to support the enclosure purge. A continuous purge flows through the enclosure while it is running. This serves two purposes. The first is to carry out heat built up by the internal components. The second is to dilute any potential leaks that may develop. The gas plumbing inside this enclosure was vacuum leak tested to 1X10-8 ATM CC/SEC He.
In addition to continuous purge flow, the enclosure is pressurized to approximately 5” H20 while running the enclosure purge. This provides and indicator that the purge is activated as well as preventing any air leaks into the enclosure from outside. A safety vent was added to vent the enclosure to atmosphere if the pressure inside the enclosure reaches 20” H20. This could happen if for some reason the purge vent becomes blocked or the pressure on the purge rotameter is too high.
The two enclosures are connected electrically via two control cables labeled MFCs and VALVES. An earth ground wire is connected from the electronics chassis to the aluminum mounting plate inside the purged enclosure. This safely discharges any static electricity that can build up in a system with flow.
Have a similar need? You can contact us at (860) 872-1111 or here for more information.
From time to time, we like to showcase the research of our customers. Our team is always interested in learning more about the huge variety of research projects and discoveries made in labs using Environics systems.
Recently, we received a note from Ying Wang at the University of Connecticut on a research project utilizing an Environics 4000 gas mixing system. Ying is a member of Dr. Yu Lei's lab in the department of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering. The lab has two main areas of study. First is the development of various (bio)sensors, whose uses range from the diagnosis, drug discovery, screening and food safety, and pollutant monitoring. Recent work has also involved the detection of biological and chemical agents. The second focus is the synthesis of nanostructured materials and their application, with the goal of developing new nanomaterials that can be applied to the fields of sensing and biosensing.
A recent paper published in RSC advances, the researchers utilized their Environics system in the fabrication and testing of a sensor device which featured a aligned CuO nanowires capable of H2S detection. Sensitivity was examined under a variety of conditions, including levels between 10 to 1000 ppb and temperatures from 25 to 420 °C. The CuO nanowire sensor showed a detection limit of 2.5 ppb and a linear response range of 10 ppb to 100 ppb.
Have an interesting project using your Environics system? Share it with us and you may be the included in our next focus!
(image source: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2012/RA/c2ra00718e)
Over the past year, I have written several times about the effects of hypoxia, including a video, which showed not only how hypoxia may present itself, but how the hypoxic person may be oblivious to the effects. I also shared information regarding the use of the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD2), and how this system is used in military training to allow pilots to better prepare and understand the symptoms of hypoxia. You can read more here and here.
Today, I wanted to share an interesting study from the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Aviation Survival Training Center, Naval Survival Training Institute, Naval Operational Medicine Institute in Washington. The researchers were attempting to determine how effectively the ROBD (the earlier version of the ROBD2) reflected the reported symptoms of hypoxia when compared to in-flight occurrences.
The researchers began by surveying 566 aviators with a 20 question, anonymous survey about their flight experiences with hypoxia PRIOR to ROBD training. The survey included basic demographic questions followed by questions regarding in-flight hypoxia symptoms they may have experienced. For those who responded that they had experienced hypoxic symptoms in flight, additional questions were asked regarding which symptoms they had experienced.
A second group of 156 pilots were surveyed, also anonymously, following ROBD training at a simulated altitude of 25,000 ft (following the Navy's standard training protocols). Again, the survey included demographic questions as well as questions regarding any symptoms of hypoxia they may have experienced during the training.
Once the data was collected, the results were analyzed using a variety of means (including Chi-square analysis (alpha=0.05), Fischer’s exact test (alpha=0.05), and incident
risk ratios). I won't review all of the data and analysis, but some of the key findings are reviewed below.
For those surveyed regarding in-flight symptoms:
20% reported hypoxia symptoms at an average altitude of just over 25,000 ft
Of those who had experienced in-flight symptoms, over half (57%) were not wearing an oxygen mask when the symptoms started and only 21% reported the experience in naval aviation hazard reports (HAZREPs).
The most common symptoms reported were tingling, difficulty concentrating and dizziness.
When comparing the results of the two surveys, the researchers found:
5 of the 16 symptoms listed on the surveys had statistically significant differences in the reported levels (tingling, difficulty concentrating, air hunger, blurred vision, and lights dimming.
For the other 11 of the 16 symptoms, there was NO significant difference between the frequency reported during in-flight experiences and ROBD2 training experiences.
The authors conclude that some of the symptoms differences found may be minimized with some of the updates in the ROBD2, and that additional customization may reduce these still further. Regardless, they state, "Ultimately, the authors recommend the continued use
of ROBD as an operationally focused and seemingly valid training tool," recommending it be used as part of a total program which includes instruction on both the similarities and potential differences between training symptoms and in-flight symptoms.
To read the full article, click here (there is a fee for download. AsMA members have free access).
This is an nice review of the history of meat packaging using modified atmosphere packaging in recent years. Specifically, it reviews the shift to pre-packed vs on site packaged meats. If you are interested in cost-effective gas mixing systems for use in packaging, check out our gas mixers.
Several months ago, I shared some information about the effects of hypoxia. I included a video, which showed not only how hypoxia may present itself, but how the hypoxic person may be oblivious to the effects. I also shared information regarding the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD2), a system manufactured solely by Environics under a Navy patent, and how this system is used in military training to allow practical training with lower expense. You can review these articles here and here.
To refresh your memory, hypoxia is a condition brought on due to inadequate oxygen and the symptoms can include any combination of the following symptoms: dizziness, tingling in the skin, headache, racing heart, changes in vision, and bluish tint to the lips. Military personnel are not the only people who experience hypoxic conditions though. In a study presented at the 2010 ASMA conference, researchers examined the use of the ROBD2 on a sample group of 36 civilians ("The Use of the Reduced Oxygen Breathing Device (ROBD) in a General Civilian Sample, Pulse Oximetry Means and Ranges," a presentation of research by Leonard A. Temme, Ph.D. and David L. Still, O.D., Ph.D. of U. S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, Dennis Reeves, Ph.D., and Rebecca Browning, B.S. of Clinvest, Banyan Group, Inc.; full presentation available here).
Civilians who are most likely to experience hypoxia include those flying in private or commercial aircraft, undergoing aviation training, using hypoxia training strategies for athletic improvements and Travel/tourism.
The researchers found that:
• Pulse rate increased with ROBD simulated altitude
• % blood oxygen between-subject variability increases with ROBD
• Pulse rate between-subject variability unaffected by ROBD simulated
• BMI positively correlated with pulse rate @ all altitudes
• BMI inversely correlated with %O2 at 8,000 and 12,000 ft
In summary, the study found that the ROBD2 could successfully be used for civilian training and "does what it says it does." The only alteration made was to replace the military style respirator with a non-military equivalent.
Today we conclude our four part series, "Accurate Calibration Gas Using MFC Based Dynamic Gas Blenders." Tom wraps up by looking at the responsibility of the end user in maintaining the accuracy chain.
The responsibility of maintaining accuracy lies with the end-user and owner of the gas blender. Input gases fed into any gas blender should be clean and free of moisture. Most anhydrous gases are inert to the standard materials used in a gas blender. However, in the presence of moisture, anhydrous gases can become corrosive. Contamination can develop over time and, if contaminants are carried downstream into the MFC, they can render the MFCs inaccurate. Contamination on the sensor tube walls reduces the effectiveness of the heat transfer between gas and sensor tube and may also block the small inner diameter of the tube, often rendering the MFC completely inoperable. NOTE: Make sure that all gas ports are capped when they are not in use. This ensures that moisture, particulates, and other airborne contaminants will not enter the system plumbing.
When possible, cylinders with 100 percent pure gases should be used. A premixed gas can be the first source of contaminants that lead to errors in the gas blending system.
When uncertified cylinders of premixed gases are used, very large errors can be introduced; a dynamic gas blender cannot compensate for these errors. When there is no choice other than to use a premixed gas, certified cylinders should be used for instrument calibration procedures, especially when guidelines or regulations mandate it.
The most important responsibility incumbent upon the end-user is that he follows all manufacturer-prescribed maintenance and calibration procedures stipulated for that equipment. Even if guidelines and regulations do not mandate calibration of the gas blender used to produce the calibration mixture, the dynamic blender should be calibrated on a periodic basis—typically once every year. Following all these simple guidelines will ensure a long and accurate life of an MFC-based dynamic gas blender.
We hope you found this series informative. To download the full article, please click the button below.
(an excerpt from "Using mass flow controller-based dynamic gas blenders to produce accurate calibration gas," written by Director of Engineering Tom Bamford for Specialty Gas Report)