Met Tech World Expo 2016

Munro Instruments will be exhibiting at this year’s Meteorological Technology World Expo in Madrid.  Taking place 27th – 29th September, this show is an excellent opportunity to see the latest meteorological developments in action.  Register for free tickets here.

This year Munro Instruments will be showcasing two recent product innovations: our Ambient Air Monitoring System (AAMS) and our WindDAS Data Acquisition System.  More information about each of these products can be found below.

Ambient Air Monitoring System (AAMS)

The AAMS provides continuous real-time measurements of air quality. Its unique modular design allows users to monitor up to 8 toxic or flammable gases of their choosing. It also has an integrated particulate monitor to measure and record the concentration of airborne particles (PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and TSP). Up to 40 meteorological sensors can be added to observe local environmental conditions.

A powerful data acquisition system within the unit ensures that all measurements are logged and transmitted automatically. The alarm facility informs users when exceedance levels are breached.

Multiple AAMS systems can be networked to provide a more accurate picture of ambient air pollution at your site of interest.

WindDAS Data Acquisition System

The Munro Wind Monitoring System provides accurate and immediate measurements of wind speed and direction. At its core is our WindDAS Data Acquisition System – a multi-screen digital graphical recorder with advanced logging and display functionality. In addition to the central recorder, extra touch-screen data display panels can be set up within a Local Area Network (LAN). Operating independently, these screens allow users in different locations to be kept informed of wind conditions.

The Wind Monitoring System is compatible with all anemometers in the Munro range (both mechanical and ultrasonic). Wireless communication options from the sensor location to the WindDAS are also available.

Contact us by email or phone to book an appointment at the Meteorological Technology World Expo:

We look forward to seeing you at Stand 5120!

Monitoring Asbestos

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral that was commonly used as a building material in homes and commercial properties until the end of the 20th Century. Its popularity as a construction material was a consequence of a number of desirable properties which include fire resistance, heat insulation and ability to absorb sound.

There are three types of asbestos commonly used in buildings:

– Chrysotile (white asbestos)
– Crocidolite (blue asbestos)
– Amosite (brown asbestos)

However, during the last few decades of the 20th Century, the risks associated with asbestos exposure began to be better understood. Asbestos is now known to be the cause of a number of very serious diseases including mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer and other respiratory conditions. As a consequence the use of asbestos in most countries is now banned.

Unfortunately, late recognition of the dangers associated with asbestos has meant that millions of buildings across the world contain this lethal material. This leads to the need for careful monitoring of affected homes/offices to ensure that those working/living nearby are not put at risk.

When is Asbestos Dangerous?

Asbestos is most dangerous when airborne. This is because airborne fibres may be inhaled or swallowed. Inhaled across a period of time, these fibres accumulate in the lungs causing scarring, inflammation, breathing difficulties, cancer, and in the worst case, death.

Should you suspect the presence of asbestos in your home or workplace, it is very important that you do not attempt to remove it yourself. Moving the material will disturb the asbestos causing the fibres to become airborne. Please contact a company licensed to remove asbestos.

How can I monitor Airborne Asbestos?

Anyone with a duty of care for those working in areas containing asbestos should take steps to assess and manage the associated hazards. Typically, those working in the construction industry are most at risk. Should materials containing asbestos be identified, it is important that the likelihood of exposure to airborne fibres is determined. This can be achieved through the use of a gravimetric air sampler. Gravimetric air samplers use a pump to draw a known volume of air, for a set length of time, through a piece of filter paper. Once the sample has been taken, the filter paper is examined and asbestos fibres are identified and counted using Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM). Detailed guidance on asbestos-related air sampling can be found on the in this publication by the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

We offer a range of Large Volume Gravimetric Air Samplers and Personal Air Samplers. If you would like further information on the instruments, and how they can be used to protect against asbestos exposure, please get in touch on +44 (0) 20 8551 7000 or info@munroinstruments.com.

Minimise Slip Risk

Many people with a responsibility for slip prevention labour under the misconception that it is sufficient to install a floor with adequate slip resistance. In fact, this should only be the first step in an action plan designed to minimise the risk of slips.

This post suggests five more practical actions that can be taken to guard against slip accidents.

  • Install entrance matting: Areas such as entrance halls are particularly prone to contamination. On a rainy day, pedestrians entering a building with wet shoes will quickly create a slip hazard. Mitigate this risk through the installation of entrance matting, of sufficient length, designed to absorb moisture and dirt from shoe soles.
  • Implement appropriate cleaning routines: Not done properly, cleaning itself can increase the likelihood of a slip. To avoid this issue, make sure that an appropriate detergent is used and that the floor is left dry after cleaning. No soapy products should be left to dry on the surface of the floor. Should the floor become wet again, this soapy layer will become a serious hazard.
  • Ensure adequate lighting: Poorly lit areas can prevent pedestrians from identifying the slip characteristics of a floor.  This is important, because identification allows people to adjust their behaviour/step to minimise the risk of an accident. Install lighting to enable floor-users to identify slip hazards.
  • Use appropriate footwear: In certain areas, such as commercial kitchens, it can be difficult to keep floor surfaces clean and dry. When faced with this difficulty, it may be appropriate to supply employees/contractors with slip resistant footwear. This measure does not negate the need for the measures discussed above, but it does provide greater protection in areas inherently prone to slipperiness.

Finally, don’t forget that those with a responsibility for preventing slips should regularly test floor surfaces to ensure that the risk is well managed.  The British Pendulum Tester is the UK Health & Safety Executive’s (HSE) preferred test method.

If you would like further information on assessing and managing slip risk, please get in touch via email (info@munroinstruments.com) or by phone (+44 (0) 20 8551 7000).

Upgrade your IM146

Our flagship IM146 Wind Speed & Direction Sensor is a dual in-line unit comprising a cup anemometer and wind direction vane. Originally designed in the 1950s, the IM146 quickly became one of the world’s most respected forms of anemometer. With an expected lifetime of several decades, there are still several thousand IM146s in use to this day. This is testament to its rugged and reliable design.

A newer model, the IM147, was launched in 2013. Whereas the IM146 used a magslip to create a synchronous link between the direction vane the display units, the IM147 uses a magnetic encoder. This upgrade was essential to facilitate further development of the sensor. We wanted to ensure that the IM147 was compatible with today’s advanced methods of data transmission and acquisition. It was a difficult decision to move away from our trusty magslip but undoubtedly the right one.

The IM147 has so far been a great success. The self-powering cup anemometer remains the same, but the wind direction vane incorporates a new digital sensor assembly. This has opened a range of new wind monitoring possibilities.

Integrating into Existing Systems

Whereas the IM146 was only compatible with Munro display units, the IM147 can be configured with a 4-20 mA output, allowing for easy integration with third-party data management systems. It can also be used alongside more traditional Munro equipment, such as analogue dial indicators.

WindDAS

Our new WindDAS Data Acquisition System is a fully autonomous digital monitoring station capable of providing real-time and historical measurements of wind speed and wind direction.

The system compromises of a main recorder/controller and separate touch-screen panels. These can be located in multiple locations within a Local Area Network (LAN).

The IM147 is ideally suited to the WindDAS and be connected wirelessly.

Upgrade from IM146 to IM147

The IM146 can be easily upgraded to an IM147 by removing the magslip assembly and replacing it with a magnetic encoder. We designed the encoder with the exact same dimensions as the magslip for this very reason.

The upgrade can be done by local technicians onsite or, if preferred, at our workshop in London, UK.

By upgrading to the IM147, it should be noted that the unit will no longer be compatible with the IM120A Wind Direction Dial Indicator or the IM175 Duplex Roll Chart Recorder. A newer model of the Wind Direction Dial Indicator, the IM125A, is available.

For more information on the DIY conversion, please contact us on +44 (0) 20 8551 7000 or info@munroinstruments.com

Weather Monitoring

This blog post will explore the nature of the Automatic Weather Station (AWS), key advantages and disadvantages, and consider the future of meteorological monitoring.

What is an AWS?

As implied by its name, an AWS is a system that enables the collection of meteorological observations automatically. An AWS comprises a number of sensors, a data logger (housed in a waterproof enclosure) and a power supply. Typically, an AWS will have sensors to measure the following parameters:

  • Wind Speed & Direction
  • Temperature & Humidity
  • Rainfall
  • Barometric Pressure

Stations may also have sensors to measure solar radiation, cloud cover and present weather.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an AWS?

A significant advantage of the AWS over its traditional, manual counterpart is that it is far less labour-intensive. Providing an AWS is regularly checked to ensure that it is functioning properly, it does not need to be physically attended so that results can be manually recorded. When used in conjunction with a remote power supply (e.g. a solar panel or wind turbine) and wireless communications technology (e.g. UHF Radio, cellular network, satellite technology), an AWS can even be located far away from human settlement.

However, the capital-intensive nature of AWS often means that it is too expensive to set up a large number of stations. Consequently, data-hungry forecasting models, which operate best when fed with a vast quantity of observations from a very dense network of AWS, cannot operate to their full capacity.

The British Met Office offers an interesting example of this data gap. Having recently invested in a £97 million supercomputer, the Met Office is capable of running very sophisticated models which require meteorological observations taken at a much more granular level than their current network of c. 300 AWS allows. To take full advantage of this exciting investment, the Met Office will need to develop innovative new ways of feeding the new supercomputer with vast numbers of observations.

Can we expect a shift away from the AWS?

The AWS continues to offer a number of important benefits to those in need of accurate meteorological observations. However, as the sophistication of forecasting models continues to increase, we expect a shift towards less capital-intensive methods of monitoring.

Two recent trends of particular interest:

  • Crowdsourcing Data: Increasingly smartphones, cars and other everyday items have inbuilt sensors capable of monitoring certain weather parameters, including temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. Coupled with location information, these everyday devices are beginning to provide meteorological information to some forecasting models. Given the number of people that use these devices, we are likely to see growth in the use of crowdsourced data by meteorological models.
  • Single Sensor Installations: Another interesting possibility is an increase in the use of single sensor installations. In contrast to a complete AWS, this would involve siting a sensor, designed to measure a single parameter, connected to a simple communication device/datalogger. A key advantage of this approach is cost. Single sensors are significantly cheaper to install than complete AWS. Consequently, denser networks of sensors measuring the parameters of particular importance can be set-up. This approach is much more flexible, enabling incremental investment in the weather monitoring network.

The traditional AWS will continue to act as an important tool for meteorological offices worldwide. However, we expect to see this method of observation complemented by methods such as those discussed above. Munro Instruments is excited to contribute to the development of these methods, and continues to support users of traditional meteorological systems, AWS and single-sensor installations alike. See more information by following this link.

Whatever the future holds, we’re sure to see great advances in meteorological monitoring and improvements in the accuracy of our weather forecasts.

Wireless Wind Monitoring

Munro Instruments now offers a wireless wind speed & wind direction monitoring system. This can be integrated as part of a larger meteorological station or used as a standalone wind monitoring solution.

Key benefits include:

  • No need for outdoor cabling
  • Easily configurable within existing sensor networks
  • Real-time visualization of data in multiple locations on crystal clear touch-screen panels
  • Bespoke system design according to user requirements

The system incorporates a WindDAS Data Acquisition System. This is a digital graphical recorder which combines the functionality of the IM175 Roll Chart Recorder and the IM617 Digital Display.

The WindDAS comprises two screens: one Main Recorder/Controller (8.9 cm Colour TFT LCD) and one additional Touch-Panel Screen (14.5 cm Colour TFT LCD).  Further Touch-Panel Screens can be added within a Local Area Network (LAN) if wind monitoring is required in multiple locations. Each screen can be operated independently by different stakeholders.

The WindDAS can also be used alongside analogue dial indicators if required.

The WindDAS displays real-time measurements in numerical or graphical/trending format. Average wind speeds (2 minutes and 10 minutes) and maximum/minimum gusts are shown on screen as standard. Additional data customization options (calculations, displays, trending etc.) are also configurable. Alarms are set according to user requirements. If threshold levels are breached visual and audible signals notify key personnel and activate relay systems.

Data is periodically exported to a hard-drive where it can be stored and archived. Historical data is easily accessible at any time for analysis and auditing purposes.

PC Software is provided for live/historical review of data and configuration of the main data acquisition unit.

Munro Instruments offers both ultrasonic anemometers and mechanical cup & vane wind sensors. Our range is designed to meet any wind speed application. We also supply a number of other meteorological sensors, such as hygrometers, barometric pressure sensors and rain gauges. Please check out our 150 Series brochure here for more information. The WindDAS can receive up to 8 different analogue sensor inputs and a further 64 Modbus sensors within a single system.

Integration into existing systems

The DAS can be integrated with other Munro or third-party equipment. This includes our flagship IM146 Wind Speed & Direction Sensor, which can be adapted and upgraded to work with the WindDAS.

Contact Us

If you would like further information or would like to upgrade your IM146 Wind Speed & Direction Sensor for compatibility with the WindDAS, please email info@munroinstruments.com or call +44(0) 20 8551 7000.

Electrochemical Cells

Electrochemical Cells for Toxic & Flammable Gas Detection

The Ambient Air Monitoring System (AAMS) is a multi-parameter environmental monitoring unit that uses both passive and active sampling methodologies to analyse local conditions. What is active and passive sampling and how do the sampling methodologies differ? This blog will provide a short introduction into the pros and cons of active and passive electrochemical gas detectors and the MIDAS electrochemical cells which are used in the AAMS.

Passive Electrochemical Cell:

Passive sampling is often seen as a low cost and low maintenance option to measuring gas concentrations in the environment. Sensors will usually have no moving parts, extremely low electrical power requirements and minimal maintenance requirements which is ideal from an operational perspective.

The gaseous species will diffuse into the sampler at a given flux dependent to the concentration of the species and the geometry of the sampler (Ficks Law). Common sampler designs are axial in design and have a planar sampling area. It has been identified that such designs can suffer during short term analysis as it they do not provide enough sensitivity due to the low sampling rates.

Electrochemical sensors have proven particularly popular for passive sampling due to the low cost and low power requirements of the sensor whilst still being able to give real time data output.

These sensors are ideal for both portable and industrial gas monitoring applications as they can provide Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) insight and detection and there is a wide range of cells available to measure over 35 types of gas.

Early cell design suffered from failures when located in a hostile operating environments such as high humidity conditions or high temperatures. High humidity can cause the electrochemical cell to swell and eventually burst out of the cell enclosure. Electrochemical cell manufacturers have taken steps in the design to alleviate the problems experienced in hostile operating conditions.

Passive Sampling (Electrochemical Cell)

Pro

Con

  • Low purchase cost
  • Can be limited by geometry of sampler
  • Simple design
  • Can be susceptible to lower sampling rates
  • Wide range of detectable gases
  • Electrochemical cell can be affected by hostile operating environment (dependent on manufacturer)
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Can require periodic calibration depending on operating environment (dependent on manufacturer)
  • Can be used in a wide range of locations including hazardous location (dependant on type of sensor and manufacturer)
  • Noiseless
  • Can give real time information of concentration and trigger alarms.

Active Electrochemical Cells:

Active gas sampling is the process of utilising a pump to draw a known volume of gas into a sensor so that limitations of diffusion are reduced. This measurement methodology offers far greater precision and “real life” concentrations that just relying on diffusion of the gaseous species. Often systems require large power draw to power the pump, however the novel design utilised in the MIDAS sensor has all the benefits of the pump but with small power draw. The key features of the sensor are given below:

A pump draws air in at 500 ml/min to the patented electrochemical cell and onboard diagnostics system. The device can monitor gases up to 30m away and regulates the flow rate of the gas entering the sensor.

The smart sensor cartridge has a 2 year “e – calibration” warranty which minimises/ eliminates the need for regular calibration procedures, allowing error free monitoring of 2 years before a sensor refit.

TempraSure temperature compensation technology ensures that the sensor maintains performance and removes sensor drift due to temperature changes, which can be seen in other electrochemical cells.

Passive Sampling (Electrochemical Cell)

Pro Con
  • Low purchase cost
  • Can be limited by geometry of sampler
  • Simple design
  • Requires more power than passive counter part
  • Wide range of detectable gases
  • Pump assembly will generate noise
  • Low maintenance requirements
  • Can be used in a wide range of locations including hazardous location (dependant on type of sensor and manufacturer)
  • Active sample gives greater precsion
  • Can give real time information of concentration and trigger alarms.
  • Onboard algorithms ensure error free measurement of gases.
  • No requirement for periodic calibrations.

 

Up to 8 MIDAS sensors can be integrated into our AAMS which monitors the conditions and will trigger actions if alarm conditions are breached.

For more information on the AAMS and the MIDAS sensors please contact us on info@munroinstruments.com