First multi-gas instrument that also measures relative humidity as a standard offering

In response to requests from its customers, Booyco Electronics has incorporated new features into its innovative Sentient handheld Environmental Sensing Instrument (ESI), effectively creating the most cost effective, sophisticated and low maintenance gas detection device in the mining industry. This hi-tech device has been developed specifically to boost safety in underground mining and in any confined spaces in surface plants.

This locally designed and manufactured instrument is now the first multi-gas instrument in South Africa that also measures relative humidity as a standard offering. In addition, the Sentient is able to record specific gas values when inserted into a Fire Patrol outstation installed in a specific area of the underground environment. The identity of the outstation is linked to the instrument after every shift, when information is downloaded as the Sentient rests in its charger, effectively generating a fire patrol report.

The downloading network configuration is capable of gathering information from up to 500 Sentient units placed in their chargers, in a matter of minutes. All this equipment is connected via a network to the Sentient downloading server, where specialised software allows various reports to be generated, such as detailed information on gas detected in the underground environment, peak values, TWA values, pre-shift tested values, calibration reports and no movement reports. Sentient software is web-based, making it possible to e-mail these reports to relevant personnel automatically.

In addition to the hardwired network in the mine’s lamproom, Sentient instruments can also be equipped with an RF radio, allowing exception reports to be downloaded to RF readers installed at strategic locations. Provided these “hot spots” are connected to the mine’s communication infrastructure, the downloaded exception information can be made available in real time to centres such as the lamproom, control room or ventilation department.

This capability means that all exceptions can be received, reviewed and processed when miners were exposed to any gas related risks during their shift, for example, oxygen deficiency, the presence of carbon monoxide or methane, as well as fatigue from high humidity.

Other features

The inner mechanism of the device is sealed, so that although sensor units are regularly removed and replaced, there is no opportunity for moisture to penetrate the sensitive working parts. The low maintenance Sentient also has no buttons — instead an innovative “tap” sensor ensures that the instrument remains watertight.

The instrument is able to accommodate up to three “plug and play” sensors, typically CH4, CO and O2. Among its unique features is a “drop protection” capability that automatically switches off the sensor as a protective measure if the instrument is dropped, significantly increasing sensor life.

Ancillary Sentient equipment is installed in the lamproom, improving legal compliance. This equipment includes downloading chargers, auto test points with Go/No go indication, and auto calibration banks.

Packaged in an IP68 enclosure, the low maintenance Sentient has been certified as EXia T4 Intrinsically Safe, and complies with relevant SANS1515 requirements.

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