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Gas analyser radically enhances container testing and port security

Posted: Monday 29th March 2010

Instrumentation specialist Quantitech has announced that a new portable FTIR gas analyser has dramatically improved the testing of cargo containers at ports and airports.

Dr Andrew Hobson explains: "Existing portable instruments are limited in the range of parameters that they are able to measure, so it is often necessary to take grab samples for subsequent laboratory analysis. In contrast, the new Gasmet DX4030 portable analyser is uniquely able to measure almost anything, providing fast measurements for customs inspectors and shipping company staff."

The DX4030 is capable of performing simultaneous monitoring of 50 different gases including Fumigants (both organic and inorganic), specific Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) and Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs). In addition to the instantaneous display of target gases, the FTIR records a sample spectrum from which hundreds of compounds can be analysed.

Cargo containers, wooden packing materials and foodstuffs are fumigated by shipping companies to control the spread of pests and micro-organisms. Fumigant gases are toxic and containers are therefore monitored for health and safety purposes on arrival at each new port or destination. In addition, products shipped in containers can release VOCs from solvents and glues used in the manufacturing process, and their concentration may accumulate in the confined space of a container.

FTIR offers major advantages over traditional portable monitoring technologies because of its specificity and lower susceptibility to interference gases, however Dr Hobson says, “From an occupational safety perspective, it is extremely important to be able to detect hazardous gases as quickly as possible and by avoiding the cost of laboratory analysis, operational costs are reduced considerably. From a security perspective, the ability to measure TICs and CWAs is a considerable added benefit."

The FTIR analyser is located in a backpack and effectively provides laboratory grade analysis in a field instrument. A video demonstration of the DX4030 is available online at the Quantitech website and visitors to 'Counter Terror 2010' at Olympia, London on April 14-15, can view the DX4030 in action on the Quantitech stand (A40).

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