Crowcon’s IRmax infrared hydrocarbon gas detector has been certified to SIL 2 by Sira Test and Certification Ltd according to the requirements of the IEC 61508 and EN50402 functional safety standards. This certification provides 3rd party assurance of the integrity and dependability of the IRmax and allows it to be included as part of a SIL 2 safety system. According to Sira, the IEC 61508 functional safety standard “provides the assurance that the safety-related systems will offer the necessary risk reduction required to achieve safety for the equipment”.
The EN50402 (Electrical apparatus for the detection and measurement of combustible or toxic gases or vapours or of oxygen. Requirements on the functional safety of fixed gas detection systems) takes the general requirements of IEC 61508 and extends them by applying them specifically to gas detection equipment.
During the six month certification process, Sira scrutinised every detail of the IRmax’s design – from hardware and electronics to software – against the required standards to achieve SIL 2 certification. The product was performance tested according to EN60079-29-1 and documentation for the product (specifications, software structure) – as well as Crowcon’s quality management systems – were also assessed to ensure compliance with the strict requirements of the standards.
“Product documentation including a SIL certificate and ‘safety manual’ provide the data and information to ensure that the product can be easily integrated into a SIL 2 system and installed operated according to the requirements of the certification,” comments Andy Avenell, Crowcon’s Senior Product Manager. “Crowcon’s management systems ensure that IRmax continues to comply with the standards regardless of modifications during the product’s life-cycle,” he added.
Crowcon’s commitment to functional safety extends beyond product design: key members of Crowcon’s R&D team are certified ‘Functional Safety Engineers’. A Crowcon engineer is also a member of the European committee currently updating the EN50402 standard.
Sira Test and Certification Ltd (a CSA Group company) is UKAS accredited and uses the CASS methodology to provide third party certification to IEC 61508 and other standards on safety related issues. This includes the products’ performance tests, functional safety management systems, hardware and software.
About the IRmax
Featuring dual-wavelength IR sensor technology in a rugged 316 stainless steel package, the ultra-compact IRmax is designed to detect methane gas and other potentially explosive hydrocarbons in the harshest conditions.
Unlike conventional IR gas detectors, the IRmax does not utilise heaters to prevent condensation on windows and mirrors. Instead, its optical components are treated with a highly durable hydrophobic coating called STAY-CLIR that completely prevents signal faults due to condensation.
As the IRmax contains no components for artificially heating optical surfaces, power consumption is dramatically reduced. It requires less than 1 Watt of power, typically 75-90% lower than conventional IR gas detectors. A gas detection system using IRmax detectors therefore requires smaller (and lower cost) power supplies and battery back-up systems. Longer cables can also be used and more detectors can be powered on addressable networks.