In June 2017, Nova Analytical Systems, a Unit of Tenova Goodfellow Inc., received an order from Ametek Reading Alloys, a division of Ametek Specialty Metal Products, for six DuraNOVA Continuous Process Oxygen Gas Analysers.
Ametek Reading Alloys is a producer of specialty powdered metals, particularly those with a titanium base. In October 2017, these six units were commissioned by NOVA field service engineers.
Titanium powder has an affinity for oxygen (O2), which creates a potential fire hazard during the powder milling operation process. Historically, to remove the possibility of a hazard developing, an Argon (Ar) blanket was introduced to provide an inert environment for this industrial application. The inert blanket of gas prevents the powder being processed from reacting with O2 from surrounding air and sparks created by the mill. For Ametek’s powdered metals process, adding Ar to this process greatly reduced the risk of fire, however, there was still two unknowns; was the drum installed properly and was the O2 sufficiently purged?
The objective for Ametek using DuraNOVA continuous offgas analysis was twofold: first, validation that the milled powder drum was installed and sealed properly and second, that the system was sufficiently purged of O2 to allow the milling process to start. There was a need to continuously measure for the presence of O2 in the inert environment created by the Ar.
To accomplish this, a DuraNOVA Model 810N4 analyser was installed on each of the six milling cells in the plant. The analyser O2 control alarm was connected to an interlock that controlled the mill and vibrating table. In this way, the cell cannot be energised until the measured O2 level in the Ar atmosphere is below the analyser alarm setting.
The DuraNOVA continuous gas analyser was selected for its simplicity to use, flexibility and overall ruggedness to accurately measure low O2 concentrations in a very high dust load environment. DuraNOVA Model 810N4 meets the Class 2, Division 1, Group E area rating required for manufacturing that involves powdered metal processes. The equipment is also equipped with automatic calibration and purging functions, which will keep the equipment in a ready-state despite the batch-nature of the process.