Roughly a year ago, we had a rather unique project involving open path perimeter monitoring for a large oil company. Their pipeline division has a terminal facility sitting between O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and a residential community. The corporate safety division had concerns regarding gas leaks and how that would affect that community living next door. So they were proactively looking for a solution.
The facility operates with a skeleton crew and so it was important to have a system that could be monitored remotely. While point to point monitoring was considered, it made more sense to install an open path system using Honeywell’s Searchline Excel and XNX transmitter. The Excel system measures gas clouds up to 200 meters which meant the company only needed nine set points versus the roughly 45-50 points that would be needed using point to point.
If the sensors are roughly the distance of two football fields apart, won’t there be interference? Yes, that is a concern. You do need to make sure that there are no physical obstructions in the beam. Weather, however, is less of a concern. The system fully compensates for all types of fog, rain, and/or snow (of which Chicago gets plenty) which allows it to operate accurately and reliably.
By using the XNX transmitter, they were able to connect to their PLC remote monitoring system and view it at their corporate headquarters. Here they monitor all of their US locations and can communicate quickly if a problem were to arise. Thankfully, no such issue has occurred at their Chicago facility, but those living nearby can sleep a little more soundly.
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