Insights from industry

Environmental Analysis on Industrial Sites: An Interview with Chuck De Carlo

Chuck De Carlo, Industrial Product Manager at Extrel CMS, talks to AZoM about their new MAX300-AIR high-performance mass spectrometer optimized for environmental analysis.

Could you please provide a brief introduction to new MAX300-AIR from Extrel?

The MAX300-AIR is a high-performance mass spectrometer optimized for environmental analysis at industrial sites. Mass Spectrometry is highly sensitive for performing trace analysis, and it's fast, allowing a single analyzer to monitor sample points spread throughout a process site. The MAX300-AIR puts these analytical capabilities into a system rugged enough to perform continuous online safety measurements in an industrial process environment.

What sets this system apart from your competitors?

The MAX300-AIR uses the largest quadrupole mass filter available in a process mass spectrometer. This ensures constant resolution and excellent sensitivity regardless of a contaminant's molecular mass. The system offers a single-analyzer solution for total plant monitoring, and is capable of detection limits in the low parts-per-trillion.

There is an increasing need for environmental analysis equipment to meet strict safety regulations. How does the MAX300-Air rise to this challenge?

Not only can mass spectrometry measure some compounds that other techniques can't, the analyser is also very flexible. When new regulations are passed, adding required measurements or lowering detection limits, these changes can all be made on-the-fly. With a mass spectrometer, everything's in the software, there is no hardware change required to adjust the application.

The fast and accurate analysis of air and stack gas samples is essential on many industrial sites. How does the MAX300-AIR meet this need?

Speed and accuracy are what the MAX300-AIR brings to the table. In an industrial hygiene application we are typically measuring four sample points per minute. Two factors make this possible. First, the analysis rate is very fast, 0.4 seconds per component, and second, the analyzer comes equipped with a sample system optimized for continuously pulling sample from 16, 40, 80, or 160+ sample points. We've even got sites monitoring both ambient air and flare stack samples with the same instrument.

What benefits does the real time reporting of measurements from multiple points from within a facility offer users?

We are talking about health and safety applications, so the faster the system can alert the plant to an unsafe condition, the better. The ability to provide rapid updates at a large number of sample points using a single analyzer means that a manufacturer can remain safe and in compliance with less hardware and a minimum investment in upkeep, labor and utilities.

How does Extrel’s experience in mass spectrometry ensure the quality and accuracy of the analysis the MAX300-AIR offers?

Extrel has been providing mass spectrometry solutions for over 50 years. Because of the technical advantages, health and safety monitoring customers were among the earliest adopters of mass spectrometry as an industrial technique. Over the years, Extrel has worked hand-in-hand with our customers to make these systems faster, smarter, and easier to use. We take the technical expertise of a company that has supplied systems to Nobel Prize researchers, and apply it to critical, real-world applications.

What industrial contaminants can the MAX300-Air measure?

There is a very wide range. In refineries we look at Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, as well as hydrogen sulfide and other sulfurs. Plastics manufactures monitor for acrylonitrile, VCM and EDC. Pharmaceutical sites look for solvent release, and we've got specialty chemical manufacturers measuring DMS, CS2, as well as a number of halogenated organics. Mass Spectrometers are good general gas analyzers, every compound has mass, which means they all produce a spectrum.

How has the MAX300-AIR been developed to measure low ppt contamination?

The standard configuration of the system can measure down to the low ppb, but adding a membrane inlet pushes detection limits even further. The membrane material preconcentrates the contaminants in the sample prior to detection. On benzene in air, for example, we've achieved a detection limit of 10 ppt.

Are there any case studies you are particularly proud of?

One of our US customers is using identical systems configured with 160 sample points.  During normal operation each system monitors half of the plant, but in the event of an alarm they are able to dedicate one analyzer to stay on the site of the release, while all other sample points are seamlessly transferred to the other unit. It's all automated and occurs without any manual input from the control room.

How easy is it to maintain the MAX300-AIR on-site?

As industrial gas samples go, air is about as clean you can get. The MAX300 doesn't require carrier gas or columns. There is some periodic pump maintenance, and, typically, two or three calibration gases, but calibrations are infrequent and the bottles usually last several years.

Where can our readers learn more about the MAX300-AIR?  

The website is a great place to startChuck De Carlo, but they can also send any requests direct to [email protected].

About Chuck De Carlo

Chuck De Carlo has been the Industrial Product Manager at Extrel since January 2011, managing the MAX300 product line of process control and laboratory-benchtop quadrupole mass spectrometers. With thousands of industrial systems installed worldwide, he has worked closely with customers in the environmental, emission, refining, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, and food and beverage industries.

Having joined Extrel as an applications chemist in 2008, Mr. De Carlo has continued to engage Extrel's core expertise in cutting-edge technology, application development, and customer support to expand the installation base of the MAX300 in new industrial and laboratory gas analysis applications at sites throughout the world.


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.

Stuart Milne

Written by

Stuart Milne

Stuart graduated from the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff with a first-class honours degree in Industrial Product Design. After working on a start-up company involved in LED Lighting solutions, Stuart decided to take an opportunity with AZoNetwork. Over the past five years at AZoNetwork, Stuart has been involved in developing an industry leading range of products, enhancing client experience and improving internal systems designed to deliver significant value for clients hard earned marketing dollars. In his spare time Stuart likes to continue his love for art and design by creating art work and continuing his love for sketching. In the future Stuart, would like to continue his love for travel and explore new and exciting places.


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