Personal or Portable Gas Detectors – what’s the difference?

The size, capability, and usage can vary greatly between personal gas detectors and portable gas detectors.

However, these distinctions might not always be clearly defined by suppliers which can leave you feeling confused.

Which type and model of detector you choose will depend on your own particular requirements:

  • the gas or gases you need to monitor
  • the frequency and conditions of usage
  • and the level of detail you need in your reporting.

Personal Gas Detectors

As the name suggests, personal gas detectors are small enough to be clipped to the belt or clothing of the user.

Because they’re designed to be worn, they need to be able to withstand the kinds of knocks or damage that come when they’re carried into confined spaces, so you’ll usually find that they have a high IP rating.

To keep everything compact, they’ll probably use a self-contained battery which is sealed inside the detector. When the battery reaches the end of its life, the device itself will need to be replaced.

Personal gas detectors are usually much cheaper than portable detectors but their capabilities and screen displays may be more limited and they don’t always allow for calibration or pump options.

They’re often used for detecting one particular gas – like our hydrogen sulphide and oxygen single gas detectors – but more advanced devices can detect four or even five.

Portable Gas Detectors

These larger and more complex devices can offer a more sophisticated solution both in the number of gases they’re able to trace and their data logging.

Although they’re not as durable or easy to carry as personal gas detectors, they do come equipped with a pump which enables you to test remotely.

They’re also easier to calibrate and you can re-charge or change their batteries without the need to replace the whole unit.

The greater number of sensors on a portable detector means that they can provide a wide variety of different feedback as well as storing much more information.
The software on the Marine Tankscape, for example, provides complete data logging of gas readings with tank identification and vessel location which makes detection, analysis, and action planning easy.

It also enables you to print tamper-proof calibration certificates on-board, further reducing costs and making the process far less complicated.

The best of both

The Marine 4 and Marine 5 can be classed as both personal and portable.

They have the benefits of the personal – small enough to be worn, robust enough to cope with tough conditions, simple one-button operation with audio and visual alarms – but they feature the advantages of a portable gas detector too.

The Marine 4 will detect and display up to four gases simultaneously.
These can be configured depending on your requirements and include a combination of methane, oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide, and other flammable gases – the Marine 5 gives you one extra should you need it.

Both are compatible with an internal sampling pump which enables you to test remotely and safeguard your crew. This provides flexibility for pre-entry into deep tanks, holds and void spaces and has a wide range of applications in a variety of different industries.

You can even bump test and ensure you’re always compliant by using the ABC Station. This provides you on board self-calibration and produces a tamper-proof calibration certificate that’s acceptable to all Class, Port State Control and Oil Majors.

Martek offers a full consulting service to create a bespoke gas detection package that’s tailor-made to your exact requirements. Get yours now.

The problems with connectivity at sea

A good internet connection is fast becoming essential in today’s shipping industry. Operators who don’t stay on top of the latest developments and take advantage of all the benefits they bring are beginning to lose out commercially to those who do.

But connectivity at sea isn’t all plain sailing. Here are some of the problems that you might face – and the solutions offered by the mini-VSAT Broadband.

It has low bandwidth

Connectivity can significantly reduce your operating costs. It enables you to improve fuel consumption, monitor performance, update real-time weather reports and fine-tune your planning. There are also numerous benefits that come from seafarers being able to use their own devices – training, leisure activities and staying in contact with friends and family, for example.

These factors are becoming a standard issue on-board and they all depend on bandwidth. The higher the bandwidth, the greater the advantage to your operations.

In the past, however, bandwidth restrictions and coverage restraints have been a major issue with connectivity at sea. Happily, this is no longer the case. Systems like the mini-VSAT Broadband are able to provide a high-speed data channel with unlimited usage that’s available in a variety of different plans. The high-speed global network delivers speeds as fast as 20/3 Mbps and is perfect for video-conferencing, streaming, entertainment content and the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) which allows the transfer of data without any human interaction whatsoever.

It’s unreliable

You might expect unstable connections, lack of coverage, lapses in service and long delays as your system tries to locate a satellite. A good internet system should take into account these factors and search for overlapping beams that take advantage of redundancy in satellite coverage.

The mini-VSAT Broadband uses the most advanced managed HTS network – the industry leading Ku-band VSAT. It has a coverage of 272 million square kilometres and the system has automatic fast switching between the network’s redundant beams which gives you seamless communications wherever you are in the world. The prioritised voice service has crystal clear call quality and supports Wi-Fi connections between compatible phones.

It also has a much greater resilience to weather and rain fade – important considerations for the extreme and changeable conditions at sea.

It’s complicated

A huge rack of equipment, lengthy installations and being locked into a restrictive long-term contract – these are all things of the past.

With the mini-VSAT Broadband, you get a straightforward one box solution that manages your whole network without lengthy ownership costs. The plan is much more flexible too, just a single monthly subscription that you can easily change or cancel with no penalties or commitment. To help with any technical issues, we offer a global support programme and a two-year parts and labour warranty that you can extend to five years.

It’s expensive

Connectivity doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Installation is free in selected international ports and your airtime options can be adapted to suit the requirements of every kind of operation.

The average person touches their smart phone 2,617 times a day so, to prevent your data usage costs spiralling, our system gives you complete visibility. You can monitor and control the amount of data your crew and equipment are using to make sure you always keep within your budget.

It’s not secure

For all the benefits of being connected at sea, there are dangers too – cyber-attacks can have a devastating effect on your operations. In 2017 the NotPetya ransomware cost Møller-Maersk an estimated £300 million and the company had to reinstall over 45,000 PCs, 4,000 servers and 2,500 applications. This wasn’t even a targeted attack.

Without adequate protection, a determined hacker could penetrate all your operational information including routes, manifests, charts, payroll and employee details. Shipping companies always need to be aware of security and take the necessary precautions.

The mini-VSAT Broadband has a six-level cybersecurity programme which includes an advanced network-level firewall – there’s also automated threat management for extra peace of mind. For breaches caused by human behaviour, it comes with the award-winning KVH Videotel ‘Cybersecurity Safety at Sea’ training programme which has proved invaluable in making sure seafarers are aware of the risks that come with on-board connectivity.

Mini-VSAT Broadband gives you fast, secure, global connectivity with no hassles or hidden costs.

Contact us to find out more.

IMPORTANT BULLETIN: Software for ABC Stations

In September 2016 we were made aware of a time/date error in software of the Auto Bump Calibration station (ABC) for Marine 4’s.  To resolve this issue customers were sent instructions and an update on a USB labelled either Silver or Gold ABC Update. 

If the instructions sent with the update were not followed in full it can corrupt the system and make the station inoperable.

Until now, we’ve been replacing any corrupted stations regardless of the age or warranty status, this will cease from 1st August 2019.

The Silver or Gold ABC Update was a very specific upload to solve a very specific software issue, and the USB’s issued should never be used for routine updates or to fix unrelated problems. We know there are still some USBs out there so if you have one, please discard it.  It can be identified as it will state gold/silver on the label.

Don’t upload the Silver or Gold ABC Update to your ABC Station unless you have been instructed to do so by Martek Marine.

If you do experience an issue with your station that isn’t covered in the manuals, contact one of our experts in the technical support team. And, if you have any queries or further questions, please let us know – we’re always here to help.

Technical Support Team –
Dave.orourke@martek-marine.com / +44 (0) 1709 599 213
Bridie.pears@martek-marine.com / +44 (0) 1709 599 237

Gas detection: the hidden costs of third-party servicing

On paper, using a third-party to service your gas detection equipment may seem like a cheap option.

However, there are several important considerations that can be easily overlooked. These factors could end-up costing you significantly more in the long-run.

Maintenance and repair

Because an intermediary won’t have in-depth, intimate knowledge of the systems they’re servicing, potential issues can easily be missed during routine maintenance.

If a problem does develop it will also be more difficult for them to diagnose it. They may have to use trial and error to find out what’s wrong, taking up valuable time and probably resulting in repeat attendances. All of this will cost you extra money that could have been saved by having the equipment serviced by the supplier.

Spares

Guesswork and misdiagnosis can lead to multiple purchases of components and spares that simply aren’t needed.

For example, it’s very common for third-party services to suggest replacing sensors or buying new pumps – both of which are expensive components. However, it’s quite likely that actually, only the consumable components inside the sensors and pumps need purchasing. This a much cheaper option and something that the supplier of the device would be aware of.

Martek assures a first-time fix for issues such as these. We come equipped to cover all eventualities and only use what is absolutely necessary in order to minimise your costs.

3rd party servicing considerations
Are you paying for the hidden cost of a 3rd party service?

Safety

Regardless of how much knowledge and experience a third-party intermediary claim to have, using them is always a risk. Gas detection devices and critical safety systems are simply too important to take chances with.

You could face detention for lack of compliance, or even put the lives of your crew in danger by using someone who hasn’t been trained by the manufacturer to service your equipment.

Training

Your costs will be reduced if your crew fully understand the systems you use. It will allow issues to be identified quicker and more easily so that they only issue RFQs for what’s really necessary.

A third-party intermediary doesn’t have the knowledge or experience to advise your crew whereas Martek offers effective training on the operation of the equipment we provide. This will ultimately help you to keep your long-term costs down.

Warranty

Most gas detection equipment has exclusive components – Martek, for example, has a unique sensor provider. When third-parties can’t source these elements, they end up replacing critical sensors with different, ‘closest fit’ alternatives. This creates a hybrid system that isn’t guaranteed to operate properly. In addition to this, it will no longer be manufacturer approved so your warranty will be voided too.

Upgrades

It’s unlikely that the gas detection equipment you’re using is brand new – it may even have been a while since you looked into the latest available developments.

There are many cost-effective upgrades that could provide numerous benefits to your system by reducing the number of consumable spares or the frequency of services required. Third-party intermediaries may not be aware of these upgrades – or even if they are, they won’t be in a position to provide them to you.

Martek is a world-leader in marine safety with years of experience in gas detection technology. We have a global supply chain to deliver goods quickly and conveniently and we’re always at the forefront of the latest innovative and cost-saving equipment.

Packages

Martek is a one-stop-shop for all your gas detection requirements so we’re in the position to put together a solution that’s designed for you. We offer various packages which include spare parts and calibration gases that will streamline your supply chain, reduce the costs of multiple orders and keep your invoices to a minimum.

The world’s major ship operators trust us to improve their performance and keep their ships and crews safe. You should too.

Contact us to find out more.