The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is a UK-based technology innovation centre and the process arm of the High Value Manufacturing, Catapult. CPI enables businesses to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes. CPI operates across a broad range of technologies including; Industrial Biotechnology, Printable Electronics, Formulation and Biologics.
They offer experienced scientists, engineers, scale up experts, process operators and commercialisation specialists to help companies take projects from early concepts, through to robust manufacturing process packages and/or products.
CPI’s state-of-the-art facilities enable companies to decrease capital and manufacturing costs by facilitating batch to continuous processes, increased automation and reduced manufacturing time, and in turn helping to reduce and reuse waste, utilise natural materials and decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
SES Engineering Services was appointed to deliver the design and installation of all M&E works to CPI’s National Biologics Manufacturing Centre who assisted with allocating our distributor Gem Scientific with the sourcing and installation of atmospheric monitoring equipment. Gem Scientific contacted us with the measurements and requirements of the Centre in order for us to provide them with the correct amount of relevant monitors. We then worked with Gem Scientific to adhere to the strict deadlines outlined by the contractors in order to deliver the completed project on time.
The Centre houses 12 large laboratories to run tests and processes on a wide range of projects. The largest laboratory, however is still classed as a confined space. It is therefore essential that the atmosphere is monitored ensuring safety for all staff and personnel. Just a small leaked amount of pressurised carbon dioxide (CO2) could pose a harmful and potential lethal threat to anyone in the vicinity. A significant drop, due to a leak of inert gas, or increase of oxygen (O2), if using enriched oxygen, can also cause a danger. Oxygen depletion happens when an inert gas such as argon, helium or nitrogen, displaces the oxygen in the atmosphere. Just a drop of 5% can cause the person breathing that atmosphere to become lethargic and dizzy.
Enriched oxygen (also known as nitrox, EANx, Safe Air and enriched air nitrox) is used in a variety of industries and the main concern is that if there is a build-up of the gas then it can pose a fire/explosion risk, should there also be an ignition source. It also poses a risk of hypoxia to anyone in that area.
Our A50 and Safe-Ox+ units have been installed throughout the laboratories to ensure that the space is fully monitored. Our main objective is to keep the Centre and its personnel safe while trials and experiments, which may have an unknown outcome, can be conducted. Analox and Gem Scientific installed 24 units in total to support the safety needs of the laboratories which consisted of 12 A50 monitors and the same number of Safe-Ox+ units.
During the design stage for all the laboratories, it was outlined that all cabling would need to be hidden as the tidy look of the laboratories was integral to the image being represented, but also to avoid any potential damage. Twenty four lengths of cable measuring 25m each were ordered and installed within the walls of the building during construction in order to wire up the monitors once finished.
Our monitors were fixed ambient analysers. These were positioned in areas where gas is either stored or being used. Analox’s Safe–Ox+ has been fitted at head height to alert when unsafe levels of oxygen are present, this includes both depletion and enrichment, which can cause a significant fire risk if exposed to heat, flame or spark. The sensor uses electrochemical technology to monitor the levels of O2 and has two alarm set points. The first one monitors for oxygen depletion levels and is set at 19.5% and the second alarm is set for monitoring oxygen enrichment and has an alarm set point of 23%. The Safe-Ox+ also has a sensor life of up to 10 years meaning it has very low maintenance costs.
The A50 units have been fitted 450mm from floor height because CO2 is heavier than air and therefore will detect if there’s an issue much sooner, if the unit is fitted lower down. The sensor uses infra-red technology to send a signal to the monitor which triggers an audio/visual alarm. Although the unit can have amended set points, changed by the user, we set two alarms on the A50. The first is set to alarm when the levels of CO2 reach 0.5% and then a second at 1.5%, these are the International Safety limits for CO2.
All units installed have been fitted with repeaters outside each laboratory room, one repeater for each A50 and Safe-Ox+. The repeater offers added security, as it mimics the central display unit, warning of a problem before anyone enters the room and into a potentially harmful environment.
As the units are continuous monitors we envisage there should be no need to analyse results unless there is an incident. Levels of oxygen should remain between 18.5% and 21% while CO2 levels should not increase to more than 0.5%.
The pre-planning of distributing the units has meant that lengths of cable could be installed within the walls of the development, creating a much neater and cleaner look to fit in with the highly technical appearance demonstrated by the rest of the building.
The Centre for Process Innovation has been fitted with the recommended number of A50 and Safe-Ox+ monitors in order to safely monitor the laboratory areas. This was advised by Gem Scientific at the request of the contractor provider, SES Engineering Services.
Justin Welton, Managing Director for Gem Scientific said: “SES Engineering Services approached us with a project they were undertaking which would see them fit out 12 laboratories for test and analysis purposes. After conducting a site audit of the facilities we were able to provide a comprehensive and competitive specification for each room.
“SES Engineering Services were working to a strict deadline and we were able to adhere to this. One specific request was for the cabling to be hidden behind the wall and filtered through the lining of the wall instead, a factor which was implemented into the specification given.
“The A50 and Safe-Ox+ monitors were perfect for the layout of the laboratories in order to fully cover the area against any harmful gas leaks to a safe and regulated level. As part of the installation we offered training on all the products in conjunction with Analox in order to provide a comprehensive solution.
“At Gem Scientific we are leaders in the supply of specialist laboratory equipment and consumables, committed to delivering quality products, service and technical expertise. Established in 1997 our highly skilled and professional team are dedicated to sourcing laboratory products from an extensive network of manufacturers worldwide.”
Project Manager, Tony Rogers from SES Engineering Services said: “Once we were awarded the contract for CPI and had produced our initial design and specification for the project we began to look at suppliers. We were referred to Gem Scientific via Analox, who provided us with a comprehensive and competitive quote for the systems. They delivered the project on time and in line with our deadlines. The monitors have been built into the aesthetics of the laboratories and we are very pleased with the finished result.”
A representative from CPI said: “Safety is paramount in our Centre because of the complex analysis and developments we carry out. We want our employees to be able to carry out their roles in a highly safe environment and monitoring the atmosphere for any gas leak is an essential part of this process.
“Gem Scientific’s installation of Analox products through SES Engineering Services has been a quick and easy process allowing us to have very subtle monitors mounted on walls within each laboratory. We pride ourselves on pioneering science and engineering development projects for companies and therefore we mirror this with the technology and equipment we use.”
For more information on CPI please visit www.uk-cpi.com.
If you would like to learn more about SES Engineering Services, please visit www.ses-ltd.co.uk.
Gem Scientific’s details can be found at www.gemscientific.co.uk.
More information on Analox can be found on our website www.analox.net.