Shield provides SA industries with a sound solution to gas leak detection

Johannesburg-based Shield boasts a comprehensive range of products that include; gas optimisation and measurement solutions that encompass gas leak detection and gas flow management, in addition to surface protection products that reduce weld spatter.

As part of a value added service to its client base, Shield CEO Wayne Holt notes that the company makes use of the internationally recognised SDT Ultrasonic Gas Leak Detector to swiftly identify gas leaks which can then be easily repaired. The system is manufactured by SDT International – a global leader in the manufacture of ultrasonic measuring instruments and related technology.

He says: “Unchecked gas leaks contribute towards substantial financial losses and could result in a potentially hazardous situation if the gas is flammable or toxic to humans. The SDT Ultrasonic Gas Detector provides the most precise and cost effective solutions in leak detection, as any compressed gas leak can be quickly and safely identified from up to 80 m away, even in a noisy factory environment.”

According to Holt, gas leaks generate friction, which in turn create ultrasonic sound waves that cannot be heard by the human ear. “Ultrasounds are recognised as sounds that cannot be heard by humans, with a frequency of more than 20 kHz. The friction created by leaking gas is very specific, and can be anywhere between 38 kHz to 40 000kHz, which iscompletely undetectable to workers,” he continues.

Holt explains that the SDT Ultrasonic Gas Detector enables Shield to detect the leak, even in a noisy factory environment. “High frequency sounds are more directional than lower frequency, which makes it easier to pinpoint the source even in the presence of other background noises.”

In addition to being highly accurate, the SDT Ultrasonic Gas Detector is also user friendly. The basic set-up in control situations consists of a hand held unit with headphones, a meter, a sensitivity adjustment and a number of different sensors. Some applications, where leak tightness testing integrity is measured, also require a transmitter.

Holt continues: “The user simply has to walk with the unit at a standard pace to allow for scanning along the X axis and Y axis. Once the leak has been detected, the area can be identified using a lazer pointer or gun sight on the parabolic dish, or more accurately detected when using a flexiblesensor with an attached focussing cone. The leak is then marked with paint, and the relevant maintenance team can be commissioned to fix the leaks by making use of the correct fittings and sealer as well as a recommended o-clip, which is crimped onto hoses where necessary.”

Holt highlights the fact that the majority of gas leaks in South African industrial operations are a direct result of poor maintenance of gas supply lines. “Leak detection should ideally be carried out every six months, however, a number of companies go years without undertaking any checks, and are completely unaware that they in fact have numerous leaks that have been caused as a result of degradation and wear-and-tear over a period of time.”

In order to ensure minimal gas wastage, Shield manufactures its own branded Shielding Gas Economiser System, which together with accurate gas consumption measurement, complements the SDT Ultrasonic Gas Detector by providing a turnkey solution for welding where companies have the ability to carefully monitor and optimise gas consumption through the system’s measurement technology.

An important component of this technology is that the Gas Economiser prevents surges at start-up, allowing for an even flow during welding. In addition, users are also able to conduct routine leak detection surveys. The result has been significant gas and financial savings for Shield clients.

“During challenging economic conditions, most companies operating in the industrial sector have been looking for ways to optimise savings in their facilities. Some of our clients have already realised savings of up to 90 per cent in gas volume consumption,” says Holt. “What’s more, the system has proven to be so effective that some clients are now purchasing additional units of the Gas Economiser and are already making up their initial investment in terms of gas savings.”

Holt stresses the fact that any company concerned about gas leakages simply has to contact Shield to undertake a complete analysis using the SDT Ultrasonic Gas Detector. “Shield aims to provide a comprehensive and holistic service offering to its clients, by providing leak detection services in a professional and cost effective manner, while supplying fixed systems such as the Gas Economiser to ensure further operational savings and worker safety.”

From humble beginnings in 2001, Shield Technologies has established a proven track with customers that include; Actom Group, Kwikot, Powertech, Tenneco Ride Control and The Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. The company’s ethos has resulted in a range of locally designed and manufactured products that not only offer operational value and guaranteed savings but are also environmentally friendly. As the recipient of numerous industry awards, Shield Technologies strives to continually bring innovative and efficient welding solutions to the local market.