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Thursday, April 12, 2012

#56 - Generic vs Brand-name terminology – Part 3

We have been talking lately about industry terminology. So without further ado, here are some terms that we use in our industry and what they mean to us: 
  • Gas analysis system – this generally refers to the complete system of gas analysis and may include the probe, filter, sample line, gas conditioning system, analyzer, and other related components.
  • Probe – this is the portion the gas analysis system that pokes into the process to take a gas sample. (Some systems have a filter and a gas sensor mounted in a probe. See ‘in-situ probes’.)
  • Filter – there is frequently a filter somewhere near the probe that removes particulate from the sample while it is still close to the original temperature.
  • Sample line – is the tube through which the sample flows to the analyzer.
  • Gas conditioning system – are the components or systems that remove or mitigate undesirable constituents from the gas sample such as excess moisture, excess temperature, corrosive gases, analytical interferences, etc. These systems may be internal or external to the gas analyzer.
  • Gas analyzer – basically the analyzer is the instrument that measures and displays a reading pertaining to the gas of interest.
  • Gas analyser – same as gas analyzer, just regional difference in the spelling. Both are valid and I have enabled both spellings in the spell-check function on my computer (this is to show peaceful solidarity with all regions; hey, I’m an activist now! that was easy.).
  • Detector / sensor – technically these two items are subtly different, but we basically regard both of them as the part of a gas analyzer that ‘sees’ the gas. The output of the sensor or detector is what is translated into a meaningful gas reading on the gas analyzer.
  • Extractive systems – generally refer to the types of systems that extract a gas sample from the process and send (or pull) it to a gas analyser for analysis.
  • In situ systems – generally refer to systems in which the analysis is done in a probe at the process. No gas is extracted.
  • Process analysis – to us this refers to analyses of gas that is inside of and internal to the customer’s process.
  • Ambient analysis / monitoring – analysis of gas in ambient (usually breathable) air. This condition implies different pressures, temperatures, and gas ranges than what is associated with enclosed processes.
  • Portable analyzer – meaning self-explanatory, except that it also implies that the analysis will be temporary. This is because there is usually little or no sample conditioning components built-into the instrument.
  • Permanent-mount analyzer – meaning self-explanatory, except that it also implies a larger and more complete system that can do continuous gas analysis indefinitely.
  • Continuous analyzer – same as permanent-mount analyzer
  • On-line / in-line analyzer – same as permanent-mount analyzer
  • SOx – short-form that usually stands for ‘oxides of sulfur’. For many gas analysis applications, the most relevant oxide of sulfur is SO2 (sulfur dioxide).
  • NOx - short-form that usually stands for ‘oxides of nitrogen’. For many gas analysis applications, the most relevant oxides of nitrogen are NO (nitrogen oxide) & NO2 (nitrogen dioxide). Of the two, NO is usually present in a much higher proportion. Therefore, NOx may sometimes be analyzed as NO only.
  • NOx and SOx – no real definition here beyond what is said above; but we do receive many written and verbal inquiries for analysis of NOx & SOx where the customer does not state which oxides of sulfur and nitrogen are required. We are starting to think that the expression ‘NOx & SOx’ is over-used almost to the point of irrelevance.
There are many other words in the Nova lexicon of course. But these are frequently-used terms that sometimes require clarification with our customers. Notice that I didn’t say ‘misunderstood by our customers’. The terms defined above are how we at Nova use and understand them. Our customers may have their own usages. It matters not who is ‘right’. We simply need to take the time to come to a common understanding of terminology and proceed from there.

Use whatever terms you like – just explain them and be clear on what you are talking about. We will try to do the same.

We’re Nova. We make gas analyzers for oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, hydrogen, and other gases.
Give Mike or Dave at Nova a call, or send us an e-mail.
sales at nova-gas dot com
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Photo modified from © 2008 Tack-O-Rama Collection

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