Nitrogen Demand Increases for Semiconductor: How Safe Are You?

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As users demand ever-smaller smartphones and better televisions, semiconductor manufacturing plants are tasked with developing new products faster and using new materials. Key to the continued success of the semiconductor industry are inert gases, which include nitrogen and argon. When used safely, both nitrogen and argon play a number of important roles within the semiconductor plant. Yet, these gases poses a health hazard for employees if a leak occurs.

How and Why Nitrogen is used in Semiconductor Manufacturing Plants 

Nitrogen is used throughout the manufacturing process, from purging pumps to abatement. Nitrogen is also used in the process, especially now that fab size is growing. In a modern semiconductor manufacturing plant, as much as 50,000 cubic meters of nitrogen gas are used every hour.

To meet this demand, semiconductor manufacturing plants are installing nitrogen generators onsite. Generators mean a cheap, efficient, and always-ready supply of nitrogen gas to supply production.

As long as nitrogen gas is stored safely in the generator and used properly, there is no health risk. Yet if the generator or supply lines develop a leak, nitrogen gas can escape and deplete oxygen in the environment. Since nitrogen gas is both odorless and colorless, there is no way that staff can monitor their risk.

Along with nitrogen, argon gas is used in semiconductor manufacturing, most notable as a sputtering gas. Like nitrogen, argon gas depletes oxygen from the environment. Like nitrogen, the gas has no color or odor. In a closed area, the gas can deplete oxygen and cause respiratory problems and eventual suffocation.

How an Oxygen Analyzer Can Protect Staff Working in a Semiconductor Manufacturing Plant 

If either nitrogen or argon were to leak into the plant, these inert gases would begin to deplete the levels of oxygen in the air. OSHA sets the oxygen threshold at 19.5 percent or less oxygen in the air. If oxygen levels fall below this, staff could suffer.

When oxygen levels fall to OSHA’s threshold, staff may show signs of confusion or fatigue. Since there are no warning signs that something is wrong, staff can fall unconscious before they can escape the oxygen deficient environment. Once unconscious, they asphyxiate.

It is critical for any workplace that uses these inert gases, including semiconductor plants, to monitor levels of oxygen in the air and alert workers if the ambient oxygen levels fall to the OSHA threshold.

By installing an oxygen monitor and an oxygen analyzer anywhere inert gases are used, manufacturers can protect the safety of their workers through continual oxygen monitoring and fast alert if oxygen levels fall. A wall-mounted oxygen monitor scans the atmosphere and measures the amount of oxygen from 0 to 25 percent, well above the safety threshold. As long as there is enough oxygen in the air — which there will be as long as there is no inert gas leak — the oxygen monitor will remain silent.

When oxygen levels fall to the OSHA threshold, the oxygen monitor will flash lights and sound an alarm, providing instant notification to workers. Staff can take notice and evacuate before negative health outcomes occur.

An oxygen analyzer measures the level of oxygen present in gas produced via nitrogen generator to ensure the purity of the gas for use in manufacturing. Oxygen analyzers are ideal for low level analysis and can measure from 0 to 1,000 ppm. Workers can check oxygen levels at a glance and ensure the nitrogen generator is working properly. When combined with the oxygen monitor for safety, the oxygen analyzer streamlines and safeguards the semiconductor manufacturing process.

PureAire offers industry leading oxygen monitors and oxygen analyzers that can last for up to 10 years after installation with no maintenance needed. These products offer worker protection and peace of mind for manufacturers who want to remain cutting edge in their industry. Learn more about PureAire’s products at https://www.pureairemonitoring.com.

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Tunnel Freezing and Flash Freezing Food with Nitrogen: Oxygen Monitors and Why They May Required

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New developments in cryogenic freezing are transforming the frozen food industry by making it easier to freeze all sorts of items quickly while retaining the highest nutritional value. Cryogenic and tunnel freezers are easy to use, yet they pose a hidden health risk. Learn why you may need an O2 monitor if your frozen food manufacturing facility relies on cryogenic freezers.

How Cryogenic Freezers Work

Cryogenic freezers allow for continuous freezing of food, increasing output without requiring a large amount of space. Compared to mechanical freezers, which take longer to freeze products, they increase both the production and the quality with a low investment of capital.

In particular, cryogenic freezers are useful for freezing par-baked goods, which are partially baked before being frozen for storage. Par-baked items allow fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, sandwich shops, cafes, and other institutions to offer fresh, healthy baked goods without needing to bake from-scratch every day. For a commercial baking facility, investing in a cryogenic freezer is the best way to increase their output, grow their business, and become more profitable.

Cryogenic freezers work by using liquid nitrogen to quickly chill items to safe temperatures for frozen storage. As in any environment where liquid nitrogen is present, there is a danger of oxygen depletion and asphyxiation. Thus, it is always a good idea to have an O2 deficiency monitor present onsite to protect the health of employees.

One subset of cryogenic freezers, the tunnel freezer, uses a continuous freezing model of a conveyor belt, an injection system, and an exhaust system to vent gases. When the texture of the finished product is paramount, as in baked goods or seafoods, or when it’s necessary to flash freeze hot foods quickly, a tunnel freezer is the best way to maintain quality in the end product.

Why an Oxygen Detector is Necessary with Cryogenic Freezers

As mentioned above, cryogenic tunnel freezers rely on an inert gas, nitrogen, to flash freeze food items. Nitrogen is perfectly safe when used in the closed-loop freezer system and properly vented from the facility. However, if the exhaust system were to develop a leak, nitrogen gas could enter the manufacturing facility and start to displace oxygen from the air. Since nitrogen is colorless and odorless, staff would not notice the leak. In a matter of minutes, ambient levels of oxygen could drop so severely that staff could become disoriented, lose consciousness, or die.

Simply by installing O2 monitors wherever nitrogen gas is used or stored, you can monitor levels of oxygen in the air and ensure there is no risk of oxygen displacement from a nitrogen leak. In the event that nitrogen leaks into the environment, the O2 deficiency monitor will sound an alarm and flash lights to let staff know that oxygen levels have fallen below the acceptable threshold set by OSHA. Staff can then evacuate before their health is compromised.

There are many styles of O2 monitors, but the one we recommend for flash freezing environments is the Sample Draw oxygen monitor. The style of O2 monitor can be placed outside the freezer and monitor levels of oxygen inside the freezer using a polyurethane tube. This ensures the sterility of the flash freezing environment while safeguarding workers. With a state-of-the-art zirconium oxide sensor, this style of oxygen detector can last without any maintenance for up to 10 years.

PureAire has over 15 years of experience, and is an industry leader in oxygen detector technology. To learn more about the Sample Draw oxygen monitor, please visit http://www.PureAireMonitoring.com.

 

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A Nitrogen Culinary Experience and How to Remain Safe with Use of Oxygen Monitors

nitrogen_ice_cream_oxygen-analyzer_oxygen_monitor_n2As modernist cuisine has become more popular, restaurant and home chefs alike are turning to liquid nitrogen to create spheres, gels, foams, and even ice cream. While liquid nitrogen can be safely used in a range of culinary applications, there are important safety risks to be aware of when working with this substance.

The Hidden Dangers of Liquid Nitrogen in the Kitchen

Nitrogen can help chefs freeze alcohol, which doesn’t freeze under freezer temperatures. Nitrogen also creates a very rich ice cream, since it makes superfine ice crystals. By using liquid nitrogen to freeze foods, chefs can keep more flavor in the food and preserve higher amounts of the food’s nutrients.

It’s important to note that nitrogen is used only to alter the state of food. The nitrogen itself is not consumed.

While it is no wonder that nitrogen has become so popular in the kitchen, the substance can pose a health hazard.

Liquid nitrogen is extremely cold. If the substance were to spill on your clothing or get in your eyes, it could cause severe burns. Thus, many culinary workers wear an extra layer of clothing (such as an apron) to prevent nitrogen from causing skin burns. Special gloves protect the hands, and safety goggles prevent the eyes from nitrogen burns.

While many are aware of the burn danger from liquid nitrogen, there is a more insidious hazard. When liquid nitrogen meets the air, it starts to evaporate and turns into nitrogen gas. Nitrogen gas is a known oxygen displacer, so the more gas that escapes, the less oxygen the air has. Quickly, nitrogen gas can deplete the air to low enough levels of oxygen that respiratory problems and death via asphyxiation are cause for concern. While you may see the smoke or fog from liquid nitrogen, actual nitrogen gas has no color or odor. Thus, if you miss the fog of liquid nitrogen, you may not know the atmosphere is oxygen deficient until it is too late.

The human brain requires a continual supply of oxygen to work properly. Without this steady oxygen supply, the brain begins to shut down. Confusion and mental fog occur, along with symptoms of respiratory distress, including nausea and vomiting. Due to the severity of these symptoms, an individual in an oxygen-deficient environment has little chance of rescuing themselves before dying.

How an Oxygen Monitor Protects Safety 

If you plan to use liquid nitrogen, take the necessary precautions to protect skin and eyes from burns. Then take the extra step to install an oxygen deficiency monitor or oxygen analyzer.

The oxygen deficiency monitor mounts on the wall in the area where nitrogen is stored and used. The device constantly checks the levels of oxygen in the air. As long as the air is safe to breathe, the monitor remains silent yet alert. If liquid nitrogen evaporates and begins displacing oxygen, the O2 monitor tracks the falling levels. Should oxygen drop such that the air is no longer safe to breathe, the O2 monitor will flash a visual and audio alert telling staff to get out of the kitchen.

The monitors are designed to alert when oxygen levels fall below the limits set by OSHA of 19.5 percent. When oxygen levels are between 19.5 and 15 percent, symptoms of oxygen deficiency begin to occur. Health hazards arise when levels fall below 6 percent. So, the analyzer gives staff enough time to safely evacuate and avoid a health risk.

If you want to use nitrogen in the kitchen, while reducing the safety risks for your kitchen staff, invest in an oxygen monitor. Oxygen monitors from PureAire come with hardy zirconium oxide sensors, which require no maintenance and have a 10-year life span. They are an effective, efficient way to circumvent nitrogen’s hidden dangers. See PureAire’s line of oxygen monitors and oxygen analyzers at www.pureairemonitoring.com

 

 

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The Path to Safety for Pharmaceutical and Laboratories: Why O2 Deficiency Monitors May be Required?

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To safeguard against gas leaks in pharmaceutical industries and laboratories, businesses are turning to oxygen deficiency monitors. Learn when, where, and why an oxygen monitor or O2 monitor may be required.

Oxygen Monitors in Medical and Pharmaceutical Settings

In the hospital setting, nitrogen gas is widely used. During surgeries, nitrogen powers equipment and preserves blood and tissues. Nitrogen gas is also used to freeze and destroy tissue.

Hospitals work with other gases, such as carbon monoxide, for lung diffusion testing and culturing. Laboratories growing cultures for analysis, testing, and research require that the tissue samples be grown under strict environmental conditions. Medical gases can control the environment to ensure that tissue samples are not contaminated by any sort of bad bacteria.

Magnetic resonance imaging machines use nitrogen gas to cool the magnet and keep the machine working properly. As such, it is critical to have an oxygen monitor in an MRI room to protect the safety of patients in the MRI machine and technicians performing the MRI. In 2000, a technician was killed and several others were injured when nitrogen escaped from the closed chamber and into the room.

Pharmaceutical facilities also rely on nitrogen gas for multiple uses. Since the gas can keeps oxygen out of an environment, it can ensure the purity of a chemical compound or preserve the longevity of a packaged medical product. Nitrogen is also kept on hand as a natural fire suppressant and purifier. Nitrogen gas generators allow pharma plants to access nitrogen gas on demand for a low cost.

How an Oxygen Deficiency Monitor Protects Workers in Laboratories, Hospitals, and Pharma

Staff and patients in hospitals, pharma, and laboratories need to stay safe. By installing an O2 monitor in any rooms where potentially harmful gases are used, employers can safeguard their workers’ and their patients’ air quality.

The wall-mounted monitors continually check the levels of oxygen in the air. As long as oxygen levels are above the minimum amount, the alarm remains silent. If a gas like nitrogen were to leak in MRI rooms or lab storage facilities, the amount of oxygen in the air would begin to drop. Once oxygen fell to the minimum safe level, the alarm would go off, warning staff of the problem. Staff could then leave the room and evacuate patients.

While these devices are important to protect public safety, they also keep the facility in compliance with the law. Hospitals, medical, and pharma facilities are required to install oxygen monitors where potentially hazardous gases are used.

Since medical and pharma settings may store and use gases in many locations, multiple oxygen monitors may be needed. PureAire’s oxygen sensors can last for 10 years with no maintenance. Our quality oxygen deficiency monitors are of the highest quality, to provide peace of mind and total protection in medical and pharmaceutical settings. Learn more about the line of oxygen monitors offered by PureAire at http://www.pureairemonitoring.com.

 

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Olympic Training: Use of Cryotherapy and Hypoxic High Altitude Training

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Olympic athletes have been known to try some pretty strange things to enhance their performance. Major Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps has been relying on a special device for the last year, a high-altitude sleep chamber that retails for $15,000. While therapies like high-altitude training and cryotherapy can be beneficial, they do have risks. Learn why you need an oxygen monitor for cryotherapy and high-altitude training chambers.

How High Altitude Training Benefits Athletes

A high-altitude chamber mimics the conditions of high altitude. Phelps keeps the air inside his chamber at 8,500 to 9,000 feet. High altitude environments have less oxygen than low altitude environments. As a result, your body has to work harder to breathe. For Phelps, this means that he can train his body to perform better even while getting a good night’s sleep.

The high-altitude chamber Phelps used is made by Hypoxico. Their high altitude chambers can be adjusted to a maximum level of 12,500 feet. By sleeping in a low oxygen environment and living in an oxygen-rich environment, athletes can avoid the fatigue and dehydration associated with living in a high altitude environment. Since bodies produce more red blood cells at high altitude, the sleep chamber also promotes faster muscle recovery. This is essential for training.

Michael Phelps is far from the only athlete to try this type of sleep training. It’s popular among endurance runners, who rely on breathing capacity to fuel their runs. Dwayne Wade, Lebron James, and Santonio Holmes also use the high altitude training. Pro golfer Tiger Woods reportedly relies on high altitude training too.

How Cryotherapy Benefits Athletes

In addition to sleeping at high altitudes, many top tier athletes also turn to cryotherapy. Whole body cryotherapy exposes the body to extreme temperatures of -240 Fahrenheit for a set period of time. Athletes can stop the treatment at any time using safety measures. The dry chilled air elicits a response from the circulatory system. As a result of spending a few minutes in a cryohealth chamber, athletes decrease inflammation and lactic acid. They also initiate self healing through the nervous system.

The San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Toronto Raptors, and TCU Horned Frogs all rely on services from Cryohealthcare. Floyd Mayweather Jr., LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant also depend on cryotherapy for their competitive edge.

Why You Need an Oxygen Monitor with High Altitude and Cryotherapy

Both high altitude sleep chambers and cryotherapy put athletes at the risk of exposure to levels of oxygen that are too low. When the air does not have enough oxygen to breathe, athletes can suffer respiratory complications and may die from asphyxiation.

High altitude chambers need an oxygen deficiency monitor to measure the levels of oxygen in the sleep chamber. If the settings on the machine malfunction, too much oxygen could be removed from the air. With just a couple of breaths of oxygen-deficient air, someone can become unconscious. Within minutes, they could die.

Cryotherapy chambers rely on nitrogen gas to keep the air chilled to -240 Fahrenheit. Nitrogen gas is known to deplete oxygen from the air. As long as the chamber has enough oxygen, nitrogen can be used to chill the air without posing a health hazard. Yet if there is too much nitrogen, the air will become oxygen-deficient. Thus, anyone taking a dip in the cryohealth chamber could become a victim of death by asphyxiation.

To safeguard users, cryohealth chambers rely on an installed oxygen monitor to continually check levels of oxygen in the air. Likewise, the sleep chamber uses an O2 monitor to track oxygen levels during use. With an O2 monitor installed, users can enjoy their form of training without worry that it will harm their health.

Hypoxico relies on PureAire’s line of oxygen deficiency monitors as a safety feature in their high altitude sleep chambers. PureAire’s O2 monitor contains a zirconium sensor, which can function properly for up to 10 years. The monitor will provide instant notification if oxygen falls below safe levels, so that athletes can escape in time.

To learn more about the line of oxygen deficiency monitors from PureAire, please visit www.pureairemonitoring.com.

Sources:

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/61392/20150618/cryotherapy-works-why-star-athletes-love.htm

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Use of Oxygen Monitors for Nitrogen, Argon, or Cryogenics and Where They Are installed

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An oxygen deficiency monitor or O2 monitor is found in many settings where colorless, odorless gases — including nitrogen, argon, CO2, and cryogenic gases — are used. Always monitoring, the oxygen detector can tell when gas levels rise above those deemed safe, and let off a timely alarm. Learn which settings commonly use an O2 monitor, how the monitor works, and why it is beneficial. 

How Does an Oxygen Deficiency Monitor Work? 

With the name of oxygen monitor, you might wonder why these devices are used in the presence of other gases, such as nitrogen. Gases like nitrogen and argon deplete oxygen from the environment. If you introduce nitrogen into a lab setting, for example, oxygen levels start to drop. Since nitrogen does not have a color or scent, lab workers would be unable to perceive the leak. 

As oxygen levels fall, lab workers would become confused and experience respiratory difficulties and loss of coordination. In a matter of minutes, lab workers could die from asphyxiation. 

When an oxygen deficiency monitor is installed, it becomes easy to tell when a potentially hazardous gas has escaped into the room and is depleting levels of oxygen. Set to go off when oxygen falls below safe breathing levels, the O2 monitor flashes an alert and sounds an alarm to provide immediate notification. This way, staff have enough time to safely clear the premises before experiencing negative health effects. These monitors offer a cost-effective way to protect staff and maintain a safe working environment, and are a best practice for working environments that use these gases.  

Where Oxygen Monitors Are Installed

Since oxygen monitors protect against a range of gases, they are used in many different industries and working environments. Some of the places that use oxygen monitors include: 

  • Laboratory settings – As the example above indicates, lab workers often directly work with potentially dangerous gases in study, research, and teaching. An oxygen monitor in the lab setting operates as discussed in the example above, alerting workers if gases leak. Laboratories are required to install these devices by the 2008 NIH Design Requirements Manual as well as existing OSHA regulations. 
  • Colleges and universities – Since universities have laboratories and work with these gases in teaching and research environments, it should come as no surprise that they have oxygen monitors. In the university setting, these monitors may be installed in classrooms, labs, research facilities, and storage areas to protect students, staff, and facilities workers. As this example illustrates, it is important to use a separate oxygen deficiency monitor in any area where these gases are used or stored. From a leaky pipe to a faulty storage tank, gas could escape in many ways – always posing a health risk. 
  • Medical settings – Hospitals and medical centers need to keep blood, tissue samples, and other supplies properly chilled so they can be used for patients. The cryogenic gases are an easy, inexpensive solution to the storage issue. Yet, anywhere these gases are being used, there is the risk for a leak. In medical settings, an O2 monitor may be used in hallways and individual rooms where nitrogen containers are held. 
  • Food processing plants – It is common to use nitrogen gas in food processing plants as a safeguard against oxidation of food and beverage products. When oxygen enters the food packaging, it causes early ripening and spoilage. Thus, nitrogen gas helps to protect the food and allows for longer storage on the shelf. Since the gas is cheap, environmentally friendly, and easy to use, it is a common solution in the food processing industry. To protect food processing workers, it is critical to have an oxygen monitor evaluating levels of oxygen in the air in case of a nitrogen leak. 

PureAire’s oxygen monitor contains a zirconium sensor, which performs reliably for up to 10 years. This long-lasting sensor makes our oxygen monitors a good investment for many industries. These O2 monitors are easy to set up, work in a wide range of temperatures, and require no maintenance once they are installed. To learn more about oxygen deficiency monitors from PureAire, visit http://www.pureairemonitoring.com.

Source: http://www.gazcon.com/sw13799.asp

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PureAire Oxygen Analyzers & Oxygen Monitors for Nitrogen Generators

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Nitrogen has many uses in industrial applications where oxidation would be undesirable. From carbonizing beer to preserving food, reducing fire danger, and cleaning equipment, nitrogen is a safe, inexpensive gas. For companies that need a steady supply of nitrogen gas, nitrogen generators work well. Learn about the uses of nitrogen generators and why you should use oxygen monitors in environments where nitrogen gas is created.

How Nitrogen Generators Work

Nitrogen for packaging works well in the food and beverage industry for food packaging and bottling of wine. Nitrogen also helps with metal processing, improving the end quality of the product by reducing the chance for oxidation. In the pipeline industry, nitrogen creates a high pressure environment that improves safety.

Nitrogen generators allow you to create nitrogen from compressed air. If you use nitrogen cylinders, then you know how inconvenient they can be. If your supplier is late, you risk running out of nitrogen you need to run your business.

These generators are easy to operate. All you need to do is connect a compressed air line to the inline for the nitrogen generator. Then connect the outlet to the nitrogen line. Now, the generator can run continuously, and can create nitrogen gas that has as little as 10 parts per million of O2. An oxygen analyzer can help you measure the amount of oxygen in the nitrogen gas, to ensure consistency.

It is both easy and cost-effective to use the nitrogen generator in-house. Since you can create nitrogen 24/7, the generator will pay for itself quickly and free you from the dependency on suppliers.

By adding an oxygen analyzer to the nitrogen generator, you can check the level of oxygen present in the nitrogen gas at any time. Purity of the nitrogen is key to successful application. The O2 analyzer runs constantly, allowing you to take at-a-glance readings and make sure that everything is working properly.

Air separation is an alternative to purchasing a nitrogen generator. In an air separation plant, you can separate the air into its elemental components. Natural air is compressed and sieved, to remove any impurities. The compressed air is heated and cooled until the different elements reach boiling points, and separate out. The elements are then returned to a gaseous state, at which point they are ready to be used. As with nitrogen generators, air separation plants benefit from the use of an O2 analyzer to keep an eye on the levels of oxygen.

Safety Benefits of Oxygen Monitors and Analyzers

While oxygen analyzers are beneficial, they also have a practical purpose when used with an air separation plant or nitrogen generator. The oxygen analyzer helps ensure that the nitrogen gas has a very low level of oxygen. It can measure oxygen levels from 0-1000 ppm and keep the oxygen to the minimum needed for your specific usage.

An oxygen monitor can check the environment for levels of oxygen in the air. As long as there is enough oxygen in the air, then the O2 monitor is silent. Should levels of oxygen drop, the O2 monitor will sound an alarm and flash a light, alerting workers to the situation. While nitrogen generators do have a leak detection system, it’s a good idea to add an oxygen monitor as a failsafe.

Nitrogen gas actually depletes the levels of oxygen in the air. If enough nitrogen gas were to leak out, it would reduce the oxygen below safe levels. As a result, workers could become unconscious, experience dizziness, or even die from asphyxiation. By having an oxygen monitor, you can ensure that there is no leak of nitrogen gas from the generator or supply lines.

PureAire offers oxygen monitors with a zirconium oxide sensor. Capable of lasting for up to 10 years with no maintenance, these O2 monitors are a reliable way to ensure that nitrogen does not pose a health hazard in your plant. When coupled with the oxygen analyzer, they allow you to product nitrogen to run your business without creating a health risk for your employees.

To learn more about the oxygen analyzers and monitors offered by PureAire, please visit http://www.pureairemonitoring.com.

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