In 2023, we closed out the year with 117 Chateau Databases in use, including full-scale LDAR management, Cal5.0 support, and ongoing SmartFlag projects.

Join us in celebrating this pivotal moment as we continue to redefine industry standards and create products that support our customers and their LDAR programs.

On November 21, 2023, we shipped the 1,226th phx42, surpassing the total number of phx21s (1,225) sold during its lifetime. As of November 30, 2023, we have shipped 1,242 phx42s.

Amazingly, it took us 108 months to sell those phx21s, and only 69 months to sell the same number of our newest model.

Needless to say, we are proud of this accomplishment and grateful to our customers for making our phx line the premier portable VOC analyzer in the world.

We also want to take a moment to recognize the extraordinary work of the team that designed, built, refined, and, now, repairs the phx42s. I know they are all delighted to be making such an important contribution to the LDAR industry.

And, most of all, everyone recognizes it is Jeremy Bolinger who deserves the lion’s share of the credit, which is why we joke (not really!) each phx42 has been handcrafted by Jeremy!

The BEST news is that as we make this announcement, 99% of all of the phx42s we have ever sold are IN THE FIELD, doing what they were meant to do: LDAR. That’s the important part. Maybe we will have a Brownie Celebration, someday, soon.

Portable FID (Flame Ionization Detector) technology has evolved significantly, and when it comes to choosing the right equipment for Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR), it’s crucial to make an informed decision. Today, we’re comparing two leading portable FIDs: the phx42 and the TVA 2020, to see why the phx42 emerges as the superior choice.

Lighter and More Compact

For professionals regularly using a portable FID, the weight and size of the device are critical. The phx42 weighs a mere 7.25lbs (3.29kg), making it significantly lighter than the TVA 2020, which weighs 9.4lbs (4.26kg). This difference is not just about comfort; it’s about reducing fatigue during long hours of fieldwork. The phx42’s compact dimensions (10 x 2.16 x 7.5 inches or 25.4 x 5.5 x 19 cm) also make it more manageable in confined spaces, a common challenge in field operations.

Rugged Build and Advanced Features

In the demanding environments where portable FIDs are used, durability is non-negotiable. The phx42’s aluminum case stands out against the TVA 2020’s plastic construction, promising better resilience against the rigors of fieldwork. Moreover, the phx42 comes standard with Bluetooth connectivity, a feature that costs extra with the TVA 2020. This modern necessity enhances data transmission efficiency and aligns with current EPA Consent Decrees.

Enhanced Performance and Adaptability

Performance-wise, the phx42 offers a wider detection range of 0-100,000 ppm compared to the TVA 2020’s 0-50,000 ppm. This broader range allows for more precise and varied measurements. Both devices offer a 10-hour run time, but the phx42 facilitates continuous monitoring, a critical feature for comprehensive area assessments. It also boasts automatic temperature compensation for extreme cold, a feature requiring manual intervention in the TVA 2020.

Ease of Maintenance and Use

The phx42 shines in its user-friendly design. It features quicker hydrogen refill times (~15 seconds), an important factor in maintaining operational efficiency. The device also conducts self-checks for machine health, reducing the likelihood of field breakdowns. Additionally, the phx42’s automated shutdown sequence to prevent internal moisture accumulation is a thoughtful feature that prolongs device life.

Cost-Effective Maintenance

Cost is a crucial factor in equipment selection, and the phx42 offers significant savings in maintenance and replacement parts. Components like the pump, battery, and charger are more affordable compared to those for the TVA 2020, reducing the total cost of ownership over time.

Conclusion

When evaluating the phx42 against the TVA 2020 for your portable FID needs, the phx42 stands out for its lighter weight, robust construction, advanced features, enhanced performance, ease of maintenance, and cost efficiency. These factors make the phx42 not just a tool, but a reliable partner in the demanding field of LDAR.

For LDAR professionals seeking a portable FID that combines performance, durability, and operational efficiency, the phx42 is an unmatched choice.

The Three-Pass System for a LDAR Tagging Project

Different methods can be used to manage an LDAR SmartFlag Tagging Project: the One-Pass, Two-Pass, and Three-Pass systems.

Method Description

The One-Pass Method streamlines the process into a singular, continuous workflow. One LDAR Project Technician (the Flagger) moves through the facility, flags the location, hangs the tags, and documents the components in a single sweep. At the end of the workday, the data is checked in to the LDAR Database.

The Two-Pass Method splits the process into two distinct stages. First, a technician (the Flagger) flags the areas for a workday. These flags are then checked in, and appear in the SMARTFlag tab in Chateau.
The second pass is then assigned to a different technician by the LDAR Project Manager. This technician identifies each flag, tags the components, and documents them. This process offers a more detailed and careful examination as it allows different LDAR Documenting Technicians to participate in the workflow, bringing in their unique perspectives and insights.

In the Three-Pass Method, the process is further broken down into three stages. Initially, a technician (the Flagger) flags the areas. Once the flags are checked in, they appear in the SMARTFlag tab.
The manager then assigns the flags to another technician (the Tagger), who goes out, identifies the flags, and tags the components. After the tagging process, the data is checked in.
Finally, these flags are assigned to another technician (the Documenter) who goes out and documents the LDAR components. This approach provides even more meticulousness to the process, with different technicians focusing on specific tasks, thus reducing the possibility of overlooking any details.

SmartFlag Grid

The SmartFlag grid in Chateau uses different terms to indicate the state of a tag. For example, “Pending” indicates that the tag hasn’t been documented yet. Flags can be assigned to techs, and multiple flags can be assigned to the same tech or to different techs in sequence.

Remember to unassign or delete flags that have been completed to avoid redoing them. Completed flags show “0 Pending,” which might confuse the technician.

Understanding the Porches

Chateau uses different Porches to manage the asset workflow:

1. Owners Porch
2. MOC Porch
3. New Component Porch
4. Reconciliation Porch (More information can be found in the Training Document.)

When a new component is checked in via Chateau Mobile(on the Android Tablet or Handheld), it appears under different tabs based on the technician’s role. If the tech is a Suggester, the component will appear in the New Components Porch, awaiting approval. If the tech is an Approver, it shows up in the New Components Historical Porch and the Component grid, requiring no further action.

When a component is associated with an existing tag, it appears in the MOC Porch. This happens because it isn’t a new component but an edited version of the pre-existing tag number. This feature is very helpful for LDAR True-Up Projects.

Creating a QC Tour in the MOC Porch or the Component grid is also possible. However, once you have saved a doc grid, the only way to retrieve it is to cycle it back through the Chateau SmartFlag grid by checking it in and out, though it must be assigned to you to check it out.

Controlling emissions throughout a refinery requires more than state-of-the-art artificial intelligence or monitoring equipment. In fact, detailed documentation is a massive component of any LDAR system. Read on to learn three LDAR program record-keeping best practices that can optimize your operations.

Create Clear Record-Keeping Protocols

The most successful LDAR programs feature clear protocols that anyone can follow and are compliant with relevant regulations. To achieve this, your LDAR program must answer three specific questions—which records require storage, where does each record go, and how often does that information need updating? Furthermore, encouraging highly detailed record-keeping practices helps individuals better understand the correct record-keeping actions for different LDAR components and systems. Combined, these two best practice tips enhance your LDAR program’s accessibility and usability among technicians, auditors, and other operators.

Update Records According to Regulation Revisions

Rules and regulations concerning LDAR programs are always changing. Therefore, your program must possess the proper infrastructure to support regular record-keeping updates to comply with congruent law and regulation revisions. Keep your LDAR technicians updated on new components requiring LDAR monitoring, record keeping, and more, and utilize a user-friendly software system that allows for simple record-keeping revisions at any time.

Self-Audit Your LDAR Records

Self-auditing is a common process within the industry that incentives businesses to identify and rectify compliance issues independently, avoiding intervention from the EPA or other agencies. Overall, a self-audit saves both the EPA and the business itself significant amounts of money and time. Furthermore, incentivized internal investigations often produce more successful results than third-party inquiries. Self-audit your documents and record-keeping procedures regularly to eliminate compliance issues effectively. As a bonus, these internal record-keeping investigations greatly prepare your refinery for a third-party audit from the EPA.

Follow these LDAR program record-keeping best practices to ensure a successful, compliant, and safe operation overall. Another way to enhance the performance and capabilities of your LDAR system is to invest in quality equipment and software. Our team at LDARtools has the ideal devices and solutions for your emissions control needs. Order top-of-the-line LDAR testing tools to optimize your operations today.

The SpanBox is an innovative relay/solenoid box controlled by a tablet in kiosk mode, designed to replace traditional gas bags filled with compressed air/methane for instrument calibration. This revolutionary technology eliminates the need for stopwatches, clipboards, and forms, making it easier to calibrate phx21 and phx42 analyzers. The SpanBox increases productivity and reduces the risk of Clean Air Act compliance violations.

Available Models

There are three SpanBox models to choose from based on the number of analyzers and calibration gases required:

  1. SpanBox5: 6 analyzers, 6 calibration gases
  2. SpanBox510: 1 analyzer, 5 calibration gases
  3. SpanBox530: 3 analyzers, 5 calibration gases

Please note that the number of calibration gases needed is determined by the regulations applicable to your facility, and LDARtools cannot make that determination.

Plumbing

For the recommended large bottle setup, you can use either a dual-stage regulator or purchase LDAR# 5199 for each calibration gas if you are using C-10 disposable cylinders. The latter option includes all necessary supplies for your SpanBox and is typically used indoors.

Electrical Requirements

  1. phx42: Each phx42 analyzer requires a conventional outlet, powered by AC/DC Wall-Warts.
  2. SpanBox: Each SpanBox needs two power outlets – one with a USB-C cable and power adapter for the tablet, and another with a standard AC adapter for the base unit.
  3. Wi-Fi Hotspot: One additional outlet is required for the Wi-Fi hotspot in the room.

Wi-Fi Connectivity

While a cellular hotspot is provided at no charge, local Wi-Fi is often more reliable. Please have Wi-Fi credentials available, if possible.

Safety and Methane Hazard Information

Calibration mixtures can include various concentrations of methane with the balance being air. However, the calibration gas will never exceed 2.5% methane, and oxygen should never be below 20%. All mixtures used are non-flammable.

Methane is a colorless, odorless, flammable gas and the major component of natural gas. It forms explosive mixtures with air, but exposure to methane at 10,000 ppm has no toxic effect. Methane is listed as a simple asphyxiant by ACGIH (1982) and its exposure limits should not exceed 5% by volume in air.

In conclusion, the SpanBox offers a modern, efficient, and safe method for instrument calibration. By following the guidelines for installation and safety, your facility can increase productivity while minimizing the risk of compliance violations.

It’s summertime in Texas and that means if it’s not raining you are sweating. Did you know that your Android probably has settings for wet conditions? Check out the user’s manual for more info.

Here’s a bit of info about one of our favorite handhelds.

For six years, Juniper Systems’ Archer 2 provided users with the assurance of optimum performance in the harshest environmental conditions. Today, those once relying on the Archer 2 for this assurance need not be concerned with its discontinuation and release of the new Archer 3 Rugged Handheld.

In three available models, all of which surpass the performance of their predecessors, the Archer 3 comes equipped with the quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, Android 7.1 operating system, quadrupled RAM and twice the flash storage of the Archer 2. But what’s more is the Archer 3 retains the Archer 2’s exceptional level of durability.

As with the Archer 2, the Archer 3 is IP68 waterproof and dustproof, and holds an MIL-STD-810G rating for shock and elemental resistance, operating in temperatures ranging from -22° to 140° F (-30° to 60° C) and withstanding 4-foot drops to concrete. The user also has the same Touch Profiles available for the Archer3’s capacitive touch interface, ensuring zero interference from water or sweat in either pouring rain or extreme heat and humidity.
The combination of these features ensures superior performance and reliability in all environments, making the Archer 3 an optimal tool for mobile data collection.

The Archer 3 is designed and assembled by Juniper Systems in the United States.

archer 3

In the last several months we have developed new H2 Filters, begun the transition to the v2 Sample Probes, and implemented the .22 micron Probe Tip Filters to enhance the Filter Removal Detection Feature.

The accompanying chart demonstrates the effect: our total count of “WO Days”  (total units in for service times the number of days they have been in our repair lab) has come down significantly. Of course, when that number hits zero – we have a… (here it comes)… Brownie Celebration!

phx21tophx42-1

Part of our phx42 initiative includes the development of an Intrinsically Safe Smart Battery Pack.

Last week the National Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) we’re working with subjected the battery pack to a short circuit test. Unfortunately, we experienced a test jig failure, so they were not able to complete the testing on the provided samples.

We’re working to prepare a custom tab solution for this test and we’re confident that the test will be completed successfully in the next few weeks. Keep in mind, we’re not making any changes to the pack design, this is a very strenuous test that requires special sample preparation!

If you have any questions, let us know at sales@ldartools.com.

phx42-basic-information-sheet