Did you know that LDARtools has a web store? Our web store can be found at www.storeldar.com At Store LDAR we carry a variety of items used in the LDAR industry, LDAR dataloggers, the phx21 and much more.

We carry the phx21 and supplies for the phx21, such as, the Backpack-Deluxe (LDAR# 696), which makes a long day of monitoring a lot easier. We also carry phx21 common repair parts and supplies for the phx21. We have an entire category title “Keep on Site” which has a variety of parts and supplies that keep work going on site to limit time lost.

You might also be interested to know that we carry TVA parts as well. We carry the most common parts and supplies needed, such as, chargers (LDAR# 1063),  TVA Disc Filters (LDAR# 190) and pump diaphragms (LDAR# 338).

Need to do some short term monitoring? We also offer rentals on most of our equipment!

Come check us out today. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter (@ldartools) or Facebook to receive store specials.

As we have discussed in recent blogs, the advent of TVA wireless capabilities has triggered the introduction of much more powerful and flexible LDAR dataloggers to work along with the TVA-1000B and any other VOC detector. These enhanced fugitive emissions instruments have opened up the possibility of addressing and achieving a wide array of LDAR solutions.

One of the most important LDAR solutions involves being able better to understand the factors that are driving the cost of any LDAR program. In the past, it has been assumed that the facility owner was paying for in-house employees or contractor technicians to “monitor LDAR components.” The most experienced and perceptive LDAR managers have long recognized that the real cost of an LDAR program is not the time that it takes to monitor components, but the time that it takes to prepare to monitor, get to the components, identify the specific component that is next in the route, perform any required tag maintenance and then find the next component, not to mention the time required for permitting, safety updates, lunch, breaks and the end-of-day routine.

Looked at from this point of view, we can see that most of an LDAR technicians day is actually spent “not monitoring” even when her work is effectively organized and she is determined to operate at as high a level as possible. In the past, however, the only question that could be reasonably asked, at the end of the day, was “how many components did you get monitored?” For this reason (because it was just about all the data that was available) this was how we tracked technician performance and understood the nature of the expense.
Stated another way: it takes, perhaps, 2 minutes to monitor an LDAR component. But if it is the first component of the day, it could “take” 60-90 minutes, or more. And if the data does not lead the technician directly to the component or if GPS resources are not available, then it could take even longer. It is this extraordinarily long non-monitoring time that is the proper subject of the most diligent analysis.

With the new TVA wireless capability, which is also available for other VOC detectors (such as the phx21™), the LDAR datalogger can now easily record a wide array of information about the time that the technician is not spending monitoring components. How long are the lunch breaks? The technician knows. Do you? How long are the morning and afternoon breaks? How much time (and money!) is being spent on the end-of-day routine AFTER the last component is monitored?

Years of analysis demonstrate that the best technician actually spends less than half of a typical 10-hour day with her probe on an LDAR component. What is being done for those other hours and how can the program be improved to minimize this time? Asking the most important LDAR question is essential to finding the best LDAR solution.

The first step is to deploy fugitive emissions instruments (such as Bluetooth adapters and LDAR dataloggers) that can capture the data that you need.

The next step is to have the right LDAR software in the handheld and on the desktop. The right software on the handheld will help ensure that you collect the information that you need. While the right LDAR software on the desktop should help you mine the data to efficiently assess what the technicians were doing and how their work can be better organized to maximize the value of each LDAR dollar you are spending.

The first LDAR dataloggers were (are you ready for this?) 3/5 cards connected by brass rings. Seriously. How far have we come, since those ancient days? The first innovation was Lotus and then Excel Spreadsheets. Followed by printouts from computer programs that displayed tag numbers, identifying characteristics and location descriptions and provided a place to record the readings. Some technicians even used pencils (hence the horrifying term “pencil whipping.”)

Then came the first, bulky, cumbersome, unreliable LDAR dataloggers that ran a primitive monitoring interface program called MARS. We had an LDAR datalogger but not a very robust LDAR datalogging process. This was so because the MARS software was really nothing more than an automated rolodex of 3×5 card type data files on which all you could record was the reading: you “flipped” to the next component, found it, monitored it, recorded the reading on your datalogger and then “flipped” to the next component record.

But LDAR monitoring isn’t that easy now and it wasn’t that easy then. So whenever anything else happened (and lots of stuff happened) your LDAR datalogger became pretty much useless. If you couldn’t find the component, you just left the monitoring reading blank. The consequence of that was that, later, somebody else would have figured out what to do next: send another technician to try again, maybe?

Of if the tag had fallen off or you thought the ½ inch size should be 2 inches, or you could tell to a certainty that the component had been removed from service, or an operator told you that the valve was temporarily out of service and would be back in service in 3 days. What did you do? There are at least xx things that a technician can experience at a component other than simply monitor it. The old LDAR datalogging methodology was completely unresponsive to any of those events. The technician had to pull out a legal pad, pocket notebook and record the event for later reference or he simply ignored it and went to the next component.

(For a list of those non-monitoring events and to evaluate how effectively your program is managing them, click the image below.)

Human nature being what it was (and still is!) all too often the most reasonable thing to do was just ignore just about everything.

When we achieved the ability to electronically interface the analyzer with the datalogger via the famous AIMS cable, we were able to capture specific time and data stamps for each monitoring event. This represented a dramatic improvement in LDAR dataloggers. This increased reliability and simplified the process by removing the task of physically recording the reading. It increased accountability, presumably, by capturing the time and data stamp when the reading occurred and associating it with the reading.

But it did nothing else to facilitate the full scope of the technician’s responsibilities. The LDAR datalogger was not designed to routinize the capturing and management of all of the non-monitoring specific data. With the advent of the LDAR Bluetooth adapters, the industry was able to integrate much more powerful handhelds running far more sophisticated software. It is this software that paves the way for vast improvements. We will detail those improvements in our next blog.

While the comment you posted has been removed as it was not relevant to the topic, you did say you were having trouble with your phx21 and that we(the people behind the product) were not “loyal”. While I am not sure what you mean by loyal, we are eager to help you with your phx21 problems.

A portable FID is a very complex instrument and you will have occasional issues but we have nearly 300 in the field working and we have 2 in our shop being worked on. I am certain we turn you into a happy customer if you let us try.

Hopefully this message reaches you, as you did not leave a valid email address.

Please contact me immediately and I will make arrangements to visit you.

Kevin Moses
Director of Operations
primary 281.542.3108

The TVA-1000B Bluetooth Adapter has revolutionized the way LDAR technicians interact with the tag information and monitoring data that is at the heart of their responsibilities. Prior to the introduction of the Thermo TVA-1000B Bluetooth Adapter, the LDAR technician tpyically interacted with the tag and monitoring data through the use of the MARS software program on the LeakTragger datalogger. While is was the state-of-the-art for the LDAR Industry for more than a decade, MARS was really nothing more than an automated 3×5 card filing and recordation program.

With MARS, there was no ability to enhance, edit or improve the information. Tag maintenance information (information about new tags, tag changes or corretions to exising information) was either recorded on legal pads or pocket notebooks (for later research and then data entry) or it wasn’t done at all. While the TVA-1000B Bluetooth Adapter didn’t change this dynamic, per se, it did pave the way for the application of a full range of handheld dataloggers (PDAs) that offered the opportunity for far more sophisticated software programs.

The possiblity of these more advanced software programs opened the door for a complete re-engineering of the way LDAR Technicians interacted with the data. It also laid the foundation for a far more robust accountability system for the technicians and their work.  What had been unthinkable, before the technological breakthrough of the TVA-1000B Bluetooth Adapter, soon became mandatory: GPS assistance, one-step tag edits, real time technician protocols triggered by specific data events, seamless capture of delays, time gaps, monitoroing interruptions.

Each of these essential improvements flowed directly from the integration of new software and handheld dataloggers that were triggered by the arrival and adoption of the TVA-1000B Bluetooth Adapters.

In the beginning there were those who thought the primary benefit of the TVA-1000B Bluetooth Adapters would be to eliminate the aggravation and disruption of the old AIMs cable interface between the TVA and the LeakTracker. But for those who understood the industry the best, it was nothing less than an invitation to re-engineer the entire LDAR Industry.

In the earliest days of the LDAR Industry, there was the Foxboro OVA-108. It was an analog VOC analyzer that presented its PPM results on a dial that made getting a precise reading a lot like trying to tell time with a sun dial. In the fall of 1995, the momentum shifted toward the Thermo TVA 1000. Interestingly enough, it was not the fact that the Thermo TVA 1000 was a vastly superior analyzer that drove the dynamic. The TVA 1000 WAS a digital device along with being much easier to calibrate precisely. When Thermo released the TVA 1000B, with the capability of recognizing multiple calibration (span) points, the technological advantage of the TVA over the OVA was fully achieved.
But the market force that catapulted the Thermo TVA 1000 and 1000B to the undisputed LDAR Industry leader was the capability of interfacing it electronically with the LeakTracker hand held datalogger. By enabling the direct connectivity of the Thermo TVA 1000B with the LeakTracker via the AIMS cable, the integrated package brought about a sea change in the expectation that everyone had about how monitoring readings were generated, captured and labeled with time and date stamps calibrated to the precise second. These time/date stamps and the fact that they were generated automatically by the system (sometimes unbeknownst even to the technician) became the coin of the realm for LDAR program managers determined to shore up the integrity and reliability of their LDAR monitoring results.
Data recordation, management and integrity proved to be a far more compelling LDAR feature than the technological advantages that one analyzer possessed over another.
And so the pattern was set.
The Thermo TVA 1000B maintained its industry domination until the data recordation process experienced another sea change in 2007, when Bluetooth technology started to redefine the LDAR Industry. Almost overnight, the introduction of Thermo TVA 1000B Bluetooth Adapters ushered onto the scene a phalanx of successors to the LeakTracker. The primary selling point was no longer that you had a Thermo TVA 1000B- but that you had a Thermo TVA 1000B Bluetooth Adapter. The analyzer’s function and value was defined, almost, by how it communicated its result to the PDA that the technician was carrying.

And that changed everything.

Day-in and day-out, countless environmental professionals all over America are doing the essential work of the LDAR Industry. The owners of the facilities in which they are working, the contract organizations by whom they are employed and the children who breathe the air in the parks down the street are all relying on them to perform their duties with diligence and integrity.

The challenge of the LDAR Industry has always been that it was easier to allow yourself to think that the monitoring was done properly and thoroughly than it was to confirm that it was. The fact that a traditional LDAR database was fully populated with all the scheduled monitoring results was seen by far too many for far too long as sufficient evidence of compliance.

Boy, how things have changed.

The regulatory agencies have become far more sophisticated in their auditing procedures. The “appearance of compliance” no longer survives as a measure of program success. More robust
expectations and requirements have been codified in one EPA consent decree after another.

EPA Section 114 requests have given the regulators an important tool to dig deeper and faster into the mountain of data to look for those important signs that lead to confidence about the integrity of the program and its technicians.

At the same time, the advent of new technology such as the TVA 1000B Bluetooth and phx21 devices have laid the ground work for the facility owners and contractor management to mine the data much more quickly to make their own assessments and tailor their own efforts and responses to maximizing the level of compliance success. Nothing has done more for advancing the reliability of Method 21 efforts than the introduction of handheld computers that quickly followed the dawn of the LDAR Bluetooth age.

In future blogs, we will address and then focus on the advancements in LDAR compliance, confidence and efficiency that this new age of LDAR has made possible.

LDARtools has a Certified Repair Technician for the Archer Field PC manufactured by Juniper System Inc, – Mike Anders. Mike is certified to service and repair the Archer Field PC to assembly level. Since being certified in March 2011, Mike has serviced/repaired more than 240 units for various customers from the United States to Taiwan. These LDAR dataloggers are being utilized in chemical plants and refineries owned by companies such as ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, DOW, and Paramount Petroleum to name a few. Most units serviced/repaired are FM Approved Non-Incendive for use in Class 1, Div 2 hazardous environments.

While we do our best to repair all units with 72 hours of arrival, sometimes this cannot be the case. For those occasions, LDARtools guarantees the following:

Repair Lead Times for standard warranty and charged repairs or upgrades are completed within 5-10 business days from arrival to the repair center (not including shipping time and time spent at OEM/reseller facilities if not shipped directly to the repair center). If this lead-time cannot be met, the customer will be notified and given other options. If you need the repair or upgrade sooner, LDARtools offers Archer Extended Warranty and Expedite Service programs to speed the repair, as explained on our web store.

Warranty of Service/Repair Provided:
After any repair has been completed, LDARtools warrants the parts and workmanship of the repair for 90-days. This includes product repairs that are performed during on-site visits and at the repair center. The repair warranty is limited to parts (e.g. components that were replaced in the unit) and labor for that specific previous repair. For example, if the product is returned within the 90-day repair warranty period and the subsequent repair is completely unrelated to the previous repair, it is charged (unless covered by another warranty policy). For a list of the repair warranty exclusions, please refer to exclusions stated by Juniper Systems standard warranty terms and conditions.

For repairs not covered under a warranty program, it is the customer`s responsibility to provide payment information once the reapir order has been processed via the LDARtools web store. If requested when submitting the RMA, a repair order estimate can be provided to the customer after the initial evaluation and prior to any repairs being completed. The repair technician will place the repair on HOLD until receiving the customer`s authorization to proceed with the repair.

Great Customer Feedback

I am very pleased with the PHX21. We have 5 at the site. The calibration set up using cal 3.0 span box is awesome for error free calibration records!
Michael Woods
BP Texas City

We often get asked to summarize the best hardware and software tools for bid packages. Below is the summary of the current “state of the art”:

Calibration: Provide an automated method for calibrating and drifting analyzers both daily and quarterly. Defined as: Automatic Ignition, monitored analyzer warmup, hands-free gas application at controlled flow rates, automatic calculation of confirmation and drift percentages, and hands-free timing for response time determination.

Analyzer: Provide an FID analyzer with filter status notification, monitoring lockout if not calibrated, diagnostic logging, factory support for on-site repairs and a carry weight under 10lbs. Wireless re-ignition compatible.

Field LDAR Software: Provide a Windows Mobile software that includes: Automatic timed safety stops, deflection detection and monitoring time extension, GPS component vicinity location assistance, timed based bread-crumbing with component monitored logging, beacons for compontents to reference location without GPS signals, electronic tag maintenance logging, electronic AVO reporting, electronic OEL reporting, wireless reignition compatible.