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How Sensors Unlock Pollution Control Measures for Industries

Enterprise Technology Review | Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Smart sensors and advancing IoT technology make pollution monitoring convenient for industries, driving worker safety and reducing negative environmental impact.    

FREMONT, CA: The development of sensor technology has led to the formation of comprehensive and intelligent solutions that make use of connected smart sensors to monitor, evaluate and minimize the impact of polluting elements that most industrial facilities release. As the issues of environmental sustainability and worker safety gain significance, industries are taking up greater responsibility and deploying advanced sensors to gain better control over the management of the effluents, emissions, and leakages. Sensor technology is helping enterprises across sectors to determine the quality of air, the presence of toxic gases, and the extent of pollution in industrial discharges. Additionally, technology is enabling the use of smart wearable devices and helping managers to ensure better worker safety. The following points discuss in detail, the scope of sensor technology in industrial settings.

•​ Detection of Harmful Gases through Wireless Networks   

Several industries in the world depend on the use of toxic gases in manufacturing processes or generate them during industrial operations. Storage, delivery, and safe disposal of these gases are central to ensure safety within and around the industrial facilities. Accidental leakage cannot be detected or traced with naked eyes and can prove to be fatal. Sensors play an essential role in detecting the presence of hazardous gases in the air. Modern sensors deployed across industrial sites form a network to provide comprehensive coverage and are controlled from a centralized platform. Whenever the highly sensitive sensors detect a trace of any harmful gas, information is relayed through wireless networks to the control room, and automated alerts are activated, providing managers with accurate information about the location and sensitivity of the leakage. With artificial intelligence incorporated into the systems, it is easier to convert sensor-generated information into legible forms for industrial users to understand and take immediate remedial actions.

Sensor Technology

•​ Sensors to Limit the Escape of Greenhouse Gases  

Natural gas contains methane which is not toxic but raises severe environmental problems when it leaks out before consumption. Being a greenhouse gas, it can have implications which include increased temperatures on the surface of the earth, among others. Smart sensors developed specifically for the purpose of detecting the invisible gas can be deployed across complex gas delivery networks and pipelines. With the reach of sensors, extensive gas networks can be covered to expedite the detection of leakage, thus enabling immediate response towards fixing the leakage. Researchers have developed photonics-based sensors that make detection effective and rapid.

•​  Ensuring Worker Safety with Wearables

Industrial workers are exposed to potentially hazardous conditions in factories. Even with worker safety norms in place, there are chances of sudden mishaps that could lead to fatal injuries or deaths. Advanced worker monitoring systems make use of smart wearables which contain sensors for monitoring health parameters like heart rate, breathing, and more. Some wearables are also equipped to detect activities and gestures. When workers wear these, managers are able to monitor and ensure their safety remotely. Additionally, wherever the workers go, the sensors move with them, thus creating a dynamic monitoring opportunity. 

The potential of smart sensor networks in making industrial operations better is excellent. While sensor technology providers can look to diversify their offerings, industries can take advantage of the services to promote higher standards of worker and environmental safety.