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Function and purpose of a gas detection device

Gas detection devices quickly and accurately measure the concentration of gases in the air. They contain built-in sensors, which are often based on infrared technology or electrochemical principles. These sensors are very sensitive to the gases being detected and show changes in concentration directly and reliably on a display.

Some devices also have an acoustic warning signal if increased concentrations of toxic or explosive gases or a reduced oxygen concentration in the room air can be measured.

Which gases can be measured?

The range of gases that can be detected is very wide. Typically, oxygen detection is distinguished from the detection of explosive, toxic or combustible gases.

  • Oxygen (O2): Oxygen is the basis of all our metabolic processes, such as respiration. If there is too little oxygen in the air we breathe, there is a risk of suffocation.
  • Hydrogen (H2): Hydrogen is becoming increasingly important with new energy technologies. However, when combined with oxygen, it can very quickly lead to explosions.
  • Carbon oxides: Carbon dioxide (CO2) and the even more dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) are mainly produced during combustion processes. In elevated concentrations, both gases can interfere with breathing and can lead to death.
  • Nitrogen gases: Nitrogen-containing gases, such as NO and NO2, play a major role in exhaust gases or, as amine compounds, are also byproducts of organic reactions.
  • Sulfur compounds: Sulfur compounds are a common product of putrefaction processes and are found, for example, in wastewater treatment plants and landfills. Typical representatives are H2S and SO2.
  • Hydrocarbons: Hydrocarbons can occur as organic vapors in the chemical industry or, like methane, also naturally.
  • Other hazardous gases include chlorine compounds, phosphorus compounds and the extremely toxic HCN.

Where are gas detectors used?

The occurrence of hazardous gases can play a role in many areas of application. For example, a gas detector can be useful in research and development, industrial areas, fire departments and rescue services, but also in mining, tunnels and underground channels.

Fire department

Whether in fires or in hazardous material operations – gas detection equipment is an indispensable part of the equipment used by the fire department and other rescue services. The personal protection of firefighters and rescue workers is always in the foreground. Here, the measuring devices provide valuable services and give early warning of the dangers of gases that may occur, for example, in fires or gas leaks.

Industrial applications

In numerous industries, employees can come into contact with hazardous gaseous substances, for example in the chemical industry or the oil and gas industry. Extreme temperatures and contact with toxic hazardous substances are also commonplace in the metal and steel industries. In order to avoid incidents in refineries or chemical plants and to be able to act quickly in dangerous situations, gas detection devices are irreplaceable.

Municipal supply

In the municipal supply of water, wastewater or heating gas, the use of gas detection equipment is equally indispensable for the protection of employees. In sewage treatment plants, sewer systems or in tanks, aggressive vapors and explosive gases can endanger the health of workers. For example, many chlorine- and sulfur-based substances are generated in water treatment and must be detected early at low concentrations to prevent health hazards.

Underground spaces

In mining, the use of suitable gas detection equipment has a long tradition to protect the lives of miners. In this environment, a quick response is required if the air being breathed contains hazardous gases or if oxygen is running low. Gas detectors can also be used in other underground spaces, such as wine cellars or other storage cellars, to ensure the safety of employees working there.

Different types of gas detection devices

Tailor-made solutions exist for different applications. Generally, a distinction is made based on the local flexibility of the device (mobile versus stationary) and the technical flexibility (single or multiple gas devices). The gas detector types available at are presented in detail below.

Single-gas monitors

Single-gas monitors are designed to very specifically and sensitively measure the concentration of a particular gas. The instruments then contain a special sensor that responds only to the gas being detected. Typical applications include oxygen gas monitors, CO2 gas monitors, or carbon monoxide detection devices.

Multi-gas detectors

Multi-gas detection devices are usually more expensive than single-gas detectors because they are suitable for the simultaneous detection of several gases. Therefore, the sensor system is also correspondingly more complex in design. The Dräger gas detector X-am 5600, for example, can reliably detect 1 to 6 toxic, flammable or explosive gases and is especially suited for industrial use under the corresponding harsh environmental conditions.

Stationary measuring instruments

Stationary instruments are permanently installed at the appropriate locations and are used for continuous monitoring of an area. They can be designed for one or more gases. Typical applications are the monitoring of entire industrial plants or basement rooms.

Mobile measuring devices

Mobile measuring devices are used when they are used as part of personal protective equipment or have to be very flexible in terms of location. The devices are light and handy and warn employees of dangerous situations at an early stage. Mobile devices such as the Dräger X-am 5000 gas detector are used, for example, during firefighting operations or in mining.

Gas detectors from – our assortment

The offer at contains mainly mobile gas detection devices exclusively from brand manufacturers, from single gas detectors to complex multi-gas detectors.

  • Dräger X-am(R) 5000: This is a gas detector for 1 to 5 gases. It is handy and reliably detects combustible and toxic gases as well as oxygen.
  • Dräger X-am(R) 2500 Flex: This device has been specially developed for use in potentially explosive atmospheres and is therefore particularly safe. It detects 1 to 4 different gas types.
  • Dräger X-am(R) 5600: This is a particularly ergonomic, robust and waterproof measuring device that can detect up to 6 gases.
  • Dräger X-dock(R): This series allows you to control all existing portable gas detectors with one station. With automatic gassing test and optimized calibration, your portable instruments are always ready for use.

Maintenance, calibration and adjustment of a gas detector

To ensure that gas measuring instruments function without errors and display the correct measured values, they must be regularly maintained, calibrated and, if necessary, readjusted. Details are regulated in the two standards DIN EN 60079-29-2 (explosive gases/vapors and oxygen) and DIN EN 45544-4 (toxic gases/vapors). The two leaflets T021 and T023 describe the procedure in detail.

The standards stipulate that portable devices must be exposed to the gas to be tested before each shift to ensure that they function properly. In addition, equipment for flammable gases must be calibrated every 4 months and equipment for oxygen or toxic gases must be calibrated every 6 months.’s team of experts will be happy to assist you in performing the appropriate calibrations and adjustments.

Safety first: Order high quality gas detection devices from!

You want to increase the safety of your laboratory or your equipment and have decided to buy a gas detector? Feel free to contact us so that our expert consultants can provide you with competent and personal advice and help you find the optimal device for your application. You can reach us at +49 30 2096579 00 or via e-mail at [email protected].