February 22, 2012

Protecting People and Property from Silane Flame

Hi everyone. I’m Xavier D’souza from Net Safety and I’d like to tell you about an interesting safety challenge that occurred at a semiconductor manufacturing plant that could have implications for your industrial environment.

The company is a multi-national semiconductor manufacturer that wanted to significantly reduce the risk of a catastrophic event in a wafer manufacturing plant that is very close to a nearby town. The challenge they presented was to assure no risk of an uncontrollable fire by means of a system that could provide reliable detection and mitigation within 90 seconds or less. They needed fast accurate detection in a complex outdoor area monitoring for the presence of invisible Silane flame. Silane Gas (SiH4) is an extremely volatile and toxic gas which can spontaneously ignite on contact with air without any external ignition source, and is almost invisible to the human eye (similar to hydrogen [H2] flame). Silane combustion products, OH and H2O, are responsible for most of the Silane flame emission in the UV (below 0.3 microns) and near IR (2.7 microns) spectral bands.

Net Safety offered our UV/IRS-A-H2-SS-X for this application, the detector has a 130o Horizontal and 95o Vertical FOV and its sensors are fine tuned to the wavelengths produced by Silane flame. We backed up the product performance claims using the data provided by the South West Research Institute which independently tested the flame detector for Silane & Hydrogen Flame. The report produced confirmed that the Net Safety UV/IR H2 flame detector will detect Silane flame in < 2 seconds.

Net Safety worked with our integrator in Italy to provide a SIL 2 approved panel with our detectors, which have their own independent exida SIL 2 rating report.

After successful completion of installation, the integrator carried out performance testing. The time required to create a foam height of 1mts from the point of fire detection was < 90 seconds – this objective was achieved.

Whether you are monitoring for Silane or hydrogen in your plant, finding a detection system fine tuned to the appropriate wavelength will be one key factor to your success.