Last year we reported about how 2016 was a great year for UK breweries. It was also a great year across the Atlantic, with there now being reportedly over 4,200 breweries in the US, nearly 2,000 more than in 2012.
Although the amount of large breweries has grown only slightly, the number of microbreweries and brewpubs has skyrocketed, with more than 2,000 cities across the country having at least one brewery to call their own.
WHAT IS CARBON DIOXIDE AND WHY DO I NEED A CO2 ALARM?
Carbon dioxide gas occurs naturally in the atmosphere at a rate of 400 parts per million (ppm). It is odorless, colorless and tasteless.
Carbon dioxide gas is a natural by-product of the fermentation process in breweries – when yeast reacts with sugar in the alcohol. It’s also used in carbonation when beer is put into kegs, bottles and cans.
If levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increase too much, it can be dangerous. An increase of CO2 to 30,000ppm, can result in a person having deeper breathing, reduced hearing, headaches and an increase in blood pressure and pulse rate.
Further increases can lead to signs of intoxication becoming more evident including loss of judgement, unconsciousness and if no prompt action is taken, death.
Care must be taken in confined spaces, whether this is cleaning or servicing walk-in coolers, fermenters, grain silos or mash tuns. Carbon dioxide gas can build up in confined spaces, potentially causing fatalities. In 2013 there was a tragic incident in Mexico when seven workers died in a tank when undertaking maintenance and cleaning tasks.
As carbon dioxide gas has no colour, smell or taste, a carbon dioxide monitoring alarm is essential. Visual and audio alarms need to go off ensuring staff on the brewery floor can evacuate the building and wait for the danger to clear or in more dangerous cases contact the local emergency services.
OSHA EXPOSURE LIMITS
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set exposure limits on gases in the workplace. With carbon dioxide, OSHA has set an exposure limit of 5,000ppm over an eight-hour period, and 30,000ppm over a 10-minute period.
It may not be the law where you are to have a carbon dioxide alarm in your brewery, but it is advisable to have one in order to keep your staff and customers safe and prevent any incidents which could require a full shutdown of the facility incurring maintenance costs and potential loss of revenue.
WHICH CO2 ALARM IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Analox Sensor Technology offer a range of carbon dioxide alarms which can be used to keep your brewery safe. As carbon dioxide is heavier than air and can concentrate at ground level, it is essential to put the alarm at head height so you don’t have to bend down to read it.
The Ax60+ – our fully customisable solution
The Ax60+ is a wall-mountable carbon dioxide detector which comes with a central display unit (this is mounted in a convenient location such as an office,away from the risk area), a sensor unit (installed at floor level where carbon dioxide gas could potentially gather) and an alarm unit.
The Ax60+ can be connected to a maximum of four sensors and eight alarms, making it fully customisable for small and large businesses.
Later this year you will be able to add extra sensors in order to monitor a variety of gases including oxygen depletion and enrichment, for a fully comprehensive solution
We also offer a smaller version of the product for micro and craft breweries, The Ax60+k
The Aspida range – portable and backup monitoring
The Aspida is our personal gas monitor which can be clipped onto a belt and used to protect staff from gas leaks, or used as backup when a primary gas monitoring system fails.
The Aspida can be used to monitor carbon dioxide, oxygen and also comes as a dual monitor which can monitor both.