Mine Hunters, the National Geographic Channel series that follows a team on the trail of gemstones in some of the remotest regions on Earth, recently showed a glimpse of the lifesaving potential of personal gas detectors.
In the clip here, a Tetra 3 gas detector from Halma company Crowcon sounds the alarm as one of the gem hunters explores a ‘muddy pit mine’ in Madagascar.
Constantly monitoring gas levels around the wearer, the Tetra 3 quickly warns them about the dangerous lack of oxygen in the pit – and the mine hunters quickly pull their endangered colleague out of harm’s way.
Although this is quite an extreme example, lack of oxygen or dangerously high levels of other gases are real risks in many more mundane situations. Cooling towers, industrial vats and silos can all be very dangerous, with harmful gases pooling at the bottom – putting engineers, maintenance and cleaning workers in potentially grave danger.
Real-time, accurate gas monitoring is one of the best ways to protect their lives, and Crowcon products are trusted throughout the world to keep people in dangerous situations safe and healthy.
Nature has inspired many scientific and technological advances over the years. Recently, scientists looked into how it is that moths’ compound eyes reflect almost no light – even when flying around a candle.
From this research a new anti-reflective technology has been developed, featuring randomly shaped and angled nanostructures. This randomised pattern actually improves on the already amazing light-absorbance properties of nocturnal insects’ eyes!
Halma company Fiberguide Industries will be using it to improve the efficiency of its fibre optic technology, especially for high-power applications such as medical and industrial lasers.
Fibre optics work by giving light a secure pathway to pass along, with almost no loss or interference. The principle is that whatever light is put in at one end comes out exactly the same, even if it has travelled long distances or through difficult environments. They work by ‘total internal reflection’ – the light bouncing along inside the fibre’s core.
Why then would you want anti-reflective coatings in fibre optics?
The problem comes at the ends of the fibres – where the light is put in, and where it comes out again. Any reflection at these points would be ‘losing’ light from the system.
So, by reducing the amount of reflection at the ends we can make the signal clearer, stronger, and closer to 100% efficient.
Plus, with no light leaking out, there won’t be any moths gathering around either.
One of the unfortunate challenges facing early, low birthweight babies is a high risk of suffering from an eyesight-threatening condition: retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Untreated, it can lead to blindness, and the key in successfully treating ROP is quick detection and diagnosis.
In Louise’s words: “Addenbrooke‘s is the established treatment centre for ROP in the Eastern region neonatal network.
“That used to mean that any at-risk babies in the East of England were immediately transferred to us – sometimes over long distances – to Addenbrooke’s so we could examine them in person.
“This was obviously stressful and disruptive for the baby and its parents, and it created a significant knock-on effect in the ward, requiring other babies to be moved to other units in the region to free up cot space for the transfer.
“It made sense to adopt a new approach.”
Keeler Vantage Digital indirect ophthalmoscopes are now being provided by the ACT to other hospitals throughout the region. With these, staff at the babies’ local hospitals can take a high-quality digital image of the insides of their eyes and send it instantly over to a specialist like Louise for screening.
With innovative use of technology like this, patients can receive better, faster care and hospitals can avoid unnecessary disruption – and the critical expertise of specialists like Dr. Allen can reach those who need it in the blink of an eye.
The ‘Trail by Fire’ team (L-R): Dr. Philipson Bani, Dr. Ian Schipper, Aaron Curtis, Dr. Talfan Barnie, Dr. Nial Peters, and Dr. Yves Moussallam
Tiny, lightweight gas analyzers made by one of our photonics businesses are being flown on drones through the clouds of ash and gases emitted by active volcanoes in South America.
Scientists are checking the emissions released into the atmosphere to better understand the impact of volcanic gases on our climate.
The ‘Trail by Fire’ research team studying volcanoes in the Andes (in Chile and Peru) have been supported by Ocean Optics by providing miniature spectrometers. These instruments analyze light to reveal which chemicals are in the air. A drone will fly our spectrometers through the volcanic plumes to measure toxic gases like sulphur dioxide.
Lulu Lv, a Halma marketing specialist in China, receives the Ringier Award.
One of our specialist ultraviolet light (UV) disinfection businesses has won another award in China for equipment which safeguards food and drink production from biological contamination.
Hanovia won the 2015 Ringier Technology Innovation Award (Food and Beverage Industry) at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre in China. The award was for new technology which cuts the energy used to disinfect food and beverage production water by 60%.
UV disinfection kills micro-organisms in water supplies by exposing them to concentrated ultraviolet light. It is a very effective way to destroy bacteria, viruses, spores and moulds that can contaminate food and beverage products.
Commenting on the award, Hanovia’s General Manager in China, Wang Tao, said: “This is the fifth time we’ve won the award since 2010. It is great recognition of the quality and reliability of our UV technology for the food and beverage industries.”
The Ringier Awards, held annually in China since 2005, encourage innovation. They acknowledge and reward companies who have developed innovative products and technologies in the food and beverage sector.
I am very pleased to tell you that Halma has retained its established position as a member of the FTSE4Good Index – for the fourteenth year in a row. We were a founder member of the FTSE4Good when it started in 2001.
This index measures the performance of companies which meet globally recognised Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices.
There is an increasing role for ESG factors in investment decision making. The FTSE4Good Index is used by fund managers to build investment products and by brokers managing investment portfolios for clients with ethical investment agendas.
Until recently we had a strong focus on the detection of fire with smoke, heat and flame sensors. Then, two years ago, Halma acquired Advanced Electronics, bringing control panels and systems into our portfolio as well. These products protect people, property and assets throughout public buildings, commercial premises and residences.
Firetrace products are a little bit different: they operate as combined detection and suppression systems for specific, enclosed environments to protect high value or safety-critical assets. Server rooms, electrical cabinets, wind turbines and even law enforcement vehicle fuel tanks are all protected by Firetrace – complementing our existing markets and opening up new ones to us as well.
To learn a bit more about the company from its President, Mark Cavanaugh, watch now: