NEW PRODUCTS Improving safety for hyperbaric interventions 18 Feb 2014
HydroWork GmbH News Release
A mobile automation system is to be introduced to market for precise digital recording of vital data that will improve safety for workers engaging in compressed air work in TBMs.
Typical TBM compressed air man-lock

Typical TBM compressed air man-lock

The Compressed Air Intervention System (CAIS) is developed by HydroWork as a response to manual paper-and-pen recordings of man entry and exits into the decompression chamber that currently predominate.
The German-based company specialises in installation and maintenance of man-locks, provides specialised TBM services including repairs under hyperbaric conditions, and offers compressed air medical support.
"CAIS helps automate the exact times and sequences in which a compressed air worker is introduced into a work space that has an excess pressure environment, can perform his work there, and be recovered," said Peter Späth, dive and hyperbaric superintendent of HydroWork, and also the company's founder. "The gradual recovery period, the so-called decompression period, serves to protect a person's life and health, which is why such assignments are subject to strict time limitations. But current time recording systems are anything but precise."
Digital recording of accurate pressure, oxygen and temperature information
Digital recording of accurate pressure, oxygen and temperature information

Digital recording of accurate pressure, oxygen and temperature information

The CAIS system contains all the components needed for mobile automation including oxygen reading devices, digital displays that provide all the requisite data and figures for the man-lock attendant, a control panel, sensor ports, a hand-held scanner and network supply, as well as a 12in multifunctional touch panel.
Precise electronic displays on the screen panel, which are accurate to two decimal places, enable an immediate counter-reaction to the tiniest change in pressure during the holding stage in the decompression chamber. "This greatly reduces the risk of decompression sickness caused by pressure fluctuations during the recovery process," said Späth, who has developed the new system over two years based on his own experience and that of fellow compressed air workers and lock attendants.
"The times of ingress and decompression worldwide have until now been manually recorded by lock attendants - and this usually involves a ballpoint pen and paper, in a damp and dirty atmosphere," said Späth. "The frequently illegible and smudged recordings not only result in the need for multiple and time-consuming checks by personnel departments, they are also risky, because even the slightest imprecision can damage health and have the potential to lead to high damages claims against employers."
Using the new digital system, compressed air workers use a swipe card to record entry, and the same card to record exit from the man-lock. Between times all data is recorded, and a live profile can be retrieved and analysed by the construction manager or medical personnel at any time, even by SmartPhone.
A mounted CAIS unit

A mounted CAIS unit

Additionally a complete log of data for each individual entry is uploaded to a special website where the information is retained for the statutory 10 years.
"The advantages of the mobile automation system are obvious, especially with regard to safety," said Späth. "But it also means that the employer can fall back on precise figures in the event of a damages claim, and this is a difficult task without unambiguous figures."
CAIS will be introduced to market in June (2014), and will be available for hire on a daily basis. The system can be installed to all makes of TBM in just two hours, and customers can either choose to take advantage of HydroWork technical staff to complete the installation or have their own operators trained in the use of the system.
"Once the contract has been completed our team and case return home, but what remains is transparent and complete data, minimised risk, and an easier comparison; for example for treatment and further treatment of compressed air sickness with compressed air doctors," said Späth.

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