Ed. note: This is typical of initial communications with potential reps and distributors…
Interscan Corporation is a privately held manufacturer of gas detection instrumentation and related software, founded in 1975. The company has been known primarily for its embrace of tough applications and early adoption of factory automation technology into gas detection. Beyond that, we tend to focus on more profitable niche markets, and heavily promulgate our applications expertise, via all sorts of media.
Our main website has plenty of technical information, in addition to the expected product descriptions.
Further to the applications expertise, check out our Knowledge Base. This portion of the site has logged well over 600,000 visits.
Notice that we cover many gases, but are perhaps best known these days for the “exotic ones.” (Meaning formaldehyde, ethylene oxide, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, and hydrazine.) You can also use the parametric search facility, which links to further detailed product information.
Here is info on some of the niches (in no particular order)…
1. Hydrazine/hypergols (rocket fuel), also used in certain military aircraft and in the power industry
Interscan is pretty much the standard at NASA, the aerospace industry, and most of the military, in the US and several other countries. There is also a requirement in the power industry, as hydrazine is used to remove oxygen from boiler feed water. It is highly toxic, and must be monitored. Chances are, requirements for hypergol detection exist in your territory. (At the very least, within the many A&E firms.)
No other gas detection manufacturer is really in this application, with the exception of legacy paper tape units. There should be plenty of opportunities for continuing business.
2. Ethylene oxide (EtO or EO)
EtO is widely used in hospitals as a sterilant for those items that can’t take the heat of steam. Typically, these items are used in the most profitable surgeries (laparoscopes, arthroscopes), and with the beating health care is taking these days, the trend is definitely toward increasing the use of less-invasive surgical techniques. The instruments employed in these techniques require low-temperature sterilization. A number of our dealers—who had never ventured into the health care field–have found it to be a lucrative market area.
The news in the US and the rest of the civilized world has been full of hospital horror stories involving poor infection control.
Here are links to a few articles I have written on this subject, including some oldies but goodies—
Only a few industries kill their customers
The story behind the bacterial outbreak that killed two preemies in Los Angeles
Rolling the dice with patient health
More Infection Control Problems At VA Medical Facilities
The point is that the pressure is on to improve infection control, and good sterilization methods are back in the forefront. Besides the hospitals, there are companies that manufacture medical devices and do their own EtO sterilization, the contract sterilization outfits, and the pharmaceutical industry.
Here’s a heads-up on the main application for this gas.
We’ve sold over 1000 systems for detecting EtO, and our success derives from our product being perceived—correctly—as the midline priced unit that really works. Given the low PEL (1 ppm) of ethylene oxide, the only competitive technology is gas chromatography (photoionization detector), but its high cost and operating limitations (multiple points must be monitored sequentially, rather than continuously) have made it a non-factor in the hospital application.
This market is growing, and our reps/distributors love it, since in many cases, they also provide the service. Although there are certain exceptions, hospital biomed departments do not like to service non-patient equipment, and will outsource it.
Interestingly, hydrazine and ethylene oxide (we can handle both) are two of the very few gases that are toxic, and also have practical LEL issues.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)
Peroxide is being used more and more in health care—in hydrogen peroxide-based sterilizers and for bio-decontamination. The decon(tamination) application is big in the food industry, as well. Competition is light, especially on the systems side.
4. Formaldehyde (HCHO)
Here’s another specialized market. While HCHO is used in many industries, the best applications are in the pharmaceutical industry, manufactured wood products, and the chemical plants. HCHO is also used in the manufacture of certain papers, as it imparts wet strength. For all practical purposes, we have zero competition in this area. Although Enmet and RKI market a unit, you virtually never see them in any application where accuracy and sensitivity are required.
Another one for you to go after. Focus page
5. Peracetic acid (PAA)
PAA is an effective germicide—growing in use in health care and the food industry. Focus page.
6. The “usual suspect” gases
Carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide—All covered, usually with greater sensitivity than the competitors. Not to mention handling them in situations that are difficult. Doing CO is easy, right? Well…MSA recommended Interscan when Caterpillar had a very tough app. System photos.
7. The not-so-usual gases
Bromine, chlorine, ethylene, hydrogen bromide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, ozone, propylene oxide. And hydrogen, when LEL detection is not good enough.
More details for all on the website.
Arc-Max® is our original data acquisition, archiving, and reporting system. While all of our products now have data acquisition built right into them, there are plenty of old installations out there (both ours and those of competitors) that don’t have any data acquisition. Thus, Arc-Max® is perfect for the aftermarket.
It is STILL the only product of its kind that is based on a hard-core SCADA system, field-proven in over 25,000 installations. And, unlike many competitive products, it is compatible with anyone’s sensors. Data acquisition, archiving, and reporting are the natural complements to gas detection. Instantaneous alarms are not enough, as it is usually the long-term relatively low level exposures that create lawsuits. Try finding that credo on any competitor’s website.
9. Custom Systems/R&D
This can be the most fun, the most profitable, and it is bounded only by our collective imaginations. Naturally, we are not limited to our own sensors. We have done plenty of systems employing sensing technology from Others. Your contacts, our combined technology and expertise…why not?