Rel-Tek manufactures a complete line of gas monitoring and control systems, including PC-based data logging and telemetry software and a full complement of field I/O hardware. Sensors include carbon monoxide and other toxics, methane and all combustibles, oxygen(% and PPM), carbon dioxide, NO2, SO2, H2S, smoke, temp, pressure, RH and air velocity. We supply complete systems not just bits and pieces ideal for both large and small monitoring and control situations. Our world-class Millennia-DX PC-based SCADA software provides a dependable, easy to use HMI utility that is powerful, yet economical. Our clients include underground mines, tunnels, factories, water treatment, office buildings, municipal bus garages and other hazardous sites. Rel-Tek is a major supplier to alternative-fueled vehicle maintenance operations (CNG, LNG and LPG). Over 100 approval actions cover this equipment for use in classified areas.
Find locations served, office locations
- Business Type:
- Industry Type:
- Environmental Monitoring
- Market Focus:
- Internationally (various countries)
- Year Founded:
- 1,000,000 - 10,000,000 €
A leader in the industrial sensors and automated monitoring arena.
Automatic sensor calibration is our forte unique to Rel-Tek. It virtually eliminates the major cost of on going gas sensor maintenance, while improving sensor accuracy and safety. MagiKal even extends sensor life. Ask us how? Payback is massive.
Rel-Tek’s motto is “Ahead, Way Ahead.” For 40 years we have been inventing, developing and perfecting new technologies that enhance the safety and productivity of our clients. Our Monroeville, PA campus is ideal for our business.
A history of successes -- Monitoring and alarming systems for detecting flammable and toxic gas emissions began in the underground coal mining industry. Rel-Tek’s 20-mile telemetry over twisted-pair wires provided reliable and economical communications for monitoring our pioneering, MSHA-approved methane, carbon monoxide and oxygen sensors. This cutting-edge engineering soon evolved into other types of sensors, including air-velocity, flame, temperature, vibration and smoke. We developed a unique line of power-circuit barriers and letter-class barriers to enable these sensors to be placed in hazardous methane areas of underground coal mines. Subsequently we expanded many of the MSHA approvals to NRTLs, now covering tunnels and surface usage to UL-913, Class I, Div 1 hazardous area standards.
Deep engineering experience -- Much of our engineering creativity and strength stemmed from many years of aerospace engineering by Rel-Tek’s founder and President, Al Ketler (P.E.) Indeed, he spent a dozen years with General Electric learning from the powerful leaders in the aerospace industry. One of his projects was the SNAP-27 nuclear generators used on all of the Apollo lunar landings. Indeed, the two Voyager missions, and even the New Horizons Pluto fly-over were powered by the same nuclear generators developed under Ketler’s system engineering guidance while engaged at General Electric’s Space Technology Center.
From underground to above ground -- In the late 1980’s the mining products found new markets in the emerging alternative fuels industry. Rel-Tek obtained required NRTL approvals for its mining products for above-ground, OSHA applications, and proceeded to pioneer in this industry. First applications were CNG bus garages at Capital Metro Transit in Austin, followed by projects at Gold Coast Transit and Golden Empire Transit in California. Next came an LNG system at Sun Metro Transit in El Paso, followed by a CNG system at Lowell Regional Transit in Lowell, Mass. Many other alt-fuel applications followed in Texas, Michigan, and New Hampshire. The largest one was New Jersey Transit’s Howell Bus Garage installed in 1997, and to this day operates 252 of Rel-Tek’s methane sensors in its 5-acre building. It was recently upgraded to our high-speed Millennia-FT telemetry system which samples all sensors every 2.5 seconds.
Paying back dividends -- A uniquely valuable feature of Rel-Tek’s gas detection systems is its powerful MagiKal automatic calibration utility. First deployed in 2010, this has grown in popularity such that nearly all Rel-Tek systems supplied since then have included this labor saving feature that virtually can pay back the entire price of the gas detection system every 5-7 years, through the elimination of costly technician labor saving. The use of large tanks of calibration gases further saves the cost of pricey portable gas tanks that are no longer needed. MagiKal’s sensor calibration accuracy is better than possible calibrating manually, as the computer uses 12-bit resolution (+/- 0.0244%) to adjust each sensor using 1% NIST-certified cal-gas accuracy. Even our strongest competitors have failed to copy our pioneering know-how, forcing their clients to waste time and money manually calibrating their gas sensors. Sensors are calibrated by zone, as many as 50 at a time. Cal-gas flow to each sensor is regulated to assure adequate flow to all sensors in the zone. Following any alarm incident, the zone can be re-calibrated to assure accuracy simply by pressing the “Cal-Now” button on the screen. An automatic calibration cycle can be completed in 5-15 minutes, depending on zone size. All before and after sensor readings are logged with date and time for archival records. A failed sensor is flagged for maintenance. A bar chart for each sensor is available on screen for reviewing calibration trends, with signaling if a sensor shows signs of aging. An odd result of automatic calibration is sensor life extension by extra year – ask us how this is possible.
Taking the high road – Rel-Tek’s sensor design philosophy is to make all of our devices Intrinsically Safe, Rather than stuffing conventional circuitry into explosion proof boxes, we choose to engineer the circuitry so that it is Intrinsically Safe, i.e. being unable to ignite methane or other flammable gases, without the need for heavy and burdensome explosion proof housings. There are cost benefits of IS, compared with XP products. NFPA-70 (NEC) specifies that IS approved sensors can be installed in bus garages and other (NEC Division 2) areas using normal wiring methods. XP sensors require their wiring to be installed in sealed, pressure tested conduit, a huge extra cost for installing an XP sensor system. Further to this, our IS sensors can be serviced in situ and while under 24VDC power without shutting down the gas detection system. Not so for XP sensors, as opening an XP enclosure breaches the XP safety approval for the XP box. Therefore, the XP gas detection system has to be shut down for service. Shutting down is a serious event, as the site loses its required gas detection system, and must be immediately declassified. By removing all gas emissions sources, i.e. any fueled buses and vehicles. This is, obviously, a costly, burdensome procedure. Our IS approvals save serious money on installation and during on-going maintenance.
High speed telemetry -- Rel-Tek engineers and manufactures every part of its gas detection systems, including software and field hardware. By having all of these technologies under one roof, we are able to optimize the overall system, trading off hardware and software options and benefits to optimize overall performance. One example is our high-speed, long-distance telemetry that now offers the highest speed and most secure telemetry anywhere – producing data throughput at the rate of 80-120 sensors per second over a distance of 20 miles, virtually error free, using inexpensive twisted pair wires. Radio and optical fiber media are also available where appropriate.
Our software is golden -- .Engineering Millennia software is an ongoing challenge, given changing demands from Windows operating systems. We have continually changed our primary SW code to track annual Windows updates, as Microsoft replaces its aging, but still functional operating systems with new versions. Each new version constitutes a complex and costly process for us and our clients. When Windows-10 was released, we were prepared to offer a new version of Millennia that runs on a Linux OS. All Millennia features remain the same, including high-speed telemetry, data-logging, Boolean control logic, and HMI graphics and so on. But there are no more arbitrary 5-60 minute forced interruptions by Microsoft for downloading updates and interrogations. A gas detection system must be constantly operating, always on guard for hazardous gas releases and alarm conditions. It can’t afford unnecessary and arbitrary interruptions. But Linux is a breeze, as there are no outside interruptions. Linux is also more robust than Windows -- against externally induced viruses, hackers and so on. And, our recent Millennia systems do not need a UPS to protect from hard shutdown and possible file corruption – all too familiar with Windows. On a hard shutdown, our Millennia just reloads itself and restarts in a minute or two without incident, losing a few minutes of data.
Transparent setup and startup – Competitor’s seem to guard their setup methods, icon libraries and instructions from the end users to be sure any future changes are to their profit. Rel-Tek, on the other hand purposely provides its clients with all SW tools and manuals to enable the end users to configure their own screens, adjust action alarm/control threshold, modify their system architecture and so on -- without our direct supervision. This stems from decades serving underground coal mines that are continually adjusting their screens as mining advances and equipment is relocated. This is possible through code and user interface simplification, visible control logic flow and interconnections, detailed documentation with recommended short cuts and examples. Rel-Tek does the initial startup configuration, and future changes usually can be handled with a bit of telephone guidance. Live tele-porting is available when approved and supervised by client’s IT personnel for security.
Networking is our forte – Remote workstations, touch-screen video displays, master/slave, host/client networks are readily implemented over client’s LAN. These remote 22” Touch-N-Know (touch-screen) wall-mounted displays can be read-only or fully active. Also, a central computer can access up to 1,000 sensor stand-alone Millennia PC systems, making for a massive network of data acquisition, system controls, remote monitoring, and so on.