RKI Instruments, Inc.: Delivering the Most Compact Gas Detectors
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RKI Instruments, Inc.: Delivering the Most Compact Gas Detectors

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Industrial processes increasingly involve the use or manufacture of highly dangerous, toxic, and combustible gases. Leaks can occur leading to potential hazards to the plant or to employees. Due to this, workers entering manholes, plants, refineries, or countless industrial sites need a gas detector to identify the presence of combustible gases, low oxygen levels, or toxic gases, for life and plant safety. In the gas detection industry, the name RKI Instruments is synonymous with extreme portability, durability, and excellent customer service. For over 25 years, RKI has been producing one iconic gas detection device after another, and it’s clear why the brand retains an acclaimed reputation. What goes into building gas detection devices of such small size and quality? The answer is, experience, innovation, and dedication that can be clearly found at RKI’s factory at California. Based on a belief that industry needs reliable gas detection equipment and supply, Bob Pellissier and Sandra Gallagher laid the foundation of RKI Instruments. Over the years, RKI has been responsible for manufacturing a variety of gas monitoring equipment in association with Riken Keiki—the world leader in gas detection and sensor technologies.

RKI is soon introducing two new revolutionary products. The first is the world’s smallest 4 gas portable meter, the GX-3R. To develop such a device, first it was necessary to develop miniature gas sensors for LEL (combustible gases), oxygen, H2S, and CO. RKI’s partner Riken Keiki has been developing gas sensors for 75 years. This newest effort has created a line of tiny sensors measuring only 7/16” dia. X ¼” thick. Utilizing this new line of micro sensors, RKI and Riken Keiki have designed an instrument measuring only 2.3” wide x 2.5” tall x 1” thick, and weighs only 3.5 ounces. Most units from competitors are 2 to 5 times this size and weight.

Why does size matter? “There are occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) guidelines that gas detectors should be worn in the breathing zone, which is an area within 10” of the mouth and nose. Most gas detectors are too big and heavy to be worn there. Until now. RKI Instruments differentiates itself among the competition by providing the smallest gas detector that comfortably fits in the breathing zone,” explains Bob Pellissier, President, RKI Instruments.

The second revolutionary new product utilizes technology initially developed by JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs) to create a compact methane sensor for the Mars rover. The detection method, OPLS (Open Path Laser Spectroscopy), uses a tuned laser and mirrors to detect trace amounts of methane down to just 10 parts per billion. RKI has developed compact instruments using this sensor; a handheld portable which is a super sensitive leak detector for gas companies, and also a lightweight design for use on a drone. The drone application can be used to survey oil and gas fields, landfills, or other methane emitting facilities to quickly locate leaks and also determine how much methane is escaping from the facility and into the environment. “As a method to help curb global warming, this new sensor will become an invaluable tool for calculating industrial methane emissions” explains Bob Pellissier. “Utilizing the RKI OPLS sensor on a drone, site surveys can now be completed in minutes or hours that formerly would have taken days or weeks using traditional survey methods.”

Since 1994, RKI Instruments has had steadily grown over the years. Now with $40 million in revenue, their stability, fast response, and quick product delivery, many companies are partnering with RKI. “In the long run, we plan to continue this path, and steadily grow and keep our customers happy. We have other new products also coming out, both portable and fixed monitors, later this year,” concludes Pellissier.