MSA Safety launches award-winning ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable device

MSA Australia Pty Ltd
Wednesday, 01 November, 2023

MSA Safety launches award-winning ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable device

Adopting new technology that helps to simplify safety procedures and connect managers to their employees in hazardous environments has never been easier. Today, MSA Safety, Inc., the global leader in the development of safety solutions that help to protect people and facility infrastructures, announced that its latest industry game-changer – the ALTAIR® io™ 4 Gas Detection Wearable device – is now available for order.

Designed to work in concert with the company’s new MSA+ safety subscription service, the ALTAIR io 4 device represents the hardware portion of a cloud-ready suite of technology that MSA calls the Connected Work Platform. When connected together, the ALTAIR io 4 and MSA+ create a versatile and powerful hardware/software combination that enhances worker safety while simplifying safety program management.

“The Connected Work Platform brings workers, worksites and workflows together to help make safety simpler for everyone,” said Gustavo Lopez, MSA Safety’s Vice President of Connected Services & General Manager of Industrial Products. “We’re empowering safety managers to use the platform as a solution to develop adaptable and proactive safety plans by leveraging our world-class sensor technology and cloud-based solutions to enhance safety and productivity.”

MSA Safety’s ALTAIR io 4 was designed from the ground-up, making it MSA’s first direct-to-cloud gas detector to feature:

  • Out-of-the box global cellular connectivity and GPS location to transmit real-time data, like critical gas detection readings and location information, directly to supervisors via the MSA Grid software platform.
  • Access to MSA software services that enable fleet management, as well as real-time monitoring, incident reporting and datalogging services.
  • A new, electronic MSA id™ device tag that replaces paper-based sign-out processes.
  • MSA’s industry leading XCell® Sensors; and
  • Compatibility with a new ALTAIR io Dock calibration test stand, enabling automatic bump testing, calibration and datalogging.

With MSA+, safety managers can bundle hardware and software needs for long-term safety advancements and a convenient way to stay ahead of safety innovation and with minimal capital expense. The MSA Grid and accompanying MSA+ safety subscription has various price points and subscription levels to accommodate individual customer needs and budgets. MSA+ also extends warranty coverage and provides automatic and ongoing software upgrades.

“Having the ALTAIR io 4 connected with MSA+ means it will only get better with time,” Lopez said. “It means getting the latest software updates automatically, ultimately bringing the most recent safety technology immediately to the worksite. Additionally, with safety data automatically logged in the MSA Grid, it helps make compliance easier by streamlining the data gathering and creating reports to inform safety decisions.”

Fast forward to 2023, MSA Safety is excited and thrilled to bring the ALTAIR io 4 to Australia & New Zealand. Along with that, the second piece of good news is that Frost & Sullivan recognised and awarded the 2023 Product Innovation award to the ALTAIR io 4 recently!

Frost & Sullivan applies a rigorous analytical process to evaluate multiple nominees for each award category before determining the final award recipient. The process involves a detailed evaluation of best practices criteria across two dimensions for each nominated company. MSA Safety excels in many of the criteria in the portable gas detector space.

Award Criteria
New Product Attributes Customer Impact
Match to Needs Price/Performance Value
Reliability Customer Purchase Experience
Quality Customer Ownership Experience
Positioning Customer Service Experience
Design Brand Equity

MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable Easily Bridges Customers’ Unmet Needs Through Connectivity and Ease of Use

In the second quarter of 2022, MSA Safety introduced its fully connected gas detector solution, ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable — part of its MSA Connected Work Platform — which is the first to address many of the challenges of connected gas detectors. With it its integrated cellular connectivity, industrial workers are always connected, and the device can be used straight out of the box, ready to function with the tap of a button. MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 requires no additional infrastructure, activation, or carrier billing, and it eliminates the need for cellphones, which usually act as a gateway for competitors’ portable gas detectors.

The ALTAIR io 4 is connected to MSA’s cloud-based software platform, designed from the ground up. Ease of usage and reduced sophistication ensure that ALTAIR io 4 matches customers’ needs in hazardous industrial environments, so they need not depend on cellphones or connectivity infrastructure for connected gas detectors to function.

“Ease of usage and reduced sophistication ensure MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable matches customers’ needs in hazardous industrial environments, so they need not depend on cellphones or connectivity infrastructure for connected gas detectors to function,” said Anjan Kumar Roy, Industry Analyst.

Exceeding Customer Needs through Enhanced Reliability Features

MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 consists of 3 XCell Sensors: the first is the industry’s longest-lasting and most tested catalytic bead; the second is an electrochemical sensor for hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide detection; and the third is a lead-free oxygen sensor, all with rapid response time for real-time sensing. The ALTAIR io 4 portable gas detector can simultaneously detect up to 4 gases, and its gas sensing options include combustible lower explosive limit (LEL) gases, oxygen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, methane, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Furthermore, it is configured with MSA id, an RFID (radio frequency identification) tagging system that allows workers to check in and have a gas detector assigned to them without infrastructure, manual processing, or clipboard sign-ins, which sets a competitive benchmark for alternatives to aspire to. Finally, all real-time and historical device data is tied to the worker, promoting accountability, safety, and compliance.

Built to Ensure an Experience of Exceptional Quality for End-users through Superior Design

MSA’s wearable gas detector is built to function in the most hazardous environments, and it is MSA’s most rugged and durable to date: it exceeds the transit drop test (MIL-STD-810G 516.6) and was tested for 26 drops from a height of 1.2 meters (4 feet); it has an exceptional military-grade durability rating and can sustain an incidental 7.5 m (25 feet) drop onto concrete; it possesses NFPA 1982-2018 tumble tester certifications that allow it to survive for 60 minutes and a dust and waterproof IP68 rating to meet the demands of 1-hour submersible testing in 2-meter deep water; and since the workers who are required to use gas detectors are often exposed to harsh environmental conditions, MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 is tested to perform in a temperature range from -20 to +55°C.

Such unmatched quality, durability, and ruggedness make MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 best-in-class in portable connected gas detectors.

“MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 is configured with an MSA ID, an RFID (radio frequency identification) tagging system with industry-leading XCell Sensors that allows workers to check in and have a gas detector assigned to them without infrastructure, manual processes, or clipboard sign-ins, which sets a competitive benchmark for alternatives to aspire to,” Roy said.

A Platform to Enhance Adoption and Offer Better Price/Performance

The ALTAIR io 4 is not just a gas detector, as it comes with access to MSA+ which offers a comprehensive subscription program, including hardware, software and additional services. It gives the user access to powerful cloud-based solutions enabling faster safety implementation, offers increased warranty coverage, and is equipped with automatic software and firmware upgrades. Indeed, MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable is available at a low cost with both monthly and yearly subscriptions.

The device’s capacity for connection, along with the MSA grid software, provides insights and visibility into end-user organizations, granting managers a monitoring solution that connects workers, worksites, and workflows. Furthermore, the device comes with auto-calibration features, and a bump test before using the detectors can be done via the automated ALTAIR io DOCK to simultaneously test multiple gas sensors. Any malfunction is also covered under warranty for the subscription’s duration.

Frost & Sullivan thus concludes that MSA’s gas detector, integrated with the MSA+ platform, offers a better price/performance value than any of its existing competitors since it offers a superior product design, unmatched connectivity features, and auto-calibration accessories.

Unmatched Customer Ownership Experiences

The XCell sensors offer a fast response time (less than 10 seconds for methane and less than 15 seconds for pentane), thereby limiting workers’ exposure time to hazardous environments. Furthermore, since the sensors require less concentration of gases to detect leakage (thanks to their dual detector beads), the sensors last 4–5 years against the 1–2 years of competitor’s gas detectors. MSA Safety’s deep-rooted industry knowledge and understanding of customers’ usage patterns have enabled them to optimise battery consumption. In one scenario, battery consumption was reduced by 20–25% via an over-the-air software update. Unlike its competitors’ offerings, where portable gas detectors are developed for lone worker solutions and individual connected systems, MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable is based on fleet management and offers a collective safety protection system for the entire fleet with each member tracked through a unique MSA idTM. As a result, the technical superiority of ALTAIR io 4 provides an enhanced customer ownership experience.

Customer-centric Development Enables a Superior Customer Purchase Experience

One of the major challenges in the industry is growing inflation and users’ concerns about large up-front costs associated with outright sales of portable gas detectors. In this context, MSA is developing an entire ecosystem in which connected safety solutions are available with minimal capital expenditure under the MSA+ program, including the ALTAIR io 4. This will be illustrated next.

Usually, low levels of gas leaks remain unnoticed and cause health concerns in the long run, but MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 detects even low-level gas leaks. Case in point: a wastewater company had leaks in their facility that they were unaware of and that could only be discovered after partnering with MSA Safety, leading to corrective actions and safeguarding employees from hazards. Similarly, MSA’s detector enabled an oil and gas company to track one operator who accounted for more than 90% of the entire company’s non-compliance incidents. MSA’s ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable, with its cloud-connected data analytics, will enhance safety training modules and allow end users to develop proactive safety protocols, improving safety and customer purchase experience.


MSA ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable is not just a device. It is a complete ecosystem of rugged hardware systems, MSA+ program, and MSA Grid software with MSA idTM RFID tagging capabilities. MSA ALTAIR io 4 Gas Detection Wearable offers better price/performance capabilities along with an unrivaled customer purchase and customer ownership experience compared to any of its existing competitors.

With its strong overall performance, MSA Safety earned Frost & Sullivan’s 2023 Global New Product Innovation Award in the portable gas detection industry.

For more information, click here.

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