GEN III Smart Proportioner – distant testing system

Regular testing and maintenance guarantee a most service life and practical and failure-related security of technical home equipment. The identical applies to foam-based fire extinguishing techniques and the froth proportioners installed in them.
Up to now, such testing and maintenance have required the presence of personnel on-site. However, it would be easier and extra cost-efficient for extinguishing system operators if this was potential in a completely computerized and remote-controlled manner. For instance, this may also make common upkeep personnel travel to remotely located proportioners redundant. In addition, this is in a position to make sure that necessities by the producer, standards and sets of regulations are observed without any functional deviations and unsuitable time intervals.
The remote testing system within the ‘Smart Proportioner’ growth framework has been created only for this purpose. It is an development of the distant monitoring system.
Brief overview of the distant monitoring system

The distant monitoring system is used for proportioner monitoring in testing mode throughout upkeep and stay firefighting operations.
In the course of remote monitoring, the proportioning fee and different working parameters are decided, recorded and forwarded to the system operator if essential. Thus, the sleek performance and operational readiness of the system are monitored and ensured this fashion.
A distant monitoring system consists of a management system, including an elective native display unit (HMI) if relevant, and sensor expertise. The sensor know-how consists of, at least, the possibility to determine the water motor’s variety of revolutions and to discover out the froth agent circulate rate. These values are used to calculate the proportioning price. This figure is the core attribute in the course of the operation and testing of a foam proportioner. Further sensor technology is out there on an optionally available foundation.
The remote monitoring system helps the working and service personnel on-site. It is also suitable for distant monitoring of the froth proportioner.
However, it’s a basic fact that personnel are at all times necessary to hold out the maintenance work or the proportioning rate testing on-site as the system plays a monitoring function only. It doesn’t actively work together with the functioning of the proportioner.
In the course of distant monitoring, the proportioning rate and other working parameters are determined, displayed and forwarded. Images supplied by Author / Contributor

Evolution – from distant monitoring to distant testing

The query is the means to further decrease the upkeep effort on foam proportioners.
The answer lies in the remote testing system, the next step of the clever FireDos proportioners. The distant testing system permits monitoring of the proportioner and individual upkeep, including proportioning fee testing.
The condition of the proportioner may be checked without having to start up the hearth extinguishing system. No personnel are required on-site. Proportioners in a distant place or which would possibly be only not often inspected by personnel on-site could be checked without maintenance workers and related expenses, similar to journey expenditure. In explicit, rising the testing interval is feasible with out extra efforts. The instruction manual for FireDos proportioners requires regular starting-up, using the service crank manually as a minimum. This is meant to prevent deposits contained in the gear, impairing its ease of motion and thus conserving the proportioner’s performance. The distant testing system can undertake these common movements and take a look at the proportioning fee, growing the service life and functional safety of the proportioner.
What is the design of a distant testing system?

The remote testing system is generally based upon the distant monitoring system. It is, nevertheless, particularly prolonged by method of actuators. This is because they permit the utterly impartial operation of the distant testing system; i.e., the proportioning fee of the proportioner is examined without activating the water pumps of the fire extinguishing system.
The core components include a central management system, with an optional HMI, sensor know-how, electrical ball valve drives, an electrical drive for the proportioner and a bypass line past the water motor.
The connection of the electrical drive and the proportioner is designed in order that the electrical drive could have no interference with the proportioner’s performance within the case of a hearth. This method, some nice benefits of the mechanical proportioning precept are preserved.
How does the remote testing system work, and the way can the proportioning price be checked with out activating the water pumps?

If in ready-to-operate mode, the proportioner is all the time in the proportioning place. Upon initiation of an automated testing course of, no matter if after an outlined time interval, upon request through a cloud resolution or from the hearth extinguishing system/a native operator, the proportioner is put into testing operation. Specifically, the control system places the proportioner into testing operation using an electrically actuated ball valve drive whereas the froth agent is not combined into the extinguishing water but returned to the foam agent tank. At the identical time, it opens the electrically actuated ball valve within the bypass line previous the water motor. Next, the electrical drive of the proportioner is activated, driving the complete proportioner at its start-up move price. The start-up circulate rate is the lowest working level of a proportioner to achieve its nominal proportioning price.
Due to the external electrical drive, the water motor works like a pump and generates a water move through the bypass from the water motor’s outlet to the water motor’s inlet. The operation causes no change of strain within the extinguishing water line. The hearth extinguishing system is due to this fact not influenced when the proportioner is tested.
As digital pressure gauge simulated by the exterior drive is also recognized as a end result of known ratio of the water motor’s number of revolutions and the water move rate, just the froth agent circulate price must be decided to allow the next calculation of the proportioning fee. This is finished by a volumetric flow meter between the proportioning pump’s outlet and the ball valve, which switches between returning and proportioning mode. This allows determination of the froth agent flow price, both in testing mode and whereas proportioning in case of an alarm.
The proportioning price is determined according to the method as required in the standards and laws EN 13565-1, NFPA eleven, FM 4-12, and the Nordtest NT Fire 042 method.
Foam agent circulate rate [l/min]

(Extinguishing water circulate rate x a hundred = proportioning price %+ foam agent flow rate) [l/min]

After completion of the testing process, the electrical drive of the proportioner stops, the bypass line is closed, and the proportioner is returned to proportioning mode.
Sensor know-how put in as a further choice or inside the electric drive permits acquiring further info and conclusions concerning the state and situation of the respective unit. It is checked, for example, whether or not the ball valves are in their right positions or enough oil is within the crankshaft housing of the proportioning pump. In addition, the pressure values on the pump inlet/outlet and the pressure at the water motor are recorded. Finally, measuring the complete system’s torque and the circulate price contained in the bypass line permits checking the general situation of the proportioner.
The data may be displayed domestically or via a cloud answer. Controlling the maintenance operation is also possible by way of each interfaces.
What if there’s an alarm throughout a testing process?

An important query is: Does the proportioner work with none limitations and as usual if there may be an alarm? The answer is: Yes!

The remote testing system is designed in such a means that extinguishing water can flow through the water motor and begin it up at any time, even when the electrical drive is working on the similar time. In addition, a unique, fully computerized and purely mechanical decoupling mechanism ensures that the electrical drive does not intrude with the proportioner’s functioning and readiness to function.
In case of an alarm, the ball valves in the bypass line and those for switching between returning and proportioning are immediately switched so that the proportioner is in proportioning mode for firefighting. Thus, the management system is put into alarm mode on this case. This alarm mode causes the disabling of all functions not necessary at that moment and all ball valves to be set to their right position.
Therefore, in case of an alarm during testing operation, the ball valves swap to their right position fully automatically and the electrical drive is switched off. Even if the electrical drive is still running or coming to a stop, the extinguishing water can circulate by way of the water motor and drive the proportioning pump with out limitations. The alarm mode of the management system prevents re-activation of the electrical drive or any unintended ball valve switching.
What advantages does a distant testing system provide?

Compared with standard proportioners and people outfitted with a remote monitoring system, a remote testing system offers varied advantages. They function the next:
ν Proportione

Display view for testing operation of the FireDos distant testing system. Images provided by Author / Contributor

cian should be on-site.
Regular proportioning fee testing: Regular proportioning price testing ensures optimum functioning of the proportioner in case of a fire. If the proportioning rate is too low, the extinguishing success may be compromised. Overdosing causes the froth agent to be consumed sooner than meant, leading to the premature ending of the foam operation.
Increasing useful and failure safety as a outcome of increased testing intervals: An increased take a look at interval causes the proportioner to be examined absolutely mechanically at shorter intervals of time. This notably reduces the danger of a failure remaining undetected for an extended time period. In addition, more frequent testing prevents the formation of deposits inside the water motor.
Early fault detection and diagnostics: Faults in the proportioner or parts of the extinguishing system, instantly affecting the proportioner’s performance, could be recognized at an early stage of time. This contains, for example, pressure variations within the extinguishing water line or a jammed suction line.
Inclusion of all capabilities and advantages of the distant monitoring system: All features and benefits of the distant monitoring system are additionally present within the remote testing system, i.e. all relevant working parameters are recorded and processed continuously and correctly as nicely as documented in a log file. In addition, all data are displayed by a visualization.
Reduction of costs: Regular useful testing makes it potential to detect faults even earlier. This method, upkeep and repairs can take place earlier than any more severe injury happens. The elevated performance and fault safety of the proportioner ensures that the service lifetime of the proportioners is maximized and the chance of a failure is minimized. As a outcome, reduced service and working workforce on-site scale back prices significantly, significantly if the proportioner is situated in a remote place. In addition, functional testing of the proportioner permits early identification, analysis and possibly limiting a fault remotely. This makes service visits extra efficient and therefore less expensive.
Summary and prospect

The remote monitoring system already provides varied advantages and helps cut back costs, nevertheless it can’t scale back the workforce required on-site.
The distant testing system is an answer for decreasing upkeep necessities. It is the next evolution in the center of developing clever FireDos proportioners.
The distant testing system allows reducing the workforce required on-site to a minimum, along with shorter testing intervals and elevated failure security. This increases the proportioner’s service life.
If the proportioner is in a fault-free state, no additional upkeep by personnel on-site is important, other than an oil change. The oil change may be carried out by the operator’s personnel, too, easily and without any deeper knowledge of the working precept of proportioners. If a service go to or repair ought to nonetheless turn out to be necessary, remote monitoring and early fault detection will make the planning and completion of such work more efficient.
Like the distant monitoring system, the distant testing system is an optimum symbiosis of mechanical proportioners and an intelligent electronic upgrade. Thus, the benefits from each know-how fields are mixed with out compromising the performance of mechanical FireDos proportioners.
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