GEN III Smart Proportioner – remote testing system

Regular testing and upkeep guarantee a maximum service life and practical and failure-related safety of technical home equipment. The identical applies to foam-based fire extinguishing systems and the froth proportioners installed in them.
Up to now, such testing and maintenance have required the presence of personnel on-site. However, it will be easier and more cost-efficient for extinguishing system operators if this was possible in a completely automatic and remote-controlled method. For example, this would additionally make regular upkeep personnel travel to remotely situated proportioners redundant. In addition, this may make certain that necessities by the producer, standards and units of regulations are observed without any practical deviations and unsuitable time intervals.
The remote testing system inside the ‘Smart Proportioner’ improvement framework has been created just for this purpose. It is an development of the distant monitoring system.
Brief overview of the remote monitoring system
The distant monitoring system is used for proportioner monitoring in testing mode during upkeep and live firefighting operations.
In the course of remote monitoring, the proportioning price and other working parameters are decided, recorded and forwarded to the system operator if essential. Thus, the smooth performance and operational readiness of the system are monitored and ensured this way.
A remote monitoring system consists of a management system, including an optional local show unit (HMI) if relevant, and sensor technology. The sensor know-how consists of, at least, the likelihood to discover out the water motor’s variety of revolutions and to determine the foam agent flow price. These values are used to calculate the proportioning fee. This determine is the core characteristic through the operation and testing of a foam proportioner. Further sensor know-how is out there on an optionally available foundation.
The distant monitoring system helps the operating and service personnel on-site. It is also suitable for distant monitoring of the foam proportioner.
However, it is a primary proven fact that personnel are at all times needed to carry out the maintenance work or the proportioning rate testing on-site as the system plays a monitoring function only. It doesn’t actively interact with the functioning of the proportioner.
In the course of distant monitoring, the proportioning rate and different operating parameters are decided, displayed and forwarded. Images provided by Author / Contributor
Evolution – from distant monitoring to remote testing
The query is the means to further minimize the maintenance effort on foam proportioners.
The answer lies within the remote testing system, the next step of the intelligent FireDos proportioners. The distant testing system allows monitoring of the proportioner and particular person maintenance, together with proportioning price testing.
The condition of the proportioner may be checked without having to begin up the fire extinguishing system. No personnel are required on-site. Proportioners in a remote place or which are solely rarely inspected by personnel on-site could be checked without maintenance employees and related expenses, similar to travel expenditure. In particular, growing the testing interval is feasible without further efforts. The instruction handbook for FireDos proportioners requires common starting-up, utilizing the service crank manually at least. This is intended to forestall deposits contained in the equipment, impairing its ease of motion and thus conserving the proportioner’s performance. The distant testing system can adopt these regular movements and take a look at the proportioning fee, increasing the service life and functional security of the proportioner.
What is the design of a remote testing system?
The distant testing system is mostly primarily based upon the remote monitoring system. It is, however, significantly extended by the use of actuators. This is as a end result of they allow the fully unbiased operation of the distant testing system; i.e., the proportioning price of the proportioner is examined with out activating the water pumps of the fire extinguishing system.
The core elements embody a central control system, with an optionally available HMI, sensor technology, electrical ball valve drives, an electrical drive for the proportioner and a bypass line previous the water motor.
The connection of the electrical drive and the proportioner is designed in order that the electrical drive may have no interference with the proportioner’s performance in the case of a fireplace. This method, some great advantages of the mechanical proportioning precept are preserved.
How does the remote testing system work, and the way can the proportioning fee be checked without activating the water pumps?
If in ready-to-operate mode, the proportioner is at all times in the proportioning position. Upon initiation of an computerized testing course of, regardless of if after a defined time interval, upon request via a cloud solution or from the fireplace 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 foam agent is not blended into the extinguishing water however returned to the foam agent tank. At the same time, it opens the electrically actuated ball valve within the bypass line past the water motor. Next, the electric drive of the proportioner is activated, driving the whole proportioner at its start-up move price. The start-up flow rate is the bottom working point of a proportioner to achieve its nominal proportioning fee.
Due to the external electrical drive, the water motor works like a pump and generates a water move by way of 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 fireplace extinguishing system is due to this fact not influenced when the proportioner is tested.
As the extinguishing water circulate rate simulated by the exterior drive is also recognized as a end result of recognized ratio of the water motor’s number of revolutions and the water flow rate, simply the foam agent circulate fee have to be decided to permit the subsequent calculation of the proportioning fee. This is finished by a volumetric circulate meter between the proportioning pump’s outlet and the ball valve, which switches between returning and proportioning mode. This permits dedication of the froth agent move fee, each in testing mode and whereas proportioning in case of an alarm.
The proportioning rate is set based on the formulation as required in the standards and regulations EN 13565-1, NFPA 11, FM 4-12, and the Nordtest NT Fire 042 method.
Foam agent circulate rate [l/min]
(Extinguishing water flow price x one hundred = proportioning price %+ foam agent flow rate) [l/min]
After completion of the testing course of, the electric 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 electrical drive allows acquiring additional info and conclusions in regards to the state and condition of the respective unit. It is checked, for instance, whether the ball valves are in their right positions or adequate oil is within the crankshaft housing of the proportioning pump. In addition, the strain values on the pump inlet/outlet and the strain on the water motor are recorded. Finally, measuring the whole system’s torque and the circulate fee contained in the bypass line permits checking the final condition of the proportioner.
The information could be displayed domestically or through a cloud answer. Controlling the maintenance operation can be possible by way of both interfaces.
What if there is an alarm throughout a testing process?
An necessary question is: Does the proportioner work without any limitations and as ordinary if there could be an alarm? The reply is: Yes!
The remote testing system is designed in such a way that extinguishing water can move through the water motor and begin it up at any time, even when the electrical drive is working at the similar time. In addition, a singular, totally computerized and purely mechanical decoupling mechanism ensures that the electrical drive doesn’t intrude with the proportioner’s functioning and readiness to function.
In case of an alarm, the ball valves within the bypass line and people 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 in this case. This alarm mode causes the disabling of all features not needed at that second and all ball valves to be set to their correct position.
Therefore, in case of an alarm during testing operation, the ball valves switch to their correct place totally routinely and the electrical drive is switched off. Even if the electric drive remains to be working or coming to a stop, the extinguishing water can move via the water motor and drive the proportioning pump without limitations. The alarm mode of the management system prevents re-activation of the electric drive or any unintended ball valve switching.
What benefits does a distant testing system provide?
Compared with commonplace proportioners and those geared up with a distant monitoring system, a distant testing system provides varied advantages. They function the following:
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Display view for testing operation of the FireDos remote testing system. Images provided by Author / Contributor
cian have to be on-site.
Regular proportioning fee testing: Regular proportioning rate testing ensures optimum functioning of the proportioner in case of a fire. If the proportioning rate is too low, the extinguishing success could be compromised. Overdosing causes the froth agent to be consumed quicker than meant, leading to the untimely ending of the foam operation.
Increasing useful and failure security as a end result of increased testing intervals: An increased test interval causes the proportioner to be tested totally routinely at shorter intervals of time. This notably reduces the risk of a failure remaining undetected for a longer period of time. In addition, more frequent testing prevents the formation of deposits inside the water motor.
Early fault detection and diagnostics: Faults in the proportioner or components of the extinguishing system, immediately affecting the proportioner’s functionality, can be identified at an early stage of time. This consists of, for example, stress variations within the extinguishing water line or a jammed suction line.
Inclusion of all capabilities and advantages of the distant monitoring system: All functions and advantages of the remote monitoring system are additionally current in the remote testing system, i.e. all relevant operating parameters are recorded and processed repeatedly and correctly as well as documented in a log file. In addition, all information are displayed by a visualization.
Reduction of prices: Regular functional testing makes it possible to detect faults even earlier. This way, maintenance and repairs can happen before any more serious injury occurs. The increased performance and fault security of the proportioner ensures that the service lifetime of the proportioners is maximized and the likelihood of a failure is minimized. As a outcome, reduced service and working workforce on-site reduce costs considerably, significantly if the proportioner is positioned in a distant place. In addition, useful testing of the proportioner allows early identification, analysis and possibly limiting a fault remotely. This makes service visits extra environment friendly and therefore more cost-effective.
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The remote monitoring system already provides varied benefits and helps scale back costs, nevertheless it can’t scale back the workforce required on-site.
The distant testing system is a solution for decreasing maintenance necessities. It is the following evolution in the course of creating clever FireDos proportioners.
The distant testing system allows decreasing the workforce required on-site to a minimal, together with shorter testing intervals and increased failure security. This will increase the proportioner’s service life.
If the proportioner is in a fault-free state, no additional upkeep by personnel on-site is important, aside from an oil change. The oil change could be carried out by the operator’s personnel, too, easily and with none deeper data of the operating principle of proportioners. If a service visit or restore ought to still turn into needed, distant monitoring and early fault detection will make the planning and completion of such work more efficient.
Like the remote monitoring system, the distant testing system is an optimum symbiosis of mechanical proportioners and an clever digital upgrade. Thus, the advantages from each technology fields are mixed without compromising the performance of mechanical FireDos proportioners.
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