GEN III Smart Proportioner – remote testing system

Regular testing and upkeep ensure a maximum service life and functional and failure-related security of technical home equipment. The similar applies to foam-based fire extinguishing systems and the foam 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 more cost-efficient for extinguishing system operators if this was attainable in a fully automated and remote-controlled manner. For instance, this is ready to additionally make regular upkeep personnel journey to remotely positioned proportioners redundant. In addition, this would be sure that requirements by the producer, standards and units of laws are noticed without any functional deviations and unsuitable time intervals.
The remote testing system throughout the ‘Smart Proportioner’ growth framework has been created just for this objective. It is an development of the distant monitoring system.
Brief overview of the distant monitoring system

The remote monitoring system is used for proportioner monitoring in testing mode throughout upkeep and live firefighting operations.
In the course of distant monitoring, the proportioning price and other operating parameters are decided, recorded and forwarded to the system operator if necessary. Thus, the graceful performance and operational readiness of the system are monitored and ensured this way.
A remote monitoring system consists of a management system, together with an optionally available native display unit (HMI) if relevant, and sensor know-how. The sensor technology consists of, at least, the chance to discover out the water motor’s variety of revolutions and to find out the froth agent flow price. These values are used to calculate the proportioning rate. This determine is the core characteristic during the operation and testing of a foam proportioner. Further sensor technology is on the market on an elective basis.
The distant monitoring system supports the working and service personnel on-site. It is also appropriate for distant monitoring of the froth proportioner.
However, it is a basic incontrovertible truth that personnel are all the time essential to carry out the upkeep 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 remote monitoring, the proportioning price and different working parameters are determined, displayed and forwarded. Images provided by Author / Contributor

Evolution – from remote monitoring to remote testing

The question is tips on how to additional decrease the upkeep effort on foam proportioners.
The answer lies within the distant testing system, the subsequent step of the intelligent FireDos proportioners. The remote testing system allows monitoring of the proportioner and particular person upkeep, including proportioning fee testing.
The situation of the proportioner could be checked without having to begin up the fireplace extinguishing system. No personnel are required on-site. Proportioners in a remote place or which would possibly be only rarely inspected by personnel on-site could be checked without maintenance staff and related expenses, similar to journey expenditure. In particular, rising the testing interval is possible without extra efforts. The instruction handbook for FireDos proportioners requires common starting-up, using the service crank manually at least. This is intended to stop deposits inside the gear, impairing its ease of motion and thus conserving the proportioner’s functionality. The remote testing system can adopt these common actions and check the proportioning fee, rising the service life and useful security of the proportioner.
What is the design of a remote testing system?

The remote testing system is mostly primarily based upon the distant monitoring system. It is, nonetheless, particularly prolonged by the use of actuators. This is because they allow the fully impartial operation of the distant testing system; i.e., the proportioning price of the proportioner is examined with out activating the water pumps of the hearth extinguishing system.
The core components embody a central control system, with an optionally available 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 may have no interference with the proportioner’s performance within the case of a fire. This method, the benefits of the mechanical proportioning precept are preserved.
How does the distant 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 all the time in the proportioning position. Upon initiation of an automated testing process, regardless of if after a defined time interval, upon request through a cloud answer or from the fireplace extinguishing system/a local operator, the proportioner is put into testing operation. Specifically, the control system puts the proportioner into testing operation using an electrically actuated ball valve drive whereas the froth agent isn’t combined into the extinguishing water but returned to the foam agent tank. At the same time, it opens the electrically actuated ball valve in the bypass line previous the water motor. Next, diaphragm seal of the proportioner is activated, driving the whole proportioner at its start-up flow rate. The start-up flow rate is the bottom working level of a proportioner to reach its nominal proportioning price.
Due to the external electrical drive, the water motor works like a pump and generates a water flow via the bypass from the water motor’s outlet to the water motor’s inlet. The operation causes no change of strain in the extinguishing water line. The fireplace extinguishing system is therefore not influenced when the proportioner is examined.
As the extinguishing water circulate rate simulated by the exterior drive can also be known due to the identified ratio of the water motor’s variety of revolutions and the water flow fee, simply the foam agent circulate price must be decided to allow the next calculation of the proportioning fee. This is done by a volumetric move meter between the proportioning pump’s outlet and the ball valve, which switches between returning and proportioning mode. This allows determination of the foam agent flow fee, both in testing mode and while proportioning in case of an alarm.
The proportioning fee is set in accordance with the formula as required in the requirements and regulations EN 13565-1, NFPA 11, FM 4-12, and the Nordtest NT Fire 042 technique.
Foam agent flow rate [l/min]

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

After completion of the testing process, the electric drive of the proportioner stops, the bypass line is closed, and the proportioner is returned to proportioning mode.
Sensor technology put in as an extra possibility or inside the electric drive permits obtaining further data and conclusions in regards to the state and condition of the respective unit. It is checked, for instance, whether or not the ball valves are of their appropriate positions or adequate oil is in the crankshaft housing of the proportioning pump. In addition, the strain values at the pump inlet/outlet and the pressure at the water motor are recorded. Finally, measuring the entire system’s torque and the move rate contained in the bypass line allows checking the general condition of the proportioner.
The knowledge can be displayed locally or by way of a cloud answer. Controlling the upkeep operation can be possible by way of both interfaces.
What if there is an alarm during a testing process?

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

The distant testing system is designed in such a way that extinguishing water can move by way of the water motor and start it up at any time, even if the electrical drive is working at the identical time. In addition, a singular, absolutely computerized and purely mechanical decoupling mechanism ensures that the electrical drive does not interfere 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 in this case. This alarm mode causes the disabling of all features not essential at that second and all ball valves to be set to their correct place.
Therefore, in case of an alarm throughout testing operation, the ball valves change to their appropriate place absolutely routinely and the electric drive is switched off. Even if the electric drive remains to be operating or coming to a cease, the extinguishing water can move by way of the water motor and drive the proportioning pump without 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 remote testing system provide?

Compared with commonplace proportioners and those equipped with a distant monitoring system, a distant testing system offers varied advantages. They characteristic the following:
ν Proportione

Display view for testing operation of the FireDos distant testing system. Images supplied 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 fireplace. 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 froth operation.
Increasing useful and failure safety because of elevated testing intervals: An increased check interval causes the proportioner to be tested totally routinely at shorter intervals of time. This notably reduces the danger of a failure remaining undetected for a longer period of time. In addition, extra frequent testing prevents the formation of deposits contained in the water motor.
Early fault detection and diagnostics: Faults in the proportioner or components of the extinguishing system, immediately affecting the proportioner’s performance, can be recognized at an early stage of time. This includes, for instance, stress variations within the extinguishing water line or a jammed suction line.
Inclusion of all functions and advantages of the distant monitoring system: All features and advantages of the remote monitoring system are also current within the remote testing system, i.e. all relevant operating parameters are recorded and processed repeatedly and appropriately in addition to documented in a log file. In addition, all knowledge are displayed by a visualization.
Reduction of prices: Regular useful testing makes it attainable to detect faults even earlier. This method, maintenance and repairs can happen before any more severe injury occurs. The elevated performance and fault safety of the proportioner ensures that the service life of the proportioners is maximized and the probability of a failure is minimized. As a result, reduced service and working workforce on-site reduce costs considerably, particularly if the proportioner is situated in a remote place. In addition, useful testing of the proportioner allows early identification, evaluation and probably limiting a fault remotely. This makes service visits more efficient and subsequently cheaper.
Summary and prospect

The distant monitoring system already provides varied advantages and helps scale back prices, however it cannot scale back the workforce required on-site.
The distant testing system is a solution for reducing upkeep requirements. It is the subsequent evolution in the midst of developing clever FireDos proportioners.
The remote testing system allows lowering the workforce required on-site to a minimum, together with shorter testing intervals and increased failure safety. This increases the proportioner’s service life.
If the proportioner is in a fault-free state, no additional maintenance by personnel on-site is critical, other than an oil change. The oil change can be carried out by the operator’s personnel, too, easily and with none deeper knowledge of the operating principle of proportioners. If a service visit or restore should nonetheless turn out to be essential, remote monitoring and early fault detection will make the planning and completion of such work extra efficient.
Like the distant monitoring system, the remote testing system is an optimum symbiosis of mechanical proportioners and an intelligent digital improve. Thus, the benefits from both technology fields are mixed with out compromising the performance of mechanical FireDos proportioners.
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