Regular testing and upkeep guarantee a most service life and practical and failure-related security of technical appliances. The similar applies to foam-based fireplace 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, diaphragm seal might be easier and extra cost-efficient for extinguishing system operators if this was possible in a fully automatic and remote-controlled method. For instance, this is in a position to also make regular maintenance personnel travel to remotely situated proportioners redundant. In addition, this is in a position to be sure that necessities by the producer, standards and sets of regulations are noticed without any useful deviations and unsuitable time intervals.
The distant testing system throughout the ‘Smart Proportioner’ improvement framework has been created just for this objective. 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 maintenance and stay firefighting operations.
In the course of distant monitoring, the proportioning rate and other operating parameters are determined, recorded and forwarded to the system operator if necessary. Thus, the sleek performance and operational readiness of the system are monitored and ensured this manner.
A remote monitoring system consists of a control system, together with an optionally available native display unit (HMI) if relevant, and sensor expertise. The sensor know-how contains, at least, the chance to determine the water motor’s variety of revolutions and to determine the foam agent circulate price. These values are used to calculate the proportioning fee. This determine is the core characteristic during the operation and testing of a foam proportioner. Further sensor expertise is out there on an optional basis.
The distant monitoring system helps the operating and repair personnel on-site. It can also be suitable for distant monitoring of the froth proportioner.
However, it is a fundamental fact that personnel are always necessary to carry out the upkeep work or the proportioning fee testing on-site as the system plays a monitoring position solely. It doesn’t actively work together with the functioning of the proportioner.
In the course of remote monitoring, the proportioning rate and different working parameters are determined, displayed and forwarded. Images equipped by Author / Contributor

Evolution – from distant monitoring to remote testing

The question is how to further decrease the upkeep effort on foam proportioners.
The resolution lies in the remote testing system, the following step of the intelligent FireDos proportioners. The distant testing system allows monitoring of the proportioner and particular person maintenance, together with proportioning fee testing.
The situation of the proportioner can be checked with out having to begin up the fire extinguishing system. No personnel are required on-site. Proportioners in a remote place or which may be solely hardly ever inspected by personnel on-site can be checked with out upkeep workers and related expenses, such as journey expenditure. In specific, increasing the testing interval is feasible with out extra efforts. The instruction handbook for FireDos proportioners requires common starting-up, using the service crank manually as a minimum. This is intended to forestall deposits inside the tools, impairing its ease of movement and thus conserving the proportioner’s performance. The remote testing system can undertake these common movements and check the proportioning price, increasing the service life and useful safety of the proportioner.
What is the design of a distant testing system?

The remote testing system is generally based mostly upon the remote monitoring system. It is, nevertheless, notably prolonged by the use of actuators. This is as a end result of they allow the completely independent operation of the distant testing system; i.e., the proportioning price of the proportioner is examined without activating the water pumps of the hearth extinguishing system.
The core elements embrace a central management system, with an elective 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 functionality within the case of a fire. This way, the benefits of the mechanical proportioning precept are preserved.
How does the distant testing system work, and how can the proportioning rate be checked without activating the water pumps?

If in ready-to-operate mode, the proportioner is always within the proportioning place. Upon initiation of an computerized testing process, regardless of if after a defined time interval, upon request through a cloud resolution or from the hearth extinguishing system/a local operator, the proportioner is put into testing operation. Specifically, the control system puts the proportioner into testing operation utilizing an electrically actuated ball valve drive while the foam agent is not 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 past the water motor. Next, the electrical drive of the proportioner is activated, driving the whole proportioner at its start-up circulate price. The start-up circulate rate is the bottom operating level of a proportioner to achieve its nominal proportioning rate.
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 stress in the extinguishing water line. The fire extinguishing system is subsequently not influenced when the proportioner is tested.
As the extinguishing water circulate rate simulated by the external drive can be identified due to the known ratio of the water motor’s number of revolutions and the water circulate rate, simply the froth agent flow fee must be determined to allow the next calculation of the proportioning rate. This is completed by a volumetric circulate meter between the proportioning pump’s outlet and the ball valve, which switches between returning and proportioning mode. This permits willpower of the foam agent flow price, both in testing mode and while proportioning in case of an alarm.
The proportioning rate is decided based on the formula as required in the requirements and rules EN 13565-1, NFPA 11, FM 4-12, and the Nordtest NT Fire 042 technique.
Foam agent flow price [l/min]

(Extinguishing water move price x one hundred = proportioning rate %+ foam agent circulate 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 technology installed as an extra option or inside the electric drive permits acquiring additional info and conclusions concerning the state and condition of the respective unit. It is checked, for instance, whether or not the ball valves are in their appropriate positions or sufficient oil is in the crankshaft housing of the proportioning pump. In addition, the pressure values on the pump inlet/outlet and the stress at the water motor are recorded. Finally, measuring the complete system’s torque and the circulate rate contained in the bypass line allows checking the overall condition of the proportioner.
The data can be displayed domestically or via a cloud solution. Controlling the maintenance operation is also possible via each interfaces.
What if there’s an alarm throughout a testing process?

An essential query is: Does the proportioner work without any limitations and as traditional if there’s an alarm? The answer is: Yes!

The distant testing system is designed in such a method that extinguishing water can flow through the water motor and begin it up at any time, even if the electrical drive is working at the same time. In addition, a novel, totally automated 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 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 control system is put into alarm mode in this case. This alarm mode causes the disabling of all features not needed at that moment 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 correct place fully automatically and the electric drive is switched off. Even if the electrical drive continues to be working or coming to a stop, the extinguishing water can circulate 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 benefits does a distant testing system provide?

Compared with commonplace proportioners and those outfitted with a remote monitoring system, a remote testing system offers varied benefits. They function the next:
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Display view for testing operation of the FireDos remote testing system. Images supplied by Author / Contributor

cian have to be on-site.
Regular proportioning fee testing: Regular proportioning price testing ensures optimum functioning of the proportioner in case of a fireplace. If the proportioning price is just too low, the extinguishing success could be compromised. Overdosing causes the foam agent to be consumed sooner than intended, leading to the untimely ending of the froth operation.
Increasing functional and failure security because of increased testing intervals: An elevated take a look at interval causes the proportioner to be examined absolutely mechanically at shorter intervals of time. This notably reduces the risk of a failure remaining undetected for an extended time frame. In addition, more frequent testing prevents the formation of deposits contained in the water motor.
Early fault detection and diagnostics: Faults in the proportioner or elements of the extinguishing system, immediately affecting the proportioner’s performance, can be identified at an early stage of time. This consists of, 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 benefits of the distant monitoring system are also current within the distant testing system, i.e. all relevant working parameters are recorded and processed continuously and appropriately in addition to documented in a log file. In addition, all data are displayed by a visualization.
Reduction of costs: Regular practical testing makes it potential to detect faults even earlier. This way, maintenance and repairs can happen earlier than any more critical harm happens. The increased functionality and fault safety of the proportioner ensures that the service life of the proportioners is maximized and the chance of a failure is minimized. As a outcome, lowered service and operating workforce on-site reduce prices considerably, particularly if the proportioner is positioned in a remote place. In addition, useful testing of the proportioner permits early identification, analysis and probably limiting a fault remotely. This makes service visits more environment friendly and due to this fact more cost-effective.
Summary and prospect

The distant monitoring system already provides numerous benefits and helps cut back prices, nevertheless it can’t cut back the workforce required on-site.
The remote testing system is an answer for decreasing upkeep requirements. It is the following evolution in the course of creating intelligent FireDos proportioners.
The distant testing system permits reducing the workforce required on-site to a minimal, along with shorter testing intervals and elevated failure safety. 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, apart from an oil change. The oil change can be carried out by the operator’s personnel, too, easily and with none deeper knowledge of the working precept of proportioners. If a service go to or repair ought to nonetheless turn into necessary, remote monitoring and early fault detection will make the planning and completion of such work extra efficient.
Like the remote monitoring system, the distant testing system is an optimum symbiosis of mechanical proportioners and an intelligent digital upgrade. Thus, the benefits from each expertise fields are mixed without compromising the performance of mechanical FireDos proportioners.
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