As an example that is transferable to land-based applications, the principal reasons for ships, warships, submarines and auxiliary vessels loss at sea sadly remains sinking and fire.
Watertight compartment doors, hatches and hatch-covers are installed to prevent water ingress for the former, and fixed gaseous extinguishing systems for the latter. Unfortunately both are liable to faults and challenging to test at sea where they are both most-necessary.
Watertight (WT) compartment doors are designed and manufactured to withstand pressures of water that are historically impossible to test at sea. If the WT compartment doors cannot withstand the pressure of the water behind them, then the compartment will flood.
On the other hand, Fixed Gaseous Extinguishing Systems contain gases which are stored at very high pressures, making them liable to slow seepage and accidental discharge; if the contents fall below their ability to deliver the design concentration required, the remaining extinguishing gas will not extinguish the fire event.
IMO SOLAS II/21.3 state that the crew must have the means to, “periodically test the watertight doors and all mechanisms at least once a week”. IMO SOLAS Fire Suppressions Safety Code state that the “crew must have the means to test the contents ” its fixed extinguishing systems at sea, for this. These are the reasons why we designed the Portascanner™ Watertight & Portalevel™ MAX hand-held instruments.
At the heart of Naval Damage Control and Safety & Survivability is the ability to test watertight compartmentation and the contents of a ships gaseous extinguishing system.
Coltraco Ultrasonics are the global leader in these two specialised areas with two hand-held instruments called Portascanner™ Watertight and Portalevel™ MAX respectively. The former enables the crew to test for the watertight integrity of compartments, W/T compartment doors, hatch-covers and hatches. The latter enables the crew to test for the contents contained within the highly pressurised gases contained within their large cylinders. Each of these products has its own NATO Stock and IMPA Purchasing Nos, are ABS Type-Approved and manufactured to UL certification. We use airborne ultrasound to detect leak-sites with an aperture of less than 0.06mm with Portascanner™ Watertight and ultrasound in liquids to test the contents of liquefied CO2, FM-200™ and NOVEC™ 1230 Clean Agent extinguishing systems to an accuracy of +/-1.5mm with Portalevel™ MAX.