To prevent fires, regulations require installation of a fixed fire protection system and annual maintenance by a licensed servicing company to check its condition. Following from the above it is now possible to go above and beyond the regulation requirement of annual maintenance which may not be sufficient to cover the remaining periods when the vessel is out at sea alone. The idea of continuous monitoring of fire suppression systems has been made possible and is done by non-invasive ultrasonic liquid level indicator monitoring of the contents within the fire suppression cylinders. This ensures the quantity of agent required to extinguish a fire is always at its designed concentration to guarantee an efficacious fire protection in the event of a fire breaking out in the vessel.
Liquid level indicator monitoring is done using compact, low-cost ultrasonic sensors that are linked to a central control module that broadcasts the liquid level information over WSN allowing dissemination of information to the appropriate parties. The ultrasonic sensors are attached to the walls of the cylinders and propagates ultrasound pulses which travel across the cylinder and returns to its starting position. As the ultrasound pulses travel across the cylinder, the contents within the cylinder will absorb the signal energy in proportions relative to their phases. This ensures that the difference in returned signal above and below the liquid level is always sufficiently large, allowing the liquid level to be identified each time. By fixing the sensor onto the cylinder permanently, any changes in the contents’ level will be identified immediately. Research conducted in the labs have proven accuracies up to 0.1 mm when tested with the commonly known fire suppressing agent cylinders. This proprietary system by Coltraco Ultrasonics is the Permalevel® Multiplex and is capable of using the latest advancement in IoT to collect and disseminate sensor information and forwards them onto the control panel situated on the vessel’s bridge to be integrated as part of the vessel’s overall monitoring system.