FIRETEST SOLUTIONS TO DELIVER THE SAFESITE

Coltraco Ultrasonics provide smart Firetest® solutions which enable wind turbine owners and operators to improve their fire safety management and reduce the risks to human life, business continuity caused by any downtime and thus minimise risk to reputation by delivering a Safesite®.

Focused on continued advancement of safety technology, Coltraco have now developed the Permalevel® Multiplex, a fixed fire suppression monitoring system, designed for continuous contents verification. The Permalevel® Multiplex is designed  to  ensure  that fire  suppression  systems  are  always  fully operational and that no accidental discharge has occurred, which could affect the effectiveness of the overall fire protection system in the event of a fire. With guaranteed systems operations, adaptability for purpose, 24/7 remote access to the systems status, an interruptible power supply and remote real-time monitoring, the Permalevel® offers the efficiency that is needed in a wind turbine.

For regular inspection, the Portalevel® MAX is a handheld ultrasonic liquid level indicator, which can service a cylinder in 30 seconds (in contrast to 15minutes by traditional manual weighing) with accuracy of up to 1.5mm off the true liquid level. The Portalevel® MAX builds on Coltraco Ultrasonics’ 30 years’ experience in designing, manufacturing and supporting ultrasonic liquid level indicating equipment, in 108 Countries and numerous market sectors and environments. The development program was born out of the desire to further improve on Coltraco’s existing 8 designs and taking on board feedback and opinions of our customers

See the range of fire extinguishing monitoring systems here.

Why do you need a Portascanner® Watertight?

A lack of proper servicing of seals can lead to deterioration which endanger the lives of the crew, vessel and cargo.  One British manufacturer whose mission is to deliver the Safeship® to prevent El Faro type incidents occurring again is Coltraco Ultrasonics. They are committed to improving safety for people, assets and vessels at sea. They focus on benefitting the crew; designing innovative ultrasonic solutions which the crew will be happy to use by being easy to operate, quick, accurate and a better method to traditional techniques. Thus increasing the likelihood of tests being regularly conducted, in line with regulations and even going above and beyond for more frequent testing. By so doing, the crew will be creating a safer ship.
Ultrasonics is proven to be the quickest, easiest and most efficient method of testing watertight & weather-tight seals of hatch-covers, doors, multiple cable transits. The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is the most accurate model of its kind – proven to 0.06mm (+/-0.02mm). This is designed primarily to enhance the ease and accuracy with which critical watertight, airtight or weather tight seals can be inspected for leak sites or areas of reduced compression in the seal. The ultrasound generator emits a modulated signal of a specific frequency of ultrasound (in most cases 40,000Hz). The receiver then picks up the signal and converts it into a result indicating watertight integrity. The easy to use PortascannerÒ WATERTIGHT allows crew member to check for failing seals.

For further information, you may download Portascanner Watertight PDF

3 key areas for regular inspection

The ungoverned space is the area where either the regulations or the protecting systems of the critical infrastructure are not effectively providing consistent and reliable safety. This life-threatening issue must be dealt with, with specific regard to loss of contents in fixed fire extinguishing systems and need for improvements to room integrity testing.

The neglect of the basic routine testing and maintenance of 3 key areas substantially increases the risk of an onboard engine room fire:

  •  the cylinder agent content in the fire extinguishing installations, commonly CO2, FM-200®, Novec™1230, halons;
  • the associated pipework;
  • and the room integrity of the protected space into which the suppressant agent discharges;

Some smart Safeship® solutions

  • Ultrasonic liquid level indicator: to identify the agent liquid level in under 30 seconds with 1 competent user*
    • Compared to 15 minutes by laboriously weighing with 2 personnel, qho must be qualified in fire safety inspections, which most crew are not
    • Complies with IMO SOLAS FSS Code 2.1.1.3 which requires crew to have the means onboard to test the installation agent content
  • Ultrasonic thickness gauge, ultrasonic flow meter, acoustic emissions bearing indicator: all efficiently inspect and provide condition monitoring of
    • metal work,
    • pipework and
    • rotating machinery

Ultrasonic watertight and airtight integrity indicator: to identify leak sites in compartments. To ensure that the protected space is able to withstand the pressure of the agent when it discharges
and that the compartment will hold that agent for the design concentration required to suppress a fire

*Disclaimer: these calculations and descriptions are based on the range by Coltraco Ultrasonics only.

The danger is shown in the statistics. Maintaining high standards of fire safety practice does not have to be expensive or time consuming. This is a call for awareness of the problem and action to be taken now.

The Mathematics of Monitoring Gaseous Extinguishing Systems & Room Integrity

Applying Mathematics

The fire industry calling is a noble one. It is uses scientific principles to enable its very existence. The fire industry, however, calculates fire engineering designs based on formulas that its technicians have no way of understanding or verifying are accurate. The industry needs a Resident Mathematician to ensure that the formulas they use are correct. Fire engineers do not always understand the physical properties of the clean agents they use. Some do not wholly appreciate the impact of temperature on the state of an agent or its pressures. Novec 1230 for instance is an organic compound which deteriorates quickly to a point of non-effectiveness if poorly handled and stored. These problems and many more can be solved in the fire industry by the application of fundamental scientific and engineering principles. But they can only be proved by the application of the mathematics of them. Coltraco are at the vanguard of this in the fire industry.

Clean Agents

Are pressurised liquefied gases or non-liquefied gases that are pressurised on actuation. CO2 is permanently under 720 psi or 49 bar of pressure ie nearly 50 times atmospheric pressure (by comparison a cup of water at sea level exists at 1 bar or 14.5 psi). Its state changes under increased temperatures to one that is neither a liquid nor a gas. Gases under pressure are often effectively considered by the industry as single and passive cylinder columns of solid material from the perspective of their monitoring following installation. Whereas being under pressure and constantly changing under temperature they should be considered as active and dynamic systems requiring constant monitoring. These are not passive systems therefore; they are dynamic ones, and all dynamic systems under pressure need constant monitoring.  

We achieve this

By our ability to establish the liquid contents of liquefied clean agents – through UL-approved Portalevel MAX and the constant monitoring system, Permalevel Multiplex. Once we do this we can establish their weight and mass – through Portasteele Calculator (the world’s first product capable of this). If we can monitor their pressure too then we can monitor both the pressure of the gas above the liquefied agent such as in Novec 1230 and the pressure of non-liquefied gases such as Inergen or Nitrogen.

How can you ensure the effectiveness of your fire suppression system?

Too often in the fire industry it feels like the certification is driving the maintenance, with its insurance consequence for the asset owner and service revenue for the contractor, rather than maintenance [for safety sake] driving its consequential certification. The ‘ungoverned space’ is the area in the fire industry where either the regulations or the protecting systems of the critical infrastructure are not effectively providing consistent and reliable safety.

The regulations are not extensive enough to deal with the risks presented in gaseous systems. In 9.2.1.3 the regulations explains that the storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months as follows. : a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. b) Non-liquefied gases: for inert gas agents, pressure is an indication of agent quantity. If a container shows a loss of agent quantity or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 5 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. Essentially, it is known in regulations that the gaseous systems leak and need to be maintained. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of that room, building e.t.c, a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire.

Coltraco Ultrasonics have now developed a fixed fire suppression monitoring device, the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX ultrasonic level indicator which is designed for permanent contents verification. The continuous monitoring system is  designed  to  ensure  that fire  suppression  systems  are  always  fully operational and that no accidental discharge has occurred, which could affect the effectiveness of the overall fire protection system in the event of a fire. The device uses the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT enables a worldwide transmission of data starting from sensor to sensor to the microprocessors and to the facilities manager or maintenance team. Instead of waiting for annual checks, it would improve safety to have these cylinders constantly monitored using ultrasonic sensors. Now, by coupling with IoT developments, this enable their status to be visible to safety managers and building owners.

The neglect of continuous monitoring - of the fundamental protection provided by the gaseous extinguishing systems - is to the peril of the lives of occupants of the premises and at the risk of crippling financial and reputational loss to the facility comprising the critical infrastructure.

Applications of Portascanner® Watertight

Shipping and Marine Applications

  • Bulk carriers
  • General cargo vessels
  • Container operators
  • Reefers
  • Ro-Ro vessels
  • Supply vessels
  • Tankers Shipbuilders and Shipyards during construction activities
  • Class Hull Surveyors during survey of ships

Defense Applications

  • Warships 
  • Military aircraft airtight seals 
  • Submarines
  • Tank testing
  • Auxiliary vessels
  • Naval support vessels
  • Armoured vehicle NBC/CW seals
  • Citadel for Nuclear Biological Damage Control (NBCD)
  • This hatch cover tester is safe to use onboard for any vessel due to integration of ultrasonic technology

Offshore Oil & Gas Application

  • Drill-ships
  • Rigs
  • Platforms
  • And other vessels

Portascanner Kit Contents

For your ease, we have developed an image assuring you regarding the content you will find in the new Coltraco Portascanner® Watertight Package. Give it a give!

  • Durable Carrying Case
  • Operating Instructions, Calibration Certificate, Training DVD
  • PortascannerIIGenerator for multiple use and flexible applications
  • Headphone Set to minimize ambient noise and to hear audible readings
  • Portascanner Receiver to relate results into audible and visual readings
  • Sensor Extension Rod to detect the integrity readings

For further information, Download PDF

Calibrating your equipment annually or every 5 years? Regulation or recommendation?

Beware the Cost of Cheaper Price.

Globalisation is accepted now as part of who we are. It is often strange to hear this in the UK when we have been a globally trading nation for over 400 years. For the many today who see its advantages, there are a greater number who are its consequence, both amongst the bottom 20% at home in the West but also those who are exploited in the East. Behind this are the developing countries who enable globalisation, but who, individually, do not always share in its benefits. Others take advantage of it whilst not implementing its practises or requirements. For example, manufacturers in the West see their ideas and innovations replicated by some in the East, by companies who do not always adhere to the same standards in either their manufacture or delivering the quality and specifications they claim. Underlying this is a negligence towards their servicing and calibration.

The argument goes that the cost of calibration should be in proportion to their acquisition price but this holds no inherent engineering logic as the reason for its calibration is contained in ISO 17025 which is an international standard. If manufacturers making measuring instruments base their calibration standards on laboratory ones then surety of safe practise will accrue to all its users globally. To dictate their own calibration standards as less regular than annually, as many do, is an indicator of potential doubt in their approach to delivering quality.

We are often asked about calibration, why it is important, how often it should be done and why. The reason we know calibration to be important, and recommend its annual frequency is because our equipment is designed to improve safety and best practice. Ensuring the equipment used by crew/technicians/engineers to conduct such inspections is accurate and calibrated is a necessary one. Our manufacturer’s recommendations are based on the best that exist in ISO 17025 – an international standard for the calibration of any monitoring or measuring equipment: it must be at least once a year.

Calibrating measurement instrumentation is vital for business continuity through improved maintenance procedures for all industries, yet the calibration of such equipment is not commonly discussed. All good companies will comply with calibration requirements, understanding the need to ensure their equipment works as designed. Yet negligence is commonplace due to lack of understanding of the value of calibrations and not knowing  the regulations.

Here are some examples of best practice. At Rolls Royce the test cell for their Trent XWB engines are calibrated every 3 months. In the gas industry, customers are recommended to calibrate their detectors every 6 months, especially if they are using them in confined spaces, in order to ensure they are maintaining their accuracy as per technical specifications. There are serious consequences if customers do not value the understanding of their monitoring or measuring tools or equipment, which unfortunately renders them at risk.

But, what about 5 year calibration certificates? On calibration and as a manufacturer of quality, we are clear that it is unsound, unsafe and unprofessional to compete on calibration cost as some competitors offer 5 year calibration certificates. How can the manufacturer know its calibration will hold given the array of climate, humidity and environmental conditions that a product may go through 365 days per year ?  We wish to uphold the best there is in ISO 17025. Nor do we wish customers to believe that it is the manufacturer who dictates calibration standards, which is not the case – the key here is that we will not issue calibration certificates beyond a year.

When you buy from any premier manufacturer, you have confidence in the longevity of your equipment, aided in our case by our Coltraco Customer Total Care Commitment, which includes life-time support. In addition, we have set up ODA Service Centres at major ports and centres worldwide, so our customers can send equipment for its calibration quickly and locally. We always do something “over and above” to enhance the unit for customers during its calibration and we have a wonderful reputation as a consequence.

So whilst we can enjoy the benefits of globalisation that should not be limited to price attraction in isolation from the costs of cheaper prices. If you are buying something critical to your Safety Management System, forego the attractions of the cheaper price or scant regard for calibration standards that all too often accompany them.

Global trade depends on professionals across many industries to deliver it safely and to the highest standards, regardless of any cyclical down-turn. It is why we work so hard to develop our Safety Management Systems. They deliver Safesite® and Safeship® practices, protecting life at sea, the vessel and its cargo. If we react to the cost advantages of poorly made and replicated equipment by buying them we should not be surprised if we also react to the allure those same manufacturers offer in regard to their servicing and calibration, and at that point the collective efforts of the governments, classification societies, trade associations and industry leaders striving for best practice will in itself be damaged.

Dust & Fire Suppression

Fires and explosions pose a constant threat to the safety of miners and to the productive capacity of mines. Mine fires and explosions traditionally have ranked among the most devastating industrial disasters. The prevention and control of fire and explosion in mines is fundamental. On a mine site, fire hazards may occur in and around process plants, underground conveyors, static and mobile plants, draglines, workshops, substations, monitored control rooms and switch rooms. All mines have highly expensive and mission critical equipment that typically operate day and night under extreme hostile conditions, in vast, remote and difficult to access environments, especially on underground equipment. In many cases non-gaseous and gaseous fire suppression systems are the preferred systems installed to protect the high value assets, safeguard operators and processes so as to guarantee business continuity. However, it can be argued that the competitive nature of the free market places great pressure on the fire industry to deliver systems which minimally comply with, rather than exceed, the regulations. Too often fire protection is seen as a cost - not a vital investment for business continuity. High value assets such as critical mining infrastructure, may have catastrophic results in the event of downtime or shutdown due to fire. The risk far exceeds the risk of choosing minimal compliance, instead of advanced real-time monitoring systems. The cost or damage to reputational integrity as a result of this downtime far exceeds the cost of integrating a real-time monitoring system.

CASE STUDY: ultrasonic technology offers quick, safe & reliable solutions

The importance of ultrasonic technology to the mining industry has been demonstrated by its use thus far. NRG Energy have been using the Portalevel™ Max since 2015 at the Morgan Town Generation Plant in Morgantown, Charles County in Maryland, US. The Morgan Town Plant is a coal powered power station based in Maryland. NRG own the USA’s largest and more diverse power generation competitive portfolio. NRG are dedicated to smart and reliable energy sourcing, and emission reductions although coal is a significant part of the electricity generation. The Portalevel™ Max is an example of the technologically advanced techniques that the company are implementing to lead the way in safe and sustainable coal sourcing. After witnessing fire service experts undertaking ultrasonic liquid level indication in just minutes, they were keen to change from their previous method of weighing. As a safety critical asset, the Morgan Town Plant saw the necessity in investing into their fire safety. This was the same as at the Vales Point Power Station at Delta, Australia. The power station is at the southern end of lake Macquarie. This power station was built in the 1960’s as a four-unit station, but now operates two 660 MW generating units. The Power Station is owned and operated by Power International, with the capacity of around 1,320 megawatts, providing 24 hours electricity. In 2013 they bought Coltraco Ultrasonics’ Portagauge® 3 thickness gauge for testing normal structure and stainless steel.

How to inspect liquefied gaseous systems with ease and speed

Utilising ultrasound technology, Coltraco Ultrasonics have been manufacturing a range of ultrasonic portable liquid level indicators known as the Portalevel®. The Portalevel® MAX is the latest generation of the Portalevel® line and is designed to provide enhanced speed, operation and performance, especially for high intensity testing requirements and works brilliantly for testing cylinder contents of fixed fire extinguishing systems like CO2, NOVEC™ 1230, FM-200™ and other clean agents. The device has UL, RINA and ABS Type Approval, building further on their history of over 27 years manufacturing this equipment and showcasing the commitment to the marine and shipping industry. The Coltraco Safesite™ technology suite includes Portalevel ® MAX; a “world leading handheld ultrasonic liquid level indicator for testing most common extinguishing agents”; the Portasteele™ Calculator tablet based app converting the liquid level into agent weight/mass with ease, simplicity and ability to log the results; and the Permalevel ® Multiplex for 24/7, 365 autonomous, continuous monitoring of fire suppression systems, with remote relay, remote diagnostics and alarm capability to alert in case of agent leak/discharge.

How to constantly monitor liquefied gaseous extinguishing systems 24/7

Permalevel® Multiplex is the first system worldwide that is capable of monitoring the liquid level of critical fire suppression cylinder systems on a constant basis. It gives a facility total visibility on the real-time status of all their critical fire systems. Modern fire suppression systems have transformed industry safety across all sectors. However, the development of their servicing and monitoring equipment has remained stagnant, with many very advanced systems relying totally on annual inspections, or on unreliable mechanical pressure gauges. These methods leave the status of fire suppression systems completely vulnerable between annual checks. The Permalevel Multiplex® is designed to ensure that fire suppression systems are always fully operational and that no accidental discharge has occurred, which could affect the effectiveness of the overall fire protection system in the event that it is required for use 24/7 remote access to system status – enables the operator to monitor each cylinder point in real time. The ability to retrofit into existing systems which eliminates downtime as the system does not have to be disconnected/deactivated provides ease and simplicity to be installed across hundreds of cylinders present in a particular site.

How to test Room Integrity

Where Portalevel® and Pemalevel® deals with the clean agent contents, Coltraco Ultrasonics has also designed and manufactured a device to monitor the enclosure integrity at which the clean agent discharges into. Prior to the installation of a clean agent extinguishing system, fire installers are required to determine the enclosure’s “hold time” in order to comply with regulations such as BS EN ISO 14520 and to ensure the enclosure is able to contain the released clean agent for a sufficient period of time in order to extinguish fires. This relies on the identification of leak sites within an enclosure and subsequently sealing them to improve the “hold time” when necessary. Coltraco Ultrasonics manufactures the Portascanner™ 520 which comprises of an ultrasound generator and ultrasound receiver whereby the ultrasound generator is left in an enclosure and the receiver is used to scan the enclosure seals to identify leak sites. This allows effective identification of leak sites and overall contribute to an increased reliability of a clean agent fire suppression system. A semi-permanent option is also available to monitor leak sites continuously, typically in old, grade listed buildings whereby protection from fire is of absolute importance.

Conclusion: Safesite® fire safety solutions

Coltraco Ultrasonics is a company that demonstrates their commitment to developing and supporting safety systems and test equipment with their customer and the end application in mind, founded on science and pursuit of mathematical justification such as their practice to precisely cite accuracy i.e. they achieve +/-1.5mm level of contents accuracy and identify leak sites as small as 0.06mm +/-0.02mm. This is a key contribution the company makes to the industry over their competitors, backed up by 30 years’ experience, operating in 108 countries and life-time customer care.

Markets Coltraco Ultrasonics Operate In

Oil & Gas

We have units in operation on rigs, platforms and offshore support vessels around the globe, notably on approximately 160 of the North Sea rigs overtime, as well as with onshore drilling, exploration and production operations. Portalevel® MAX provides drilling operators, contractors and owners, down to the OIMs and barge managers with the assurance and confidence that their fire suppression systems are operating under an enhanced safety management plan.

Marine

Coltraco’s history is steeped in the Marine sector and Toda Ship Owners, Managers and Operators, Port Authorities, P&I Clubs, Towage & Salvage Operators, Shipyards and Service Stations and Marine Surveyors are among our key customers around the world. We have developed products and diversified our range to serve our customers’ needs and Portalevel® MAX is our latest upgrade.

Fire Protection

The Portalevel has been leading in the fire safety and protection sector since we first invented it in1987 and with the 8th generation model Portalevel MAX, we are pleased to offer an enhanced means of testing and certifying fire suppression systems. This ultrasonic liquid level indicator uses safe and clean technology. Portalevel® MAX aims to reduce time and cost; it is a must-have tool for fire system protection and we have the technical know-how and credentials to verify this

Power Generation

Power plants, transmission sub-stations and distribution networks need to minimize the risks of fire at all costs. For safety critical areas such as nuclear power generation, and the conventional fossil fuel power generation, Portalevel® MAX provides a further means of improving the safety management and preventative maintenance procedures of the fire suppression systems.

Defense

Government organizations and Defense forces around the globe, particularly Naval Forces and Coast Guards, have been using Coltraco equipment for over 20 years. These capabilities are focused upon Safety & Survey applications such as monitoring Naval vessel and Fleet Auxiliary vessel Halon 1301, typically using Portalevel to monitor contents of FM-Halon, FM-200™, CO2 & NOVEC™ 1230 systems.

The Two Principles

If you are an end user, to provide an additional means to check your systems more frequently, outside the regulatory certification checks and enhance your safety management, this ultrasonic level indicator is the best choice.

If you are a servicing company, to conduct certified testing in compliance with regulations, the Portalevel is approved and certified with proven accuracy up to +/-1.5mm and to save 75% of the time to complete testing when compared to weighing cylinders. Moreover, data centres, telecommunications centres, High Rise Buildings, MTR rooms, and others are good for this device to measure the liquid levels.
Please Download PDF for further information or contact Coltraco’s Customer Service, if you want to know if Portalevel® MAX will work with your applications.

Permalevel® Multiplex Technical Specifications

Here are some of the features you can avail with this fire suppression system developed with the help of ultrasonic liquid level indicator.

  • Power Supply: 95V - 260V
  • UPS Lifetime: UP to 24 Hours
  • Analogue Relay Output: 4-20mA
  • Sensor Dimensions: D35mm X H35mm
  • Digital Output: RS232/ RS485
  • Operational Humidity Range: 0-80%
  • External Case Mental: Aluminum
  • Channel Sensitivity Controls: Gain (Power Gain), Trip (Alarm Trigger Level) and SPA (Additional Power) Knobs for each Channel
  • Local System Controls: Channel Sheet, View Settings, Channel Calibration, Special Power Application Toggle, Alarm Channel
  • Power Supply Status: Main Power Supply and UPS Active LED Indicators
  • Local Visual Alarms: 4 status LEDs per active Channel, 3 Green LEDs Indicate Signal Level, 1 Red Indicates Alarm
  • Local Display: LCD Screen
  • Operational Temperature Range: -20c - +70c
  • Gross Weight: 6kg
  • External Dimensions: 440mm X 350mm X 13mm
  • Max Sensor Cable Length: 5m

For further information, contact Coltraco Customer Support

Ultrasonic Hatch Cover and Watertight Integrity Tester by Coltraco

Coltraco Ultrasonics  create accurate, reliable and easy to use instrumentation, which enhance our customers' safety management. The issue is not just about compliance with the regulations; it is about creating the safe ship helping our customers to ensure lower risk, higher protection and business continuity. Coltraco believes in prior safety measuring steps for safety's sake.

Portascanner WATERTIGHT® is a portable ultrasonic watertight integrity indicator and hatch cover tester – for testing watertight and weather-tight seals. It is ideal for checking the hatch-covers, doors, cable transit areas, scuttles, flanges, shell doors, steering gear hatches and many others. Primarily designed to enhance the ease and accuracy with which critical watertight, airtight or weather tight seals can be inspected for leaks sites or areas of reduced compression in the seal.

These are standard features, which are provided to the customers across the world.

  • Three years warranty
  • Lifetime Support
  • Calibration and Training Certificates Available
  • Identifies leaks as small as 0.06 +/- 0.02mm
  • Non-intrusive ultrasonic technology
  • 10 hour battery life
  • Class Approved
  • No Fuss Setup
  • Magnetically Mountable

Portascanner® Kit Contents

For your ease, we have developed an image assuring you regarding the content you will find in the new Coltraco Portascanner WATERTIGHT Package, a high quality hatch cover maintenance and watertight integrity testing device.

  • Durable Carrying Case
  • Headphone Set to minimize ambient noise and to hear audible readings
  • Portascanner WATERTIGHT Generator for multiple use and flexible applications
  • Operating Instructions, Calibration Certificate, Training DVD
  • Sensor Extension Rod to detect the integrity readings
  • Portascanner® WATERTIGHT Receiver to relate results into audible and visual readings

For further information, Download PDF

Portasonic® Ultrasonic Flow Meter by Coltraco Ultrasonics

The Portasonic® is a handheld portable clamp-on transit time flow meter device for accurate flow measurement from outside a pipe – especially for fire protection water sprinkler and fire hydrant systems. The unique clamp-on fixture makes installation straightforward, requireing no special tools or skills and due to the non-invasive nature of clamp-on transducers, there is no pressure drop, no moving parts, no leak and no risk of contamination or corrosion. This ultrasonic flow meter is ideal for the measurement of flows in clean, non-aerated fluids such as water, water/ glycol and oils in full pipes from ½” to 180” (12 to 4570 mm) diameter can be measured and the ultrasonic signal penetrates all common metal and plastic pipe materials.

  • Works on almost any liquid
  • Lifetime Support
  • Calibration and training certificates available
  • Ultrasonic Technology

Operating Method of Portable Ultrasonic Flow Meter

Transit Time flow meters utilize two transducers that function as both ultrasonic transmitters and receivers. The transducers are clamped on the outside of a vertical or horizontal pipe at a specific distance calculated by the instrument. The elapsed time of this ultrasonic flow meter between transmitted and received signals varies very slightly depending on whether the signal is traveling upstream or downstream and by comparing these time differences an accurate calculation of the flow rate is possible and is displayed in your choice of engineering units. As the ultrasonic beam crosses the pipe, compensation for laminar or turbulent flow is automatic.

Depending on the application and flow profile, the transducers can be mounted in V-method in which case the ultra sound transverses the pipe twice, the W-method in which case the ultra sound transverses the pipe four times or the Z-method in which case the transducers are mounted on opposite sides of the pipe and the ultra sound transverses the pipe only once. These modes are automatically selected by the instrument and are also user selectable. (X) Letter denotes the distance between the transducers, which is automatically calculated by the instrument at setup depending on the inputted application data.

For further information, Download PDF

Why must we continuously monitor gaseous suppression systems?

Continuous monitoring is no longer an option; it is essential for the protection against special hazards in critical infrastructure. Clean agents are designed to operate in limited spaces where there is a need for speed of suppression given the asset risk and where the space is occupied by people. They deliver the infrastructural resilience our advanced society requires. The assumptions in the installation, commissioning and maintenance of gaseous extinguishing systems is that they are highly pressurised but risk leaking and discharging. ISO 14520 specifically guides our industry as to these risks; In 9.2.1.3 The storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months as follows. : a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. b) Non-liquefied gases: for inert gas agents, pressure is an indication of agent quantity. If a container shows a loss of agent quantity or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 5 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. Therefore, at a standards level it is known that gaseous systems can become ineffective through accidental discharge and leakage and thus they do not serve to protect the critical infrastructure in such a case. To know the contents, you need to monitor it, and checking it every 6 months is not monitoring it.

Should we not just constantly monitor all of them and be in full compliance to the regulations and the risks that are so clearly described in our own core standards? If it is known and accepted that these are dynamic systems that are prone to leaking, but they are expected to deliver resilience and protection, then why are they left unattended for 6 months of the year? We would not do the same to an alarm system without monitoring it 24/7, so why are we not monitoring gaseous extinguishing systems? Let us apply 21st century science to a 100 year old issue and be done with it. A dynamic system needs monitoring. The neglect of continuous monitoring of the fundamental protection provided by the gaseous extinguishing systems is to the peril of the lives of occupants of the premises and at the risk of crippling financial loss to the facility comprising the critical infrastructure. To ensure that dynamic gaseous systems are protecting critical infrastructure in a safe and diligent manner, 6 monthly monitoring and maintenance is no longer enough. There is a call for continuous monitoring and this is something that cannot wait any more.

3 Reasons Why You Should Monitor Your CO2 systems

Here are 3 reasons why you should monitor your CO2 system:

  • CO2 leaks
  • A fire starts every 7 seconds around the world
  • Insufficient CO2 could mean failure of extinguishment in the event of a fire

How can you protect yourself and your facilities?
Here is a LOW COST constant monitoring device for CO2 fire systems. It is called Permalevel® LOAD WEIGH. 

Why a Safesite® solution for you:

  • Easier – automatic alarm in the event of CO2 leakage
  • Better – don’t wait for one annual check, monitor 24/7, 265 days a year
  • Cheaper – highly competitive pricing

This is a must have because of this flexibility in the Permalevel® LOAD WEIGH’s applications, from data centres, tall buildings, museums, hotels to industrial sector. 
Discover more today:

Protecting your crew: using ultrasonics to create the Safeship®

The NTSB have recently investigated the cause of the 2015 El Faro disaster. SS El Faro was a United States-flagged, combination roll-on/roll-off and lift-on/lift-off cargo ship crewed by U.S. merchant mariners. All 33 crew members tragically died in the sinking, when El Faro sailed from Jacksonville into Hurricane Joaquin, while heading to Puerto Rico. The wreckage was discovered more than 15,000 feet below the sea surface, Northeast of Acklins and Crooked Island, Bahamas.

The NTSB have concluded that gaps in safety management contributed to the sinking of the El Faro. One of the significant issues was “poor watertight integrity which allowed seawater into the ship” stating that this accident may have been avoided if “crew had more information about the status of the hatches”.

In fact, in the SOLAS Reg II-1/11.1 it states that hatches and watertight seals must be regularly tested: “Where a hose test is not practicable [sic] it may be replaced by [sic] an ultrasonic leak test or an equivalent test. In any case a thorough inspection of the watertight bulkheads shall be carried out.” The tragedy of the El Faro has exemplified why it is crucial for the watertight integrity of vessels to be regularly and easily tested by the crew. The importance of continually maintaining seal integrity must take a more prominent position in ship maintenance scheduling.

A lack of proper servicing of seals can lead to deterioration which endanger the lives of the crew, vessel and cargo. One British manufacturer whose mission is to deliver the Safeship® to prevent El Faro type incidents occurring again is Coltraco Ultrasonics. They are committed to improving safety for people, assets and vessels at sea. They focus on benefitting the crew; designing innovative ultrasonic solutions which the crew will be happy to use by being easy to operate, quick, accurate and a better method to traditional techniques. Thus increasing the likelihood of tests being regularly conducted, in line with regulations and even going above and beyond for more frequent testing. By so doing, the crew will be creating a safer ship.

Ultrasonics is proven to be the quickest, easiest and most efficient method of testing watertight & weather-tight seals of hatch-covers, doors, multiple cable transits. The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is the most accurate model of its kind – proven to 0.06mm (+/-0.02mm). This is designed primarily to enhance the ease and accuracy with which critical watertight, airtight or weather tight seals can be inspected for leak sites or areas of reduced compression in the seal. The ultrasound generator emits a modulated signal of a specific frequency of ultrasound (in most cases 40,000Hz). The receiver then picks up the signal and converts it into a result indicating watertight integrity. The easy to use Portascanner WATERTIGHT allows crew member to check for failing seals whilst at sea which allows for prompt maintenance.

Avoid negligence and work towards creating the Safeship® with Coltraco Ultrasonics.

Coltraco Ultrasonics is a leading British designer and manufacturer of innovative ultrasonic technology operating in 109 countries across the offshore markets for over 30 years. www.coltraco.com/news.

Innovate Showcase 2017 with Live Permalevel® MULTIPLEX Demonstration

Coltraco were delighted to have been awarded Innovate Showcase UK 2017 in November!

INNOVATE 2017 displayed the best of UK innovation through:

  • Meeting global creators, thinkers, investors, and entrepreneurs
  • A place where ideas collide
  • A place to do deals, be inspired, network and discover future-focused thought leaders
  • A chance to hear captivating speakers and see game-changing innovations for the first times.

 At INNOVATE 2017 our Head of Marketing and Communications and Research and Development Manager demonstrated live the world’s first ultrasonic constant monitoring system for extinguishing gases - the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX to support the offshore energy, power generating and fire sectors.

  • We are proud to have been chosen as a British innovator 
  • demonstrating the best of British technology and 
  • supporting Global Britain and 
  • showcasing our commitment to
    • professional manufacturing, 
    • Government/Business relations, 
    • development of STEM at Universities and 
    • bringing young people into industry.

Benefits of Portapipe®, Pipework Integrity Tester

  • Simple

Highly intuitive operation enabling regular testing

  • Portable

Multiple readings can be made using one device at no extra cost, making it a great value for money product.

  • Low Cost

Multiple readings can be made using one device at no extra cost

  • No Training Costs

Free-of-charge online, telephone and email training support through- life.

  • Cost Effective

The most mathematically accurate watertight integrity test indicator with dual decibel & linear display

  • Instant Results

User receives instant feedback regarding the focused area.

  • Greater Testing average

The ability to test multiple locations throughout the pipes length provides a more reliable thorough view of the integrity of the system.

  • Focus at Problem Areas

The user can target suspected areas in more detail

  • Non-Destructive

The testing method causes no damage to the existing system.

  • Operating Method of Coltraco Portapipe®

The Portapipe® by Coltraco has two main components: a generator and receiver with two wands. The generator of this portable ultrasonic pipework integrity test indicator is attached to the detection rod; the rod is then sealed into the opening of a drained pipe system using the sealing plug.

The ultrasonic generator is then switched on and emits a specific frequency of ultrasound (40,000 Hz). The operator then uses the receiver at multiple locals along the pipe's length in order to indicate the integrity of the pipe's structure. Results: A higher reading will be seen at a leak or weak area.

For inquiry or further information, contact Coltraco Customer Care.

Sprinkler Flow Testing – Why Choose Portasonic®FLOW?

Problem

For a business and property owner, protecting against potentially catastrophic results of fire such as life loss, property damage and loss of assets is a common challenge.

Automatic sprinkler systems are used more than any other fixed fire protection system and over 40 million sprinklers are fitted world-wide each year to deal with this problem.

However, if sprinkler systems are not periodically inspected for mechanical deficiencies, proper function, valve actuation, water flow, sprinkler clearances, etc., the system may not be effective during a fire. Corrosion can cause a sprinkler system and fire hydrant systems to fail due to blockages and failed sprinkler heads.

NFPA 258 provides required inspection, testing and maintenance for a sprinkler system.

Traditional Solutions

One method of flow measurement is wet testing, in which water is sprayed through to prove its compliance, yet this can cause deposits, contamination and blockages.

Coltraco’s Smart Solution – the Portasonic® FLOW

In response to customer demands for a non-invasive, non-contaminating and cost-effective solution, Coltraco developed the portable ultrasonic flow meter: Portasonic®.

  • Provides accurate flow measurement from outside of the sprinkler pipe.
  • Easy digital set up makes it both cost and time effective.
  • Unique clamp-on fixture design – installation is straightforward.
  • No pressure drop, no moving parts, no leaks and no risks of contamination/corrosion.
  • Offers 3 different modes of operation so can be used in a variety of different environments.
  • Ensures full integrity of the sprinkler system through the ability to conduct spot checks at mandated intervals.
  • Can be used for extended continuous operation as a 4-20mA flow transmitter with AC power input.
  • Click Here To Read More

Advantages and Applications of Portamonitor®

Portamonitor® is a pocket size condition indicator took which employs powerful monitoring techniques to analyze the health state of rotating machinery especially with regards to the health and lubrication of bearings. With its magnetic sensor head, the Portamonitor® can be attached to machineries outer casing and takes readings over a short period to assess the condition of the moving parts within. An overall noise decibel (dB) level is returned along with a distress level after measurement that can be quickly analyzed and compared to other readings in order to discover if preventative maintenance is required. Hardy and robust, the Portamonitor®ultrasonic bearing indicator can take 1000 readings between charges, which is done through a standard USB lead for easy charging anywhere.

Advantages of Ultrasonic Bearing Indicator

Easy To Use

  • Measurements can be taken when the vessel is offshore or in port

Quick

  • Allows for problem bearings to be checked quickly and reliably if damage is suspected

  Stay Ahead

  • Provides insight into planning of future repairs
  • Identify sites with contaminated/lacking lubrication which can be easily fixed before any further damage occurs
  • Identify varying levels of damage – problems can be fixed before excessive damage occurs.

Accurate

  • Extremely sensitive to detecting faults

Effective

  • All the bearings on a vessel can be tested efficiently and reliably

Repeatable Results

  • Comparison to logs of past measurements can help identify even small changes in the functioning of the bearing

Non-Destructive & Non-Intrusive

Portable

  • Battery powered and lightweight for convenience operates at 0-650 c and can be used in the large majority of marine environments

Applications of Coltraco’s Bearing Indicator

Here is a quick list of the major applications performed by Coltraco’s bearing indicator integrated with ultrasonic technology:

  • Bearings
  • Gearboxes
  • Pumps
  • Motors

For further information, download PDF

Advantages offered by Coltraco with Ultrasonic Hatch Cover Tester

Since 1987, Coltraco Ultrasonics has been designing and manufacturing ultrasonic instrumentation for safety and servicing.

Our Commitment to Science

We are committed to designing and manufacturing the most mathematically accurate products and systems globally, supported by the highest standards of technical support and customer care.

Our Commitment to Safety

We are dedicated to being a Safeship® and Safesite® company, encouraging safety for safety’s sake. Our Portascanner® is part of our range of products and systems which are all designed to offer alternative methods to traditional means of testing, for example fire suppression systems, watertight integrity testing, flow testing and more.

Quality

Our Portascanner® is carefully hand built and undergoes rigorous quality testing to ensure it meets the high standards expected by our customers, and to provide them with long-term reliability.

After Sales Options by Coltraco

Permascanner® Dynamic

We are committed to developing continuous monitoring solutions especially for hatch cover maintenance. This will enable the hatch-covers to be tested whilst on voyage at sea to see how the vessel is responding to the dynamic sea states.

Optional Accessories

Extended Hi-Life Generator Additional standard generators can be used when testing large holds and the Extended Hi-Life Permascanner® Generators can provide up to 10-daysʼ continuous testing whilst at sea.

Interactive Training Programme

We have developed a programme to educate users (particularly non-native English speakers) quickly and simply on how to use our equipment.

Portacare

Opt in package provides through-life maintenance support, enabling customers to cap the cost of ownership and optimise operational availability. For one annual fee, Coltraco will cover all repairs and calibration costs, and the customer is guaranteed priority assistance in spares and repairs. In the event of component obsolescence, Coltraco guarantees to exchange the unit for a like-for-like model type at no additional charge.

The Portacare package does not cover customer-induced damage but as a Portacare customer you have priority to repairs and spares with a 25% discount. Upgrade to Portacare TMSS PREMIER, which covers all repairs, calibration, and guarantees an advance-exchanged unit is always ready-to-ship.

This makes hatch cover tester to be

flawless for checking leaks or accuracy of zero percent ingression in the cargo/ ship on voyage.

For further information, download PDF

How is the Portalevel® MAX INDUSTRIAL useful for the Aerospace Industry?

The Portalevel® MAX INDUSTRIAL is the latest generational of the Portalevel® line and is designed to provide enhanced Speed, Operation and Performance, especially for high intensity testing requirements. The unit is also the first UL Approved Ultrasonic Level Indicator we have ever produced and builds further on our history of over 30 years manufacturing this equipment.

Background:

Coltraco is known as a manufacturer of high-end components for Aerospace and other high-end engineering. The Wolverhampton facility runs 24/7 and 365 days a year and is the size of around 2-3 football pitches. The facility is concerned mainly in manufacturing high-end actuators that are installed on a range of civil and defense systems.

Solution:

A Coltraco Engineer visited the site to conduct technology suitability trials. Our technology in this ultrasonic liquid level indicator was found to be effective in accurately and quickly identifying the liquid level within the ammonia cylinders.

Implementation:

  • It was recommended that a standard un- altered Portalevel® MAX INDUSTRIAL would be a suitable solution.
  • We also cooperated with the customer to develop an in-house testing and recording process that was compatible with their current processes.
  • The solution provided a quick and accurate non-invasive solution, which allowed for more efficient operations and reduced waste by ensuring partially empty cylinders were not returned to the gas supplier.

Applications:

The facilities manager of the factory met with us at the Facilities Management show in Birmingham weeks prior. We were informed
of the need to monitor the contents within Ammonia Cylinders. The customer uses ammonia in a nitrating process in which ammonia is applied to a heated metal infusing the metal with Nitrogen. This can have beneficial properties such as making the metal harder/tougher/higher melting temperatures etc. Presently, weighing techniques are used to ensure a cylinder has enough contents for a run. This has been shown to be ineffective and incur waste; a non-invasive method would be quicker, reduce waste and save money.

Possibilities:

The trial and implementation suggested that we could develop a fixed monitoring system for this agent to non-invasively constantly monitor their cylinder contents. This also stimulated interest in developing an Ammonia Portasteele® program to allow you for calculating fire suppression agent weight.

For further information, please contact Coltraco Customer Care.

Monitor Rotating Machinery with the Portamonitor®

Monitor rotating machinery non-invasively with our hardy and robust pocket size condition indicator tool. The Portamonitor® analyses the health state of rotating machinery such as pumps in regards to the health and lubrication of the bearings.

Portamonitor® is a pocket size condition indicator took which employs powerful monitoring techniques to analyze the health state of rotating machinery especially with regards to the health and lubrication of bearings. With its magnetic sensor head, the Portamonitor® can be attached to machineries outer casing and takes readings over a short period to assess the condition of the moving parts within. An overall noise decibel (dB) level is returned along with a distress level after measurement that can be quickly analyzed and compared to other readings in order to discover if preventative maintenance is required. Hardy and robust, the Portamonitor®ultrasonic bearing indicator can take 1000 readings between charges, which is done through a standard USB lead for easy charging anywhere.

Function of Ultrasonic Bearing Indicator

The Portamonitor® aids in the identification of mechanically deteriorated bearings and bearings with inadequate/contaminated lubricant. It does this by detecting high frequency (ultrasonic) stress waves associated with friction and other faults with machinery in poor condition (impacts etc.). It can be used to monitor bearings in motors, pumps, fans, gearboxes and other rotating machinery applications. This ultrasonic bearing indicator has two outputs – a decibel (dB) reading and a Distress® level which are both measured and displayed simultaneously by the Portamonitor®.

For further information, Download PDF

Portasonic® FLOW

One of the key challenges facing businesses worldwide is balancing business continuity with maintenance costs and downtime.

Losses from fires in buildings protected with sprinklers are estimated to be 1/10 of those in unprotected buildings. For life safety, new residential blocks over 30m high must be fitted with sprinklers to meet Approved Document B standards. There are a number of issues to be considered in regard to maintenance such as corrosion, flow rate and obstructions that may adversely affect the effectiveness of a fire sprinkler system. Nozzle blockages are a serious safety risk because they have serious impact on the functionality of the system which thus increases the risk of an uncontrollable fire. The HSE have reported that no matter what material the pipework is constructed in, the impact will still occur. The NFPA highlighted in their 2013 report that damaged fire sprinkler systems due to a lack of maintenance is a major problem as their effectiveness is compromised.

Coltraco Ultrasonics Ltd, a UK based OEM of ultrasonic monitoring equipment, have launched the Portasonic®: a non-invasive ultrasonic tool that provides accurate flow measurement from outside of the sprinkler pipe, with no pressure drop and no contamination.

Portasonic® is easy to use and is proven to reduce maintenance time and costs. It can also be used for testing fire hydrants. Sprinkler heads are spaced, so that if one or more operate there is always sufficient flow of water. The flow is calculated so that there is always enough to control a fire taking into account the size and construction of the building and the goods stored in it or its use. Accurate flow data provides the chance to make energy saving measures by fine tuning the systems. The Portasonic can measure this through self-adapting proprietary signal quality tracking, allowing the device to automatically optimally adapt to the pipe material and flow profile in both directions.

Improve Onboard Safety Management System with Portalevel® MAX Marine

Gaseous extinguishing installations are difficult systems. There are few who understand them in all their complexity. Vessels extinguishing installations are its essential defence against the risk of fire at sea. The main factor that needs to be understood is that they must be able to actuate, or release their gas, in the event of a fire. Surely an extinguishing instillation should extinguish? This may seem like an obvious point, but on further investigation the difficulties with this statement arise. What if the extinguishing instillation cannot actuate fully because there isn’t enough gas within the cylinder? Gaseous extinguishing systems are highly pressurised, the risk of leaking and discharging is accepted as part of their use, shown in the regulations that demand their upkeep e.g. IMO SOLAS FSS Ch5. 2.1.1.3:

“Means shall be provided for the crew to safely check the quantity of the fire extinguishing medium in the container”

Often this is misunderstood, this code specifically states that the crew must test their extinguishing installations in between the periodic inspection, maintenance and certification. Only having the annual inspection by accredited marine servicing companies is not enough – the crew must take responsibility for its own fire protection.  However, what must be noted is that the crew are often not trained or certified to shut-down, dismantle, weigh and re-install the gaseous cylinders.

Adding to this, the details of their leakage within the regulations which is troubling. ISO 14520-1 clearly states that:

If a container shows a loss of agent quantity or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 5 %, it shall be refilled or replaced

Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of the vessel then a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire. In a recent article by the Maritime Executive, Captain Madden urged crews to routinely and properly inspect and test fixed firefighting systems; “too often they are found with… concerns about leakage”. The only way to determine a cylinder is free from leakage is to check its contents. But if the crew cannot weigh their own cylinders, because they are not certified to do so, then how is it possible?

CO2 UK Marine Equipment Directive (MED) UK/EU legislation with US Coast Guard Mutual Recognition 7.3.2.6:

Means should be provided to verify the liquid level in all the cylinders, either by weighing the cylinders or by using a suitable liquid level detector.”

Case Study: Carnival Cruises sought Coltraco Ultrasonics’ expertise

“Ships sink; fires happen”. Addressing these two main causes of vessel loss are critical, especially when all owners and managers are seeking to reduce risk, cut costs and surge on safety. Carnival Cruises chose to protect their fleet by improving fire safety. One aspect of this is that they chose Coltraco Ultrasonics to be their supplier for the Portalevel® MAX Marine which tests the CO2 fire installations onboard for leaks in content.

Coltraco won Seatrade Cruise Awards, ‘Supplier of the Year’ thanks to supplying Carnival Cruises

  • Portalevel® MAX Marine is designed primarily for the vessels’ crew to inspect large fire suppression systems of up to 600 cylinders.
  • The ease of operation in comparison to weighing, increases the ability of more regular and frequent checks, improving fire safety management onboard.
  • Coltraco’s innovative method of inspecting leaking cylinders with ultrasonics, enables identification in under 30 seconds using Portalevel® with one person, instead of the traditional 15 minutes, with two people laboriously weighing.
  • The safety of their ships is integral for the continuation of their business success and it can be for yours too.

Using ultrasonic technology - to pinpoint the liquid level of suppressant agent in the cylinders of the extinguishing system- testing is quicker and easier. Available anywhere worldwide with 7 service stations to support you for the lifetime of the equipment as part of Coltraco Customer Care (CCC); details on coltraco.com/portalevel-max-8th or in the MSG IMPA p/n: 652776

Combined with the MAX Marine, The Portasteele® Calculator is an advanced calculator application, that converts the liquid level height of C02, NOVEC™ 1230 and FM-200® liquefied gaseous extinguishant agent readings taken on an ultrasonic non-destructive liquid level indicator device into the agent weight/mass.  Furthermore, the Portasteele® can convert an expected agent weight back to the required liquid level allowing users to anticipate where the level should be. The Portasteele has widely been recognised by awards, as a finalist in the Safety at Sea Awards 2017 and the Tanker & Trade Awards 2016.

The White Heat of Fire Safety

Aluminium is used in hundreds of industries, especially in the fields of transportation, aerospace, packaging, building and construction. For this reason, the protection of the plants and development facilities is vital, to ensure competitive business continuity. The industry directly creates more than 155,000 jobs and is adding more yearly. With growing numbers of employees in the aluminium industry, their safety and well being has long been a commitment.

There is a need for comprehensive fire safety measures, specifically the fixed fire extinguishing systems in aluminium production and fabrication, in casthouses, foundries, recycling and reclamation plants. When aluminium is burned, it creates a very intense fire. Within the last four months alone there have been several serious fire incidences internationally, at aluminium plants. In Norton Canes, UK in August 2017, there was a serious fire which led to evacuation and over thirty firefighters tackling the blaze. In Wangara, Australia, just last month, there was a huge industrial fire at an aluminium factory, which spread and developed into a wild fire. The protection of lives and assets against the dangers of fire is a priority for facilities managers and plant owners.

Gaseous extinguishing systems protect urgently important infrastructure against special hazards, fundamental for the safeguarding of critical facilities. However, gaseous extinguishing systems leak because they are active and dynamic systems and this threatens the consistent and reliable safety that they should offer to the space that they protect.

In fact, in the regulation ISO 14520, which is the “gold standard” of fire suppression systems, it is clearly stated that gaseous systems leak and need to be periodically checked to counter this issue:

9.2.1.3 - “if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced.”

Given that gaseous systems are designed specifically for a protected space or room e.g. one aluminium foundry factory floor, a 5% loss of extinguishing agent may mean that the system would not fully extinguish the fire. Technology now exists to improve the reliability of fire suppression systems that affects the safety of all who occupies the building it protects in an event of fire.

To ensure that fire suppression systems are always full and that no accidental discharge or leakage has occurred, Coltraco Ultrasonics have developed an ultrasonic liquid level indicator, the Portalevel® MAX and the constant monitoring system the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX. By testing and monitoring fire extinguishing systems for leaking, facilities managers and factory owners are able to exceed standards and ensure that the gaseous extinguishing systems are able to extinguish in the event of the fire.

The easy to use Portalevel® MAX uses ultrasonic technology to pinpoint the liquid level of suppressant agent in the cylinders of the extinguishing system which makes testing is quicker and easier. Liquid level identification takes just 30 seconds, needing only one person. Combined with the Portalevel® MAX, the Portasteele® CALULATOR is an advanced calculator application, that converts the liquid level height of C02, NOVEC™ 1230 and FM-200® liquefied gaseous extinguishant agent readings taken on an ultrasonic non-destructive liquid level indicator device into the agent weight/mass. Furthermore, the Portasteele® CALCULATOR can convert an expected agent weight back to the required liquid level allowing users to anticipate where the level should be.

The Permalevel® MULTIPLEX is designed for permanent contents verification. Using smart ultrasonic technology ,the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX continuously monitors fixed fire extinguishing systems for leaking agents, 24/7, 365 days a year. With guaranteed systems operations, adaptability for purpose, 24/7 remote access to the systems status, an interruptible power supply and remote real-time monitoring, the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX offers the efficiency that is now a requirement for encompassing protection.

Coupled with the danger of leaking agents, room integrity is often an overlooked aspect of a suppression system installation. Room

integrity requires that in the event of a fire, the released fire extinguishant must meets the sufficient “Hold Time”, in order to properly extinguish fires. Buildings age and their internal use changes and because of this, leak sites develop. The likelihood of the gaseous system effectively extinguishing the fire gets lower and lower as the protected area becomes larger than the size that the extinguishing system was designed for.

Coltraco Ultrasonics have provided a smart solution for quick and easy assurance of compartmentation and leak detection. The Portascanner® 520 ultrasonic leak detector uses ultrasonic technology to not only pinpoint precise leak locations, but to determine their leak size as small as 0.06mm with a tolerance of +/-0.02mm, and is by far the most mathematically proven accurate device for this function.

With the continuing developments in smart ultrasonic technology, comprehensive fire safety measures are available to aluminium plant owners and facilities managers that are easy to use, affordable and an essential addition to any fire safety management system.

Coltraco Ultrasonics is a leading British company operating in 109 countries across multiple market sectors for over 30 years.

Benefits and Specs of Portagauge® III by Coltraco Ultrasonics

The Portagauge® 3 is our low cost ultrasonic thickness gauge. It was developed as an incredibly simple, reliable and durable unit to deal with the majority of simple Thickness Gauging requirements. It utilizes single echo technology, which allows the unit to maintain accuracy even on corroded or challenging surfaces. It is ideal for corrosion, rust or condition inspections and is a highly dependable unit.

Three Core Advantages of Portagauge® III

Check out the top three reasons you will prefer to buy this product for:

  • Quick

A few short steps allow the user to test a large range of metals within a short period of time.

  • Low cost

We understand in a competitive world market every company needs to keep overheads down. The simplicity of the Portagauge® III means high manufacturing quality and reliable results are achievable at the lowest possible cost to our customers.

  • Simple

Designed to be simple enough for any operator, including non-native English speakers, to be quickly trained so they can reliably and accurately carry out testing

Features of Coltraco’s Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge

Coltraco maintain a top class record since 1989, it has comes up with appreciable features in ultrasonic thickness gauge as well.!

  • An effective method of inspecting metals
  • Portable to carry with various features such as lightweight, compact and with long-term reliability
  • Ideal for a wide range of industrial applications such as fire cylinders, ship hulls, bulk heads, ship deck plate, pipework, pre-purchase inspections, pressure vessels, chemical equipment, boilers, oil storage tanks, and industrial pipe work amongst others
  • Simple set-up and ease of operation with digital processing
  • Ability to work on heavily corroded metal

For further information, download PDF

Portalevel® Mini Nippon Specifications

Within Coltraco Ultrasonics Portalevel® Range, 7th generation of ultrasonic level indicator is the Portalevel® Mini Nippon.

As with the Portalevel Max Nippon, the Portalevel Mini Nippon was created specially to serve the unique requirements of our Japanese Customer base. Using our well-proven 7th generation technological platform, it was specially adapted to manage the challenging Japanese manufactured cylinders. Providing users with hands-free operation for ease of use and highly reliable unit, it offers an ideal solution for inspecting CO2 Fixed Fire Suppression Systems.

Technical Specifications of Portalevel Mini Nippon

We have listed technical specs available with this liquid level indicator.

Dimensions

  • Height: 98mm
  • Width: 158mm
  • Weight: 45.5grams
  • Depth: 420mm

Verifiable Agents

CO2, H20, FM-200™, NOVEC™1230, old Halons such as 1301 and 1211, FE-13™, FE-25™, FE-36™, HFC-225 & 2271

Accuracy

+/-1.5mm (1/8 inch)

Display

  • LCD Numeric Digital Display with LED Bar Graph

Power Supply

4 x AA 1.5V Batteries (battery life 10 hours)

Classification

  • IP Rating 65
  • NATO Stock Number: 6680-99-275-5292

Sensor

TX/RX Dry Sensor

  • 14 mm diameter head
  • Contained within a magnetized sensor applicator;
  • Connected by BNC connectors to 1 m length co-ax cable

Standard Extension Rod Sensor

  • 1 meter in length
  • 28mm in diameter
  • Connected by bnC connectors to 1 m length co-ax cable.

Operating Temperature

  • -20°C to +70°C (68°F to 158°F)
  • Relative Humidity-5 % - 95 %

Warranty

  • Main Unit: 3 Years Warranty
  • Sensor: 1 Year Warranty
  • Lifetime Customer Support

Certificates

  • Classification Society Approved- RINA
  • CE
  • ISO 19011 Registered

Portalevel Mini Nippon Content

  • 1 Portalevel® Mini Nippon unit
  • 1 Wet Sensor
  • 1 28 mm Extension Rod
  • Ultrasonic Gel
  • 1 Hard Wearing Carrying Case
  • Calibration certificate

Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge by Coltraco

The Portagauge® 4 is an ultrasonic thickness gauge from Coltraco. Offering unparalleled accuracy, using triple echo technology, which allows operators to inspect the underlying metal thickness, independent of any surface coatings such as paint. For applications where true metal readings and a higher degree of accuracy are required, the PortagaugeÒ 4 is the ideal solution. With a variety of sensor options available and underwater variants, this range of portable ultrasonic thickness gauge of units can easily be adapted to a variety of different roles and requirements.

  • Lifetime Support
  • Designed for Corrosion testing
  • Three years warranty
  • Ignored paint layer
  • 50 hours battery life
  • Ultrasonic technology
  • 225MHz probe included as standard
  • Accurate to 0.1mm off the true liquid level

Specifications of Portagauge 4Ò

  • It measures the true metal thickness, excluding coating and paint thickness.
  • Ideal for most common thickness gauging applications onboard ships by marine superintendents
  • This device is applicable for bridges, pilings storage tanks, lighting columns, ship hulls, bulk heads, pipe work, steel/stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, copper, brass, zinc, quartz, glass, PVC, poleythyience, grey cast iron amongst others.
  • Automatic Measurement Verification System (AMVS) ensures only true measurements are displayed by checking a minimum of three echoes each time the ultrasound pulses through the metal Intelligent.
  • Probe Recognition (IPR), which automatically adjusts settings in the gauge at the same time as transmitting recognition data large colour.
  • LCD Display giving user information. Single crystal soft faced probe protected by a membrane.
  • Easy calibration with menu driven buttons echo strength indicator.
  • No zeroing required as all sensors use a single crystal which means that no specific alignment is required when measuring on curved or rounded surfaces.
  • User friendly with soft- molded rubber surround which is also comfortable to hold and provides extra protection.

For further information, download PDF

How can you ensure the effectiveness of your fire suppression system?

Too often in the fire industry it feels like the certification is driving the maintenance, with its insurance consequence for the asset owner and service revenue for the contractor, rather than maintenance [for safety sake] driving its consequential certification. The ‘ungoverned space’ is the area in the fire industry where either the regulations or the protecting systems of the critical infrastructure are not effectively providing consistent and reliable safety.

The regulations are not extensive enough to deal with the risks presented in gaseous systems. In 9.2.1.3 the regulations explains that the storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months as follows. : a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. b) Non-liquefied gases: for inert gas agents, pressure is an indication of agent quantity. If a container shows a loss of agent quantity or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 5 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. Essentially, it is known in regulations that the gaseous systems leak and need to be maintained. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of that room, building e.t.c, a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire.

Coltraco Ultrasonics have now developed a fixed fire suppression monitoring device, the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX ultrasonic level indicator>which is designed for permanent contents verification. The continuous monitoring system is  designed  to  ensure  that fire  suppression  systems  are  always  fully operational and that no accidental discharge has occurred, which could affect the effectiveness of the overall fire protection system in the event of a fire. The device uses the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT enables a worldwide transmission of data starting from sensor to sensor to the microprocessors and to the facilities manager or maintenance team. Instead of waiting for annual checks, it would improve safety to have these cylinders constantly monitored using ultrasonic sensors. Now, by coupling with IoT developments, this enable their status to be visible to safety managers and building owners.

The neglect of continuous monitoring - of the fundamental protection provided by the gaseous extinguishing systems - is to the peril of the lives of occupants of the premises and at the risk of crippling financial and reputational loss to the facility comprising the critical infrastructure.

How can you ensure the effectiveness of your fire suppression system?

Too often in the fire industry it feels like the certification is driving the maintenance, with its insurance consequence for the asset owner and service revenue for the contractor, rather than maintenance [for safety sake] driving its consequential certification. The ‘ungoverned space’ is the area in the fire industry where either the regulations or the protecting systems of the critical infrastructure are not effectively providing consistent and reliable safety.

The regulations are not extensive enough to deal with the risks presented in gaseous systems. In 9.2.1.3 the regulations explains that the storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months as follows. : a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. b) Non-liquefied gases: for inert gas agents, pressure is an indication of agent quantity. If a container shows a loss of agent quantity or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 5 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. Essentially, it is known in regulations that the gaseous systems leak and need to be maintained. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of that room, building e.t.c, a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire.

Coltraco Ultrasonics have now developed a fixed fire suppression monitoring device, the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX ultrasonic level indicator which is designed for permanent contents verification. The continuous monitoring system is  designed  to  ensure  that fire  suppression  systems  are  always  fully operational and that no accidental discharge has occurred, which could affect the effectiveness of the overall fire protection system in the event of a fire. The device uses the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT enables a worldwide transmission of data starting from sensor to sensor to the microprocessors and to the facilities manager or maintenance team. Instead of waiting for annual checks, it would improve safety to have these cylinders constantly monitored using ultrasonic sensors. Now, by coupling with IoT developments, this enable their status to be visible to safety managers and building owners.

The neglect of continuous monitoring - of the fundamental protection provided by the gaseous extinguishing systems - is to the peril of the lives of occupants of the premises and at the risk of crippling financial and reputational loss to the facility comprising the critical infrastructure.

Coltraco Ultrasonics Ultrasonic Watertight Integrity Tester

Since 1987, Coltraco Ultrasonics have been designing and manufacturing ultrasonic instrumentation for safety and servicing.

Our Commitment to Science

We are committed to designing and manufacturing the most mathematically accurate products and systems globally, supported by the highest standards of technical support and customer care.

Our Commitment to Safety

We are dedicated to being a Safeship® and Safesite® company, encouraging safety for safety’s sake. Our Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is part of our range of products and systems which are all designed to offer alternative methods to traditional means of testing, for example fire suppression systems, watertight integrity, flow testing and more.

Quality

Our Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is carefully hand built and undergoes rigorous quality testing to ensure it meets the high standards expected by our customers, and to provide them with long-term reliability.

After Sales Options by Coltraco

Permascanner® Dynamic

We are committed to developing continuous monitoring solutions especially for hatch cover maintenance. This will enable the hatch-covers to be tested whilst on voyage at sea to see how the vessel is responding to the dynamic sea states.

Optional Accessories

Extended Hi-Life Generator Additional standard generators can be used when testing large holds and the Extended Hi-Life Permascanner® Generators can provide up to 10 days continuous testing whilst at sea.

Interactive Training Programme

We have developed a programme to educate users (particularly non-native English speakers) quickly and simply on how to use our equipment.

Portacare®

Opt in package provides through-life maintenance support, enabling customers to cap the cost of ownership and optimise operational availability. For one annual fee, Coltraco Ultrasonics will cover all repairs and calibration costs, and the customer is guaranteed priority assistance in spares and repairs. In the event of component obsolescence, Coltraco guarantees to exchange the unit for a like-for-like model type at no additional charge.

The Portacare® package does not cover customer-induced damage but as a Portacare® customer you have priority to repairs and spares with a 25% discount. Upgrade to Portacare® TMSS PREMIER, which covers all repairs, calibration, and guarantees an advance-exchanged unit is always ready-to-ship.

This makes hatch cover tester to be flawless for checking leaks or accuracy of zero percent ingression in the cargo/ ship on voyage.

For further information, download PDF

Important of Ultrasonic Hatch Cover Testing

Leaking hatch-covers are generally accepted as a principal cause of cargo damage. A  2001 report from the Institute of Marine Engineers suggests  that “hatch cover deterioration or mal-operation could jeopardise the lives of seafarers and may contribute to the loss of vessels. 33% of large claims by value in general cargo and bulk carrier vessels are caused by leaking hatch covers. The Swedish P&I Club has noticed that there is an increased number of costly wet damage claims. These claims are most commonly seen on bulk carriers and container vessels. Wet damage claims make up 19.56% of claims in total and the poor condition of cargo hatch covers is  the greatest contributor to  this.  Even on new ships, hatch covers may only be truly weather-tight in the static "alongside" condition and cannot be guaranteed in dynamic sea state conditions. This is why hatch cover testing is so essential.

  • The Portascanner® Watertight is used onboard bulk carriers for inspecting the Watertight or Weathertight hatches for leak sites. The magnetic generator can be positioned just inside the hold, on the hatch combing, removing the need to climb down to position the generator at the bottom of the hold on the tank top.
  • It is used by the crew for regular maintenance to dramatically reduce the risk of cargo damage from water ingress, and by Marine surveyors for carrying out P&I, Classification Society or Insurance surveys.
  • The Portascanner® Watertight has two main components – a generator and receiver. The ultrasound generator emits a specific frequency of ultrasound (40,000 Hz). It is magnetic so can be attached onto a wide range of surfaces within sealed areas. The receiver then picks up the signal and converts it into a result indicating W/T integrity.

Room Integrity and Compartmentation

Room Integrity is often an overlooked aspect of a clean agent installation whereby it is required that the concentration of the clean agent meets the sufficient “Hold Time” when discharged in a room in order to properly extinguish fires. Achieving this “Hold Time” is largely dependent on the overall leakage in the room otherwise referred to as the “Equivalent Leakage Area” or ELA in the industry. The most common and widely accepted way of determining whether the enclosure achieves the sufficient “Hold Time” for the agent is by carrying a Door Fan Test (DFT). This involves pressurising and depressurising the enclosure to check if it achieves the pass rate and if the enclosure fails the test, the presence of leaks are the common contributors to this failure. The industry introduces various methods to identify these leaks which are then patched up before the DFT is being conducted again. What is an often-neglected fact is that  as a buildings age or their internal use is changed, leak sites will begin to develop. If the gas cannot be held in the confined space on discharge during a fire event, the probability of its suppression diminishes in  proportion to the size of the leak sites. Clean agents are designed to operate in limited spaces where there is a need for speed of suppression given the asset risk and where the space is occupied by people. They must be easily maintained in-situ, non-flammable and non-toxic. They must comply with ISO 14520 and NFPA 2001 standards demanding fast discharge in 10 seconds and fire extinguishing within 30 seconds, delivering confidence to the operator that it delivers “best fire safety practise”. .

Despite DFT being a reliable method to determine the “hold time”, methods to locate the leak sites themselves are inaccurate such as the use of smoke pencils or draught testing using the back of a hand. The limitations of the DFT often lie in the fact that the leakage areas are only identified during installation of the clean agent system and make no acknowledgement to the fact that additional leak sites may develop throughout the lifetime of a building.

In the event of fire, a pencil sized hole between compartments size 6m x 6m x 3m would take just 4 minutes before a person would not be able to see their hand due to smoke. If this compartment was a fire escape, there could be a severe threat to life if people cannot escape. Thus it is clear to see why the maintenance of the integrity of the compartments is essential to genuinely aid the safety to human life.  As building age or their internal use is changed leak sites develop and the threat to people becomes high

Coltraco Ultrasonics have provided a smart solution for quick and easy assurance of compartmentation and leak detection. The proprietary device known as the Portascanner® 520 ultrasonic leak detector uses ultrasonic technology to not only pinpoint precise leak locations, but to determine their leak apertures as small as 0.06mm with a tolerance of +/-0.02mm, and is by far the most mathematically proven accurate device for this function.

Continuous Monitoring of Fire Suppresion Systems

The regulations are not extensive enough to deal with the risks presented in gaseous systems. In ISO 14520 which is the “gold standard” of clean agent fire suppression system, clauses 9.2.1.3 in the regulations explains that the storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months as follows. : a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. b) Non-liquefied gases: for inert gas agents, pressure is an indication of agent quantity. If a container shows a loss of agent quantity or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 5 %, it shall be refilled or replaced. Essentially, the regulations highlight the need for periodic maintenance because it is known  that the gaseous systems leak and need to be  periodically checked. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of that enclosure, a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire.

Coltraco have developed a fixed fire suppression monitoring device, the Permalevel® MULTIPLEX which is designed for permanent contents

verification. The continuous monitoring system  utilises ultrasound technology to detect the level of contents non-invasively and transmits the level information from the wired sensors to the main unit which is then processed and reported to the building’s BMS or local control panel wirelessly through TCP/IP. This is to  ensure  that fire  suppression  systems  are  always   stored at their designed concentration and that no accidental discharge has occurred, which could affect the effectiveness of the overall fire protection system in the event of a fire. The neglect of continuous monitoring - of the fundamental protection provided by the gaseous extinguishing systems - is to the peril of the lives of occupants of the premises and at the risk of  causing financial and reputational loss to the facility comprising the critical infrastructure.

The  system developed  utilises the Internet of Things (IoT) to achieve its full potential of visualising the monitored contents worldwide. IoT enables a worldwide transmission of data starting from sensor to sensor to the microprocessors and to the facilities manager or maintenance team. Instead of waiting for annual checks,  owners and building managers can now identify any changes to their installed fire suppression system contents in real time and dispatch their servicing or maintenance team as soon as notification is received about a change happening to the installed system. This is now entirely possible through the reliance on recent IoT developments.

Hatches leak for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of poor maintenance or failure to seal them properly after loading.

 A watertight hatch cover is designed to prevent the passage of water in either direction under a head of water for which the surrounding structure is designed.  Many mariners may think hatches are robust, monolithic structures, thereby failing to appreciate the small tolerances on panel alignment and gasket compression. It is better to think of hatches as complex, finely-made structures, to be handled with care. All types of seals, experience dynamic stresses as part of their operational lifetime. For example, 4mm wear on the steel-to-steel contact is sufficient to damage rubber sealing gaskets beyond repair; 5mm sag along the cross-joint can cause a large gap between the compression bar and gasket.

The risk is worsened by the ageing nature of many bulk carrier ships in particular. There is also a degree of bending/deformation that naturally occurs in ships during travel, which puts pressure on hatch covers and can damage sealing. A recent wave of inexperienced crew members has swept across the shipping industry as a cost-saving mechanism, leaving vessel maintenance and hatch cover testing to decrease in quality. While hatch covers are often perceived as indestructible due to their large size and bulky exterior, in reality they are complex, finely made structures that need to be handled with care, a point that many mariners do not realise.

The case study of the Emma Maersk exemplifies the danger of improper servicing. A severe leakage occurred on the container ship in February 2013 when it was loaded with 14,000 containers. The leakage was caused because of a mechanical break-down of a stern thruster, creating the shaft tunnel to flood, as well as leading to severe ingress of water in the aft part. Eventually there was flooding of the main engine room. This was because of non-effective cable penetration sealings, in a sudden blast, four cable penetration sealings in the watertight bulkhead gave way to the water pressure followed by a massive ingress of seawater. Shortly after this, the other three cable penetration sealings also failed, resulting in an even larger ingress of water into the engine room. This led to approximately USD 45 million worth of damages and towage cost.

The use of UT is far more efficient than the traditional methods described in the previous section, taking less time and requiring no clean up while being in a portable, light-weight model for ease of use. Due to its convenience, UT tests can be conducted more frequently and can contribute to safety management and preventative maintenance procedures on board.

hatch covers testing

For further information, contact Coltraco Customer Service

Portalevel® MAX INDUSTRIAL Pharmaceutical Applications

The desire to live longer and healthier is a pillar of modern life. Hence the demand for healthcare data, advanced therapies and ever quicker reacting cures in the pharmaceutical industry is so high. The UK is at the forefront of the global pharma sector. Health is a crucially important social and economic asset, and in the past 60 years, innovation and technology have driven huge improvements in global health. With the advances in knowledge comes the advances in manufacturing, with pharmaceutical companies manufacturing six times the average company in the UK. The scale of demand and the free market forces the manufacturing process to become smarter. One way to increase efficiencies is to improve the safety and maintenance of plants. Coltraco Ultrasonics are proud to be assisting British companies in the production of life changing medicine.

A British pharmaceutical company - one of the largest in the world - approached Coltraco for an innovative solution to aid their manufacturing process. Coltraco received a request from one of their manufacturing plants in Ireland, which produces active ingredients that are used in drugs to treat cancer, Parkinsons and Depression. At this plant, a mix of ammonia and water is delivered to the site in Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs): reusable storage tanks which commonly carry circa 1,040 litres. This ammonia is required at the pharmaceutical plant to breakdown manufacturing by-products before they are then safely incinerated.

Previously, the company had been monitoring the ammonia contents through a physical dip stick measurement on the tank, because of a lack of confidence in the internal IBC monitoring systems. However, the fumes given off by ammonia are irritating and corrosive, and can cause burning to the nose, throat and respiratory tract which poses a severe health risk for the engineers. Opening the top valve for the physical dip stick measurement also creates risk of contamination to the ammonia. For this reason, the pharmaceutical company asked Coltraco to deliver a new way to non-invasively monitor the contents within the IBCs.

A Coltraco Engineer visited the site to conduct technology suitability trials. A survey of several of the IBCs was conducted, and it was noted that some of the containers were partially full or fully empty. From this, the Engineer determined the general range for a full and empty state across 7 of the IBCs (as shown in the table below). Trials conducted by the Engineer indicated that Coltraco has the real opportunity to provide a solution for this application. Because of the flexibility and adaptability of Coltraco Ultrasonics’ current technological range, an indication was given that there was the capability to deliver a lasting and efficient solution to this problem.

Ultrasonics was the solution chosen by Coltraco, who are experts in this technology stream, to be a non-invasive, robust, easy to use avoiding the risk of harm to the site engineers. Coltraco’s equipment is designed to improve safety and best practice, ensuring the equipment used by crew/technicians/engineers to conduct such inspections is accurate and calibrated is a necessary one. For this reason, Coltraco calibrated their Intrinsically Safe Platform to application specific purposes. This was set to – 0 = LIQUID 100 + = Air. The Intrinsically Safe Platform was designed to operate in specific environment where the presence of potentially dangerous gases can be experienced.

The solution offered unparalleled accuracy and clarity of indication: the Portalevel Max Industrial  ultrasonic liquid level indicator. It provides fast operation with 30 second servicing, is accurate up to the true liquid level of 1.5mm and is Zone 1 ATEX Certified and UL Approved.  The unit requires no input from the on-site engineer apart from the simple application of the sensor to the vessel wall. This protects the operator from the health and safety problems that were presented through manual monitoring, as well as increasing efficiency.

The delivery of a solution to the pharmaceutical company allowed the operators of the plant to safely, quickly and accurately monitor the contents within the ammonia vessels. These vessels are integral to the operation of the plant as a whole. This unit is also cost efficient, reducing the amount of partially empty ammonia cylinders returned before emptying, increasing efficiency, and saving the organisation money over time. The Portalevel Intrinsically Safe builds on Coltraco Ultrasonics’ 30 years’ experience in designing, manufacturing and supporting ultrasonic liquid level indicating (ULLI) equipment, operating in 109 Countries and numerous market sectors and environments. The development program was born out of the desire to further improve Coltraco’s existing 9 Portalevel® liquid level indicator designs and taking on board feedback and opinions of their customers.

How to improve the reliability of fire suppression systems

Too often in the fire industry it feels like the certification is driving the maintenance, with its insurance consequence for the asset owner and service revenue for the contractor, rather than maintenance [for safety sake] driving its consequential certification. The ‘ungoverned space’ is the area in the fire industry where either the regulations or the protecting systems of the critical infrastructure are not effectively providing consistent and reliable safety.

People expect, and rightfully so, that in the event of a fire the extinguishing systems would be in full working order to do just that – extinguish. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of that room, building e.t.c, then a leak sites in the room could meant that the comparted area couldn’t withhold the fire. The likelihood of the gaseous system effectively extinguishing the fire gets lower and lower as the protected area becomes larger than the size that the extinguishing system was designed for. This is not a game of chance. The lives of people depend upon it.

Although many in the fire industry work towards meeting better standards, in their experience, Coltraco have numerous concerning anecdotes of non-compliance: systems portrayed and installed by contractors as NOVEC 1230 but filled with sand or water… room integrity testing with questionable results and with the room integrity remaining un-monitored after testing.

Technology now exists to improve the reliability of fire suppression systems that affects the safety of all who inhabits the building it protects in an event of fire. Regulations which often govern the quality of fire safety systems installed should hence reflect the latest advancement of technological innovations in its industry in order to uphold fire safety to its highest standards.

Portalevel® MAX Intrinsically Safe

“Safety is becoming recognised as an area in mining which must no longer be overlooked. The industry is beginning to opt for more regular inspections and even continuous 365 day monitoring of fire safety suppression installations. The ability to monitor autonomously, with remote diagnostics and remote relay which can provide an alarm to the Fire Safety Officer or Facilities Manager, provides confidence in the integrity of the system. Minimising mining fire risk, in the long run, can improve business continuity, save downtime and also the potential costly pay-out which fire damage entails.” – Coltraco Ultrasonics

Coltraco Ultrasonics are excited to announce that their Portalevel® Intrinsically Safe which will be coming soon. The ATEX Zone 1 approved liquid level indicator is specifically designed to operate in environments where the presence of potentially dangerous gases can be experienced. In mining the maintenance of gaseous extinguishing is integral, as fire can be devastating. The Intrinsically Safe unit can services a cylinder in under 30 seconds non-intrusively, with accuracy to 15.mm off the true liquid level. Find out more at www.coltraco.com.

Portascanner® WATERTIGH

The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is made up of a generator and receiver. The receiver is capable of receiving the signals and conversion is made which results into the indication of W/T integrity. Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is multiple cable transit areas testing device.

What is in the Portascanner® Watertight package?

It consists of extension rod connector, Gain 1,2,3, Volume Up and Down Buttons, LCD Visual Display, Mode, On and Off Buttons and Headphone Connection. It is tuned for detecting the particular frequency of ultrasound ways.

  • It possesses audio and visual outputs.
  • Sensor rod is attached to it, a user can scan the seal at close range.
  • LCD screen shows the visual output of detected signal.
  • The visual data received can be converted to decibels (dB) reading which is perfect to be tested to certification society standards.
  • Bar graph representation is also available.
  • With standard jack of 3.5 mm, a headphone is attached to the receiver to receive audio signals.

The operation of  the generator of the cable transit watertight areas testing is mentioned below:

  • It is placed on one side of the sealed compartment and turned on.
  • Sensor rod is utilized to scan the seal by user, standing on the other side of the compartment
  • Increased signal strength will be shown apparently for leak sites.
  • The numerical display and volume of audible signals can easily show the strength of the signals received by the receiver.

Features of Ultrasonic Watertight Integrity and Hatch Cover Testing System

Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is basically multiple cable transit areas testing device,which is highly efficient in performing the job.

Function of Portascanner® WATERTIGHT

By placing the Ultrasonic Generator inside the compartment can help you test it easily. Via receiver, the operator points the sensor into every direction along the seal under inspection. The defected areas can be easily identified in regards to the connected headset and digital display and immediate action can be taken in regards to solve the issue.

  • Gives off better and accurate results in comparison to host testing which is possible after loading in case requirement is there.
  • Online Training Videos and DVD are available with equipment for effective, easy and quick usage of the product.
  • Capable for identifying leak sites which are small that 1mm diameter along with full Classification Society Approval, this device is perfect and flawless.
  • Consider best for scuttles, hatch cover testing, bulkheads, watertight doors, cable transits and any watertight compartments.
  • Magnets fit to ultrasonic generator due to which the operators do not have to climb up and down the ladders in order to place generator on the tank top.
  • Most importantly, it is quite faster and accurate than chalk testing and hose testing.
  • It is portable and really lightweight which permits the equipment to be transported, operated and carried with comfortable.
  • In respect to door seals, it is difficult to identify with chalk tests so accurately and confidently as Portascanner™ II is capable of.

Why the industry is failing to comply with ISO 14520

Would you enter a building if you were told as you stepped in that in the event of a fire there was a chance that the extinguishing system wouldn’t put it out because the fire couldn’t be contained?

No! People expect, and rightfully so, that in the event of a fire the extinguishing systems would be in full working order to do just that – extinguish. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of that room,

building e.t.c, then a leak sites in the room could meant that the comparted area couldn’t withhold the fire.

The likelihood of the gaseous system effectively extinguishing the fire gets lower and lower as the protected area becomes larger than the size that the extinguishing system was designed for. This is not a game of chance. The lives of people depend upon it. Enough is enough. The technology exists right now to support Door Fan Testing in providing a holistic and thorough integrity test of critical infrastructure.

Key Facts

  • Compartmentation = fire stopping e.g. walls and floors
  • Every 7 seconds, a fire breaks out, worldwide
  • 700 fatalities caused by fire in the UK
  • £7bn is the cost of fire to the UK economy according to GovUK: every day £3.4m in costs by business disruption caused by fire - £1.3bn p.a.
  • 44% of all insurance claims are caused by fire
  • SOURCE: Aviva Insurance, 2012

Regulatory Requirements un-Ravelled

APPROVED DOCUMENT B (ADB)

The regulations demand that compartmentation is upheld for the safety of the individuals, who entrust their lives into its integrity. Approved document B, Fire Safety, Volume 2, Buildings other than dwelling house states that: 8.0 Every compartment wall should form a complete barrier to fire between the compartments they separate. 8.35 – any stairway or other shaft passing directly from one compartment to another should be enclosed in a protected shaft so as to delay or prevent the spread of fire between compartments. However, despite regulations best effort to promote the implementation of compartmentation and room integrity, the last review of the Building Regulations Approved Document B was made in 2006 (12 years ago) and its next review was not due to be completed until 2022 (which would then be a gap of 17 years), meaning that the attention that is deserved is often disregarded.

  • ADB B3-4 “the building shall be designed… so that the unseen spread of fire and smoke… is inhibited”
  • Appendix B Breaching fire separation “to ensure effective protection again fire, walls and floors providing fire separation must form a complete barrier, with an equivalent level of fire resistance provided to any openings such as doors, ventilation ducts, pipe passages or refuge chutes.”

ISO14520-1:2015(E)

We will lead with some extracts from the regulations which is why this paper argues that the industry is sometimes minimally compliant or even non-compliant due to a lack of understanding of fire systems and their connection to compartmentation. This paper calls for a more holistic approach to fire safety. The author suggests the need for a resident mathematician to assist the industry.

  • 9.2.1.3 The storage container contents shall be checked at least every six months. a) Liquefied gases: for halocarbon agents, if a container shows a loss of agent in quantity of more than 5 % or a loss of pressure (adjusted for temperature) of more than 10 %, it shall be refilled or replaced.
  • 9.2.4.1 At least every 12 months it shall be determined whether boundary penetration or other changes to the protected enclosure have occurred that could affect leakage and extinguishant performance. If this cannot be visually determined, it shall be positively established by repeating the test for enclosure integrity in accordance with Annex E.
  • 9.2.4.2 Where the integrity test reveals increased leakage that would result in an inability to retain the extinguishant for the required period, remedial action shall be carried out.
  • A.3.2 Engineered systems: need information and calculations on the amount of extinguishant;
  • Annex F - b) Every 6 months: Perform the following checks and inspections: 5) for liquefied gases, check weigh or use a liquid level indicator to verify correct content of containers; replace or refill any showing a loss of more than 5 %;
  • Annex F 6.2.4.2 Means shall be provided to indicate that each container is correctly charged.

The assumptions in these are that gaseous extinguishing/suppression systems do leak. The regulations that underpin the pursuit of them explore their leak identification every 6 months. Gaseous extinguishing/suppression systems however are installed to protect special hazards in critical infrastructure as their key objective. If the hazard is special and the infrastructure critical then this is the case for the constant monitoring of the suppression systems that aim to deliver the protection of them.

Meeting minimum fire standards is not enough

As the CEO of Coltraco Ultrasonics I am dedicated to ensuring our technology solves industry problems. Not only to become a successful business in terms of profitability but in terms of sustainability and genuinely offering service to the industry in order to reduce risk, improve safety and hopefully have a small part in saving lives. We have provided a smart solution to quick and easy assurance of compartmentation using ultrasound to detect signal leaking through any apertures within the barriers.

The technology exists right now to solve this problem.  

In 2017 with the continuing developments in technology, and following the ongoing inquiry into the Grenfell tragedy, there is an expectation that safety should be all encompassing. We cannot let this expectation continue to be a fantasy.

Request a Quotation

Online Submission

Click Here

Call: +44 207 629 8475

Our customer support line is open during UK
business hours
Mon-Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm GMT

Email: sales@coltraco.co.uk

Enquire via email and a dedicated
member of the sales team will deal
with your request personally.

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.
Ok