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.

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


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.”


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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.

Fire Incidences at Sea

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. :

“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

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.

How can a Ultrasonic Level Indicator assist the food industry?

Global population rise is placing more pressure on our food supplies. In the UK alone the expected rise in population to 70 million is leading the food manufacturing industry to grow: 140,000 new recruits expected by 2024. The need for efficiency in the supply of the food manufacturing industry is integralto meet the ever increasing market demands. With food & drink contributing to £28.2 billion to the UK’s economy the biggest manufacturing sector in the country, the demand for high quality products has resulted in an industry demand for high quality production and management systems. One such British company to answer this call is Coltraco Ultrasonics who are dedicated to designing and producing scientifically and mathematically accurate, ergonomic, innovative,  technology which is designed to improve maintenance and safety management systems.

A food processing factory based in the South of the UK approached Coltraco after having difficulty with their containment of mayonnaise. The company produce coleslaw, packaged salads and pastas for the likes of McDonalds, Tesco, Morrisons and Lidl, producing over 130,000 pots of coleslaw a day. The company faced difficulty in monitoring the contents of its mayonnaise and Coltraco offered a solution to this problem. The mayonnaise used for the coleslaw is contained in 2.2. metres high, 5mm stainless steel cylinders. However, the monitoring method that the factory used to check usage and remaining contents was through employees manually using ladders to peer into the cylinder and make an assumption of how much was left. Three issues come with this method: potential contamination of the mayonnaise; inaccurate measuring methods;  health and safety risk to the operator.

The Food Standards Agency and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) supplies strict stringent regulations about contamination. There could be a high risk if there was contamination, for example from allergens and pathogens. This is a principle as required by EU Food Hygiene Rules. It was this issue that the food production company wanted to mitigate, and wanted to apply our technology to help adhere to their HACCP to mitigate any food safety problems.

After a site visit was conducted by Coltraco Engineers, a liquid level indicator was supplied to the company. This technology, the Portalevel® MAX Industrial, efficiently, quickly and accurately gauges the liquid level of the mayonnaise within the vessel using non intrusive, ultrasonic technology which emits no radiation. The implementation of the Portalevel® MAX Industrial, allows the plant to run more efficiently and reduces risks by providing staff with a means of accurately and non-invasively monitoring the contents within the mayonnaise tank negating the need for physical inspection using ladders.

The Portalevel® MAX Industrial 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.

Furthering to the needs of the food processing factory, the trial and implementation of this unit suggested that Coltraco could develop a fixed monitoring system for this vessel type and others like it, in order to non-invasively, continuously monitor the contents of the condiments within the tank. This builds upon the technology that Coltraco has designed for fire safety. The 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. Using their innovation and ability to adapt technology to customer required situations, Coltraco are developing the Permalevel® Multiplex to continuously monitor the contents within the tanks, so that the food processing company can be alerted when the contents drops below a set level, thus improving efficiency, with simple and easy use for their team.

Coltraco offers the ultrasonic liquid level Indicator in reasonable prices without any compromise on quality.

How The Portalevel® Max Marine can Protect Your Passenger Vessel

Carnival Cruises chose Coltraco to supply the Fleet with the UL-Listed and ABS approved Portalevel® MAX Marine. The Carnival Fleet is made up of 25 vessels, varying in size from 70,000-120,000 dwt, accounting for 21% of the worldwide cruise market. The safety of their ships is integral for the continuation of their business success. Catastrophic risks to human life, vessel, reputation and revenue all result from a fire event onboard. With 22 million people travelling on cruises in 2014 and the demand for cruising increasing by 68% since 2007, it’s essential that the safety of the fleet allows public demands to be met.

Incidences of fire on ships have been increasingly reported. In 2016, a couple who were travelling on the Estrella Amazonica tragically lost their lives after an uncontrolled fire broke out due to a lack of appropriate equipment and a failure to follow safety protocols. It’s this failure to ensure the safety of passengers which the Carnival Cruise line chose to mitigate by selecting Coltraco’s Portalevel® MAX.

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. The systems are pressurised approximately 24-29 bars, higher than a standard cup of water which is 1bar. It’s accepted that these systems are not passive but dynamic, thus requiring monitoring. The traditional method requires turning the system off, dismantling and manually weighing each cylinder on industrial scales. Routine maintenance is liable to be overlooked because the crew is unqualified to test or insufficient attention is given by the owner of the system. It’s neglected to the peril of the lives of occupants of the ship and at the risk of crippling financial and reputational loss to the cruiseliner.

Innovative methods 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 labouriously weighing. Using ultrasonic technology - to pinpoint the liquid level of suppressant agent in the cylinders of the extinguishing system- testing is quicker and easier.

The MAX Marine is designed primarily for maritime applications where either third party service companies or the vessels’ crew themselves 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. Portalevel® MAX enables its users to go above and beyond minimal regulations compliance, thus becoming industry leaders

Advantages with Coltraco Ultrasonics Limited

Coltraco Ultrasonics has introduced the Portapipe®, which is a portable ultrasonic piperwork integrity test indicator. Coltraco Ultrasonics was founded in 1987. Coltraco Ultrasonic specialise in producing one of the outclass range ofultrasonic flow meter, ultrasonic liquid indicator, ultrasonic bearing indicator, ultrasonic gaseous constant monitoring system, ultrasonic thickness gauge, hatch cover tester, ultrasonic pipework integrity test indicator and semi fixed watertight integrity test system.

Three Advantages with Coltraco Portapipe®

World Class Accuracy

The most mathematically accurate unit of its type locating a 1mm leak site via visual and audible readings and identifying its extent with a definitive numerical result. This device can test for faults and leaks in 10-50mm diameter pipe, 1mm up to 12m range and 1mm+ at longer range.

Quick and Convenient

It is a simple solution with few limitations and easy to learn how to operate. One person if required handles the testing done through this ultrasonic pipework integrity test indicator.Giving a thorough corrosion evaluation over a short period of time.

Comprehensive Analysis

Evaluation of multiple different areas along the pipe is possible with ultrasonic inspection. This increases the reliability in the pipeline analysis, thereby giving a better picture of problems areas in the system.

Technical Specifications of Portalevel® MAX INDUSTRIAL

PortalevelR MAX INDUSTRIAL non-invasively verifies the contents of cylinders and tanks holding liquids, suitable for a range of industrial purposes e.g. food processing, aerospace manufacturing, pharmaceutical and transformers. It is the 8th generation and qualifies to be a portable ultrasonic liquid level indicator.

Technical Specifications of Ultrasonic Level Indicator


  • Height: 160 mm (6.29 inches)
  • Width: 82 mm (3.22 inches)
  • Depth: 30 mm (1.18 inches)
  • Weight: 300 grams (10.58 ounces)

Verifiable Agents

  • Mayonnaise
  • Ammonia
  • Transformer oil


  • 2 x sensors – one dry sensor with standard
  • One dry sensor for standard applications
  • One special applications sensor with higher efficiency for more power output


Within 2% of true value (dependent on application)


LCD backlit display

Power Supply

1 x PP3 9V battery (battery life 10 hours)


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

Operating Temperature

-20°C to +70°C (68°F to 158°F)

Package Contents of Portalevel Max Industrial

  • Main unit
  • 2 x Multi Application Sensor
  • Ultrasonic gel
  • Carrying case
  • Sensor set cables
  • Calibration certificate
  • Instruction manual
  • Portatherm

Supporting the Developing Renewables Sector

Coltraco Ultrasonics are proud to see the developments in the wind energy and to be a part of the UK’s renewable energy sector via work supporting leading wind turbine operator to improve their fire safety through an ultrasonic liquid level indicator, the Portalevel® MAX. Coltraco Ultrasonics provide smart Safesite® 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.

In an interview with Shipping Watch, a major oil and gas company Statoil announced today that they plan to invest around NOK 100 billion in renewable energy from now until 2030. The first step will be the launch of the world's largest offshore wind farm.

Back in July 2014, Statoil decided to invest NOK 5.5 billion in the British offshore wind farm Dudgeon. The reason for the journey over the North Sea, where the interview takes place, is the inauguration of this now-finished wind farm. Since 2014, Statoil has declared its commitment to floating offshore wind, particularly the Hywind concept. As recently as this October, USD 25 million was invested in a Brazilian solar project.

Offshore wind has gone through several phases. In recent years, the technology has been undergoing a new phase, in which most parties have faith in it due to the huge price plunge of more than 50 percent. Beyond just efficiency gains, this has led to declining margins. But Statoil still expects to make sizeable profits when the farms are complete. "The risk in offshore wind is less than for oil and gas and the costs have been under significant pressure. We base our work on making actual returns on renewable energy of 9-11 percent," Sætre tells Verdens Gang.

See full article here:

Are you protected from fire?

The tragic effects of the fire at Grenfell Tower are still resonating in society. The shocking event prompted acknowledgment that more has to be done to improve fire safety.

It is quite clear that minimal compliance with regulations is just not enough, and that the need to go above and beyond the standards exists for safety critical environments and high value assets. This haphazard approach is dangerous and often unknown to the users of the infrastructure.

There is an assumption that protecting buildings by installing fire extinguishing systems and covering the building with insurance is enough to provide full safety of a building. But this neglect and minimal understanding of the need for maintaining the fire extinguishing systems leads to only one thing, a gap in the protection of people, assets + facilities.

Simply put, 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. Coltraco repeatedly push for this life-threatening issue to be dealt with, with specific regard to loss of contents in fixed fire extinguishing systems and need for improvements to room integrity testing.

To go above and beyond the regulations, building owners and managers must test and monitor their fire extinguishing systems to check for leakage. By using the ultrasonic liquid level indicator, the Portalevel ® MAX and/or the constant monitoring system the Permalevel® Multiplex, building owners and managers are able to exceed the standards and ensure that the gaseous extinguishing systems are able to extinguish in the event of the fire.

In a time when cost drives safety decisions, using either or both of these systems allows a company to reduce their insurance premiums without compromising the safety of lives, assets and infrastructure. The recommendation of using Portalevel® Max and Permalevel® Multiplex from insurers benefits them as to guaranteeing long-term top customers who aspire for improved safety.

As with many leaders in the fire industry, Coltraco are pushing for rapid action to be taken in protecting peoples lives. There is no room for the industry to fall back into old habits. The fire industry must lead the way to a safer future. Constant monitoring of Fair extinguishing systems and room integrity must be implemented, people’s lives depend upon it.

How can the Portasteele® CALCULATOR assist offshore safety management systems?

The Portasteele® Calculator is the first system of its kind.  By converting the liquid level height of CO2, NOVEC™ 1230, FM-200™and other liquefied gaseous readings taken with a UL-listed Portalevel® MAX, the Portasteele® Calculator is able to calculate the exact mass/weight of the agent inside any cylinder and caters mathematically for temperature variations. The Portalevel® MAX is an 8th generation ultrasonic liquid level indicator identifies the contents of CO2, FM-200®, NOVEC™1230, FE-13, FE-25 & FE-36, Halon and a variety of similar liquid gaseous fire suppression agents, as well as most oil and water based substances, amongst other special applications. Traditional contents checking involves manual dismantling and manually weighing the cylinders which is time-consuming (approx. 15 mins per cylinder), poses risks to breaking the manifold and connecting components and possible injury or even fatality to the personnel involved. Portasteele™ Calculator removes the risks and enables contents verification in approx. 60 seconds. Decreasing the time to regularly and effectively test cylinder agent weights, when paired with a liquid level indicator, Portasteele® reduces the inconvenience and costly man hours of testing.

The Portasteele® offers unparalleled efficiency and ease of maintenance. The Portalevel have been successfully deployed in both onshore and offshore applications including most of the North Sea’s 160 platforms.  Due to the flexible nature of software applications, the device can be even updated with improved editions in the future. The Portasteele™ Calculator provides an unparalleled solution to efficiently servicing gaseous extinguishing systems. The Portasteele™ Calculator is based on a stand-alone 7” tablet computer which makes calculations in real time, allowing the software to be used immediately in the field. There is more time to perform more frequent checks without the dangers of weighing, such as accidental explosive discharge, strain related injuries to crew and the great fire danger to an oil rig during testing when the system is disarmed. In the long term, the acquisition of Portasteele™ into offshore platforms, oil tankers etc. will improve overall safety and reduce cost associated with the maintenance of fire suppression systems. When these fire systems are properly maintained, the cost associated with fire damage is likely to reduce dramatically as we know fire damages on these hazardous environments are generally catastrophic to the asset, lives, environment and company reputation.

Portascanner® Watertight Integrity Tester

The Portascanner® Watertight is a watertight integrity tester, hatch cover maintenance and watertight integrity testing devices, multiple cable transit areas testing device, cargo-safe hatch cover tester. Coltraco have bene in the maritime sector for over 30 years; with equipment onboard 17% of the worlds fleet. Established by a former Royal Naval Submariner who went into commercial shipping and invented the Portalevel® for fire safety. Coltraco Ultrasonics’ mission is to deliver the Safeship®: combatting the 2 main causes of vessel loss which are 1. Sinking and 2. fire. Coltraco Ultrasonics do so through inspection products and continuous monitoring systems in watertight integrity and compartmentation testing and fire suppression systems integrity testing.

The use of Ultrasound 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, Ultrasound tests can be conducted more frequently and can contribute to safety management and preventative maintenance procedures on board. Ultrasound can provide the sensitivity to detect the smallest leaks. The Portascanner® Watertight is a industry leading integrity tester.

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