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Support room Integrity Testing in providing a holistic and thorough integrity test of sealed rooms with a Portascanner® 520.

How can the Portascanner® 520 assist with Room Integrity/Door Fan Testing?

1. Pre Fan Door Test
The handheld Portascanner® 520 will assist in:
EARLY ANTICIPATION OF ISSUES: Portascanner® 520 enables fire contractors to indicate location and extent of leak sites in a sealing room prior to a scheduled Door Fan Test
ADD TO RANGE OF SERVICES: Ultrasonic technology can add great value to the Door Fan Test Procedure by finding and patching up leaks before the scheduled test day.
MORE ACCURATE SERVICE QUOTES: Benefiting fire contractors and customers, ultrasound is fast and non-invasive, a quick ultrasonic leak survey can be conducted on site to locate early leak sites.

2. During Integrity Test Fire Suppression
EXACT  LEAK LOCATION: Use of ultrasonic technology can pinpoint the exact location while Door Fan Testing is being carried out.

3. Post Compartmentation Survey
REGULATION COMPLIANCE: Once the room has passed Door Fan Testing and is able to achieve the retention time required, periodic room integrity tests can be conducted using an Portascanner® 520 to comply with enclosure integrity maintenance.
NO DISRUPTION: As ultrasound technology is non-invasive, the occupants in the room can remain continuing their daily tasks without affecting the leak detection test results

What is compartmentation and compartmentation survey?

Very briefly, it is related to fire stopping in walls, floors and fire doors, to reduce the spread of fire. Compartmentation often relates to room integrity testing to ensure that a room is sufficiently sealed, to hold in the gaseous fire suppression agent once its been actuated. Extinguishing systems are typically made up of CO2, FM200™ or Novec™1230, and non-liquefied systems are typically Inergen™ or Nitrogen. Leak sites in the room could mean that the compartment may not withhold the fire or gaseous extinguishing agent, which has been specifically designed for the space (called design concentration).

Coltraco Ultrasonics have provided a smart solution which provides quick and easy assurance of compartmentation using ultrasound to detect signal leaking through any apertures within the barriers. Used in part of a room integrity test kit, aiding door fan test equipment, the Portascanner® 520, provides interpretation of the fire resistance of room sealing, labelling them either airtight or giving an indication of the overall leakage of the room. The advantages of being able to accurately detect the exact leak locations through closure integrity testing is self-evident when considered alongside the resistance to collapse and transfer of excessive heat. In a case where there is too much leakage in a room, the Portascanner® 520 as part of room integrity test equipment is an unrivalled technology for the rapid and accurate identification of these sites so that they can be sealed. It is lightweight, fast and easy to use, allowing leak site detection to increase its operational efficiency and speed to a degree that has never been seen thus far in the Fire Safety Industry.

What are the room integrity testing standards?

Building Regulations
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
ISO14520-1:2015(E) 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

What is the benefit of compartmentation testing?

Emphasised by the BRE is the importance of compartmentation, because if it is not upheld, lives are put at stake, “The fire protection of concealed spaces is of prime importance because any deficiencies in installation and materials are not readily apparent and may quickly be covered over. Any inadequacies in such fire protection cannot be observed by the building users and, unlike other engineering provisions within the building, will not be apparent by its impact on everyday life. Any inadequacies in the fire protection of concealed spaces will only become apparent during the very time that their effectiveness is required – during a fire.” This can also be very important for protecting escape routes.

Integrity Test Examples

Oxygen Reduction System: To ensure an Oxygen Reduction System the system works safely and efficiently is of utmost important for two reasons: (1) A properly sealed room will contain the Nitrogen for a longer period of time, therefore putting less work on the air compressor in order to save energy. (2) If Nitrogen starts to leak from the Server Room, there are safety concerns over where this Nitrogen would leak to as it has the potential to harm occupants in other rooms if the Nitrogen leaks into their room and the oxygen levels were unmonitored.

Testing Enclosures: The Server Room had an area of about 91 metres square. Several areas were tested with the Portascanner® 520 where leakage was probable, and the readings were noted on the drawings. These were the doors, vents, cable penetrations and sections of the wall where gaps were visible.

Results: The Portascanner® 520 used in the room integrity test, identified the main source of leaks for the room, the doors, where full readings were clearly detected. Multiple air vents in the room were also improperly sealed and some leakage was found into the external room. Cable penetrations leading to the area outside the Server Room were also found to be leaking.

Conclusions: Once the required maintenance was conducted, the room retains its integrity, thus comply and exceed current ISO 14520 regulations.

The world-leading ABS & RINA Approved Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is an ultrasonic hatch cover tester for testing watertight and weather-tight seals. Test the integrity of sealed compartments; watertight doors, hatch covers and multiple cable transits (MCTs).

Owners, managers, marine surveyors, third party servicing companies and other mariners have pledged their support for the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT water ingress testing equipment for years.

For three simple reasons: “it is faster, better, cheaper” than any competitor. The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is the ideal unit to ultrasound test hatch coamings. But don’t take Coltraco Ultrasonics’ word for it, here are 2 customer testimonials:

“We did some transit inspection work on one of our customers vessel using the Portascanner and we are very pleased with your instrument. We are looking forward extending our service offer using it.” – Techsol Marine, Canada

“Our PORTASCANNER WATERTIGHT unit performed well during the entire period of use, proved rugged and we feel sure that if it had not required returning for mandatory calibration and certification, the unit would have performed well for many more years to come.” Captain J.F. Holmes, Botrans

The Portascanner® WATERTIGHT is:

  • Faster: designed for ease of use from crew up to chief engineer – no need for extensive and expensive training courses, simply read the operating instructions in the kit and away you go for a water ingress test
  • Better: most mathematically accurate to 0.06 (+/-0.02mm) to identify leak integrity quickly and easily allowing prompt maintenance if required
  • Cheaper: never beaten on price guarantee from Coltraco Ultrasonics who are used to serving the world’s leading fleets for 30 years

The Portascanner® generator is the most efficient of all on the market. Unlike the old “Hedgehog Generator”, the Portascanner® generator has excellent battery life, is light and small, can be magnetically mounted, is highly sensitive and uses smart pinpoint technology to direct ultrasound to the seals during testing.

Use the Portascanner® WATERTIGHT hatch cover tester to find hatch leaks and ensure watertight integrity.

Why is watertight integrity an issue?

In 1989 IACS introduced its guidance to owners concerning the care and survey of hatch covers as follows:

“Loss of weather-tight integrity continues to be a constant factor leading to cargo damage which could result in a threat to the safety of the crew, the ship and its cargoes, despite advances in modern shipbuilding technology, construction, navigation and means of preventing ingress of water into hold spaces.”

The importance of continually maintaining seal integrity must take a more prominent position in ship maintenance scheduling as demanded by regulations:

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.”

IACS: Firms engaged in tightness testing of closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc. with ultrasonic equipment

2.1 Extent of engagement – Ultrasonic tightness testing of closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc.

2.2 Operators – The operator is to have the following qualifications:

  • Have knowledge of different closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc. including their design, functioning and sealing features
  • Have experience with the operation and maintenance of different closing appliances such as hatches, doors etc.
  • Be able to document theoretical and practical training onboard in using the ultrasonic equipment specified

2.3 It shall be demonstrated to the Surveyor that the ultrasonic equipment is fit for the purpose of detecting leakages in closing appliances.

2.4 Procedures – The supplier shall have documented work procedures which shall include the manual for the ultrasonic equipment specified, its adjustment, its maintenance, its operation and approval criteria

What concerns have been voiced about water ingress?

Water ingress on board ships can be devastating, to crew, vessel and cargo.

The Swedish P&I Club have stressed that proper weathertightness is a key factor in keeping cargo dry and crew safe. For ingress protection, watertight hatch doors and hatch covers’ sealing system needs to be in a good condition.

The North of England P&I Club state that defective hatch cover maintenance is an “expensive problem with a low-cost solution”.
Hatch leaks account for 4.56% of the total payouts (of claims between 5,000 and 3,000,000(USD))

What is Ultrasonic Hatch Cover Testing and Hatch Cover Procedure?

The Swedish P & I club recommend using Hatch Cover Sonic Testing for protection against ingress. As stated in their 2018 report “A much more effective method is to use an ultrasonic device, which is designed for this purpose and can pinpoint the area which is leaking, and if the compression of the gasket is sufficient. The advantages of using this type of equipment are evident, since ultrasonic tests can be carried out during any stage of the loading without risking cargo damage. The test can also be completed in sub-zero temperatures.”

Testing hatch coamings with ultrasound is a dramatically more sensitive, accurate and reliable method for testing marine hatch covers, bulkheads and doors for watertight integrity on all vessels than the chalk test or a hose test. A multi-directional ultrasound emitter is placed in a hold. The open hatch being tested is then sealed and the receiver switched on ready to receive any leakage of ultrasound via a set of headphones. An increased reading of ultrasound signal signifies an issue with the integrity of the door/hatch. Further, and closer inspection will allow identification of any specific leakage sight along with the severity. This test will take approximately 10 minutes and requires only one operator.