Coltraco Ultrasonics was delighted to hold its first ever complex webinar on conquering Airtight Regulations with the ‘Worlds First’ Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 on Tuesday the 22nd of February 2022.
Mrs Chloe Barker, Head of Global Distribution & Chairman’s Office, Mr Daniel Dobrowolski, Senior Physicist, Research, Design, Development, & Ergonomics, and Major Bernard Hornung, Head of Operations & Built Environment, addressed around 100 participants on the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520, a unique British technology globally, and its place in enhancing building performance across the Built Environment.
WATCH the webinar here:Understanding Ultrasonic Leak Quantification
Designed during the COVID19 pandemic after Coltraco was awarded Innovate UK COVID19 technology funding to develop an instrument to monitor infection contagion from negatively-pressurised NHS ICU Wards – the Portascanner® COVID-19 – the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 builds on Coltraco Ultrasonics’ long history in watertight integrity monitoring for the Royal Navy. During this, we learned that it was one thing to be able to identify large and microscopic leak sites, but that it was quite another to precisely locate and quantify the leak site through the structure concerned to determine the water flow rate.
The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 takes Coltraco’s most recent innovations in ultrasonic technology, hardware and software, including a new ultrasound generator, to identify leak sites with a microscopic level of accuracy, and applies computer science to measure and quantify the leak-site by the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520’s algorithm, independently verified by the UK’s foremost measurement and standards laboratory, the National Physical Laboratory. This algorithm also generates a value for the air leakage rate through that leak and the building’s overall air permeability.
The ability to accurately and precisely record and analyse these 4 factors in a results-based manner, using the Portascanner AIRTIGHT 520’s 8 megapixel camera and touchscreen to mark leak sites, and automatically generated tables or excel spreadsheets to quantify the significance of these air leaks, makes the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520, a British lightweight, hand-held, and portable analytical instrument, a unique technology globally.
The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 has been invented to complement existing airtightness testing, typically achieved using a Door Fan Test or a Pulse Test, that are essential for measuring the integrity of the Built Environment, to improve the efficiency and quality of airtightness and room maintenance.
The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 allows the ultrasonic quantification of leak sites in a depressurised environment, which has never been achieved before. Door Fan Testing or Pulse Testing can then be conducted at an appropriate moment, once detected air leakage points have been identified and repaired.
Uniquely, during these tests, the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 allows the location and measurement of air leaks, facilitating remedial action that is precise, immediate, and often low-cost. This increases your chances of passing a Door Fan Test or Pulse Test, and gives contractors the ability to generate more competitive quotes for pressurisation air leak test related services as more information can be known about the enclosure before the test.
Likewise, the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 can assist in failure diagnosis in the event of Door Fan and Pulse Test failures, facilitating rapid, precise remedial action, and can also assist in the periodic maintenance of an enclosure to ensure that room integrity remains unchanged by weather and environmental conditions over time.Case Studies for The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520
The Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 has been tested in conjunction with industry-leading experts at The Airtightness Testing and Measurement Association’s (ATTMA’s) Building Performance Hub. Testing followed a Pulse and Door Fan Blower air leak test, both of which the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 is designed to complement.
The technology performed outstandingly, being able to identify and quantify air leaks that had been found with traditional basic methods of leak detection such as thermal cameras, smoke pencils and anemometers, but most importantly finding leaks that could not be found with any alternative method. A significant number of air leaks were identified in window and door seals.
In addition, the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 has been tested on a Passivhaus Build, a building with a standard intended airtightness ten times higher than the minimum requirement. Following a Door Fan Blower Test, that identified the building just passed the required Passivhaus threshold for airtightness, the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 was able to identify a small leak, that a smoke pencil was unable to find.
Enhancing Building Performance across the Built Environment
COVID-19 is essentially an indoor air crisis. Whilst vaccinations are a crucially important tactical response, they must be complemented by longer term strategies. To ensure Human Air Hygiene, and safeguard that basic human right, a continuous and assured access to pure, fresh air, every public building must have a Ventilation Strategy.
For this reason, air permeability regulations are prevalent within the construction and building services industry. In its most basic form, the challenge of building ventilation centres around increasing the number of air changes per hour. However, the integrity of air filtration, and or air purification, can only reasonably be assured if all unwanted air infiltration through gaps, is sealed. Air leakage testers, such as the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520, that allow for frequent and regular detection, location and quantification of unwanted air leaks must therefore be integrated alongside existing essential airtightness testing equipment, to ensure the success of building ventilation strategies
Furthermore, Human Air Hygiene, Fire Suppression, Thermal Comfort, Acoustic Insulation, and Insect and Pest Control are all integral aspects of the Built Environment which require a certain level of airtightness to be maintained, either to deliver the minimum number of air changes per hour, restrict the supply of oxygen to extinguish a fire, or lower energy consumption and waste.
Indeed, in a post-COP26 global environment, addressing the effects of climate change and making buildings more energy efficient and environmentally responsible is driving the construction industry towards “Build Tight Ventilate Right.” Buildings are a significant producer of carbon emissions, accountable for 35% of total energy consumption.
Whatever applications and building performance one is looking to achieve, the common requirement is to test for airtightness, not just when the building is finished, but also throughout its construction, to test components and doors before they leave the factory.
Incorporating the Portascanner® AIRTIGHT 520 into existing maintenance and construction programmes will enable users to make sharper decisions, verify technical specifications, and reveal possible defects if design standards have not been met, allowing you to be better-faster-cheaper than your competitors, and delivering our vision of the Safesite™ on land, as our technologies deliver the Safeship™ at sea.