Groundbreaking Technology: Portasteele® CALCULATOR

maintaining high standards of fire safety practice does not have to be expensive or time consuming, Coltraco strive to provide easy and long lasting solutions that are suitable to varying budgets. There is a call to respond to regulations with a rigorous attitude, to go above and beyond, to provide security of life and infrastructure. Installations must be maintained so that they can provide the protection that they are intended for. Fire can cause crippling financial, physical and reputational damage to happen to crew, vessel and cargo. 2017 Coltraco developed a quick, easy and safer solution to weighing the ships’ fire suppression system: Portalevel® MAX Marine + Portasteele® Calculator.

The Portalevel® 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. Innovative methods of inspecting leaking cylinders with ultrasonics, enables identification in under 30 seconds using Portalevel® MAX Marine with one person, instead of the traditional 15 minutes, with two people labouriously shutting down the system, dismantling the cylinders and weighing them. Using ultrasonic technology - to pinpoint the liquid level of suppressant agent in the cylinders of the extinguishing system - testing is quicker and easier. 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. Combined with the Portasteele® Calculator, the weight can be found in just 30 seconds more. It is an advanced calculator application, that converts the liquid level height of C02, NOVEC™ 1230 or FM-200® liquefied gaseous extinguishant agent readings taken on the Portalevel® into the agent weight/mass. There is no other similar alternative to weighing available on the market. Furthermore, the Portasteele® can convert an expected agent weight back to the required liquid level allowing users to anticipate where the level should be. This method also enables recording and downloading of the data, adding value to servicing reports and improving the safety management system for a auditable data trail.

The implementation of regulations through SafeshipÒ technologies ensure that the gaseous extinguishing systems are functional in the event of a fire. 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 60 seconds using Portalevel® MAX Marine and Portasteele® Calculator with one person, instead of the traditional 15 minutes, with two people laboriously weighing. In real terms, it is commonly unfeasible to test a complete system in the minimal hours that a ship is in port, thereby resulting in random checks or only a minimum number of cylinders really being checked. This creates risk in the event of fire in case the fire systems do not have the design concentration required to extinguish it. Manual weighing is not only laborious, but also hazardous to the crew conducting the servicing. New technology allows ship owners and crews implement both the spirit and letter of the regulation and thus know that their vessel is protected in the event of a fire.

ONE COMPANY’s MISSION TO RESOLVE “THE UNGOVERNED SPACE” IN SHIPPING

There are 55,000 ships in the world carrying 95% of all commodities and goods. 25% of these are Tankers, Chemical Carriers & Product Tankers. 40% of these are Bulk Carriers and General Cargo ships. These have a need for vessel integrity and vessel fire safety.

Currently it is well known that the shipping industry has taken a big hit in certain areas. The amount of “urgent” supply requests that increase during one of shipping’s cyclical down-turns is because it is during these times when owners risk vessel detention by not placing safety critical equipment on-board. There are two key aspects to investigate in more detail because they are oft overlooked: the ungoverned spaces of fire safety and watertight integrity. These two areas will be examined through the regulations and technologies used to solve these issues. Looking at the UK as leaders in the shipping industry worldwide with a case study focus on a British designer and manufacturer who is sailing through the tough times.

FIRE SAFETY IS MORE THAN ANOTHER TICKBOX

Engine room fires are often reported but there are many more instances where problems with the fire system may not reach the public eye. In a ship’s fire extinguishing system, there may be 600 x 45kg/100lb cylinders of CO2. The CO2 is a highly effective liquefied gaseous extinguishant designed to displace oxygen and suppress a fire. But they are under high pressure, often more than 50 Bar, and they can leak or accidentally discharge. Common knowledge suggests 20% of marine CO2 cylinders leak. If personnel are around when they discharge fatalities can occur. To inspects cylinder contents, the system is turned off, the cylinders dismantled, weighed and re-installed by certified personnel, which the crew are not. 30 years ago, marine servicing companies used radioactive-sourced level indicators, but these were damaging to health and subject to IATA transportation, licensing and storage requirements. The first handheld liquid level indicator to use ultrasonic technology provided a quick, accurate and safe means for anyone trained - from a marine servicing company, to chief engineer or crew member - to test the cylinder contents. This Portalevel® was designed and manufactured by Coltraco Ultrasonics who have since developed the technology to the 8th generation Portalevel® MAX Marine which can test all common clean agents.

LEAKING HATCHCOVERS? DOORS & MCTs MUST NOT BE FORGOTTEN.

A second key problem area for vessels is the watertight integrity: for example, 33% of cargo claims are due to leaking hatch-covers. Not only hatch-covers suffer seal integrity issues, but also the multiple cable transit areas, cable penetrations between bulkheads or watertight compartment doors. Historically the industry has used high pressure water hoses or chalk compression testing to test the seals.  These methods are messy, inaccurate, time-consuming and the environmental implications of water run-off is costly. They can also only be conducted when the ship is in port or when the cargo holds are empty.  Portascanner™ Watertight was designed by Coltraco Ultrasonics to meet the need for a clean, simple, highly accurate means to achieve watertight integrity in port, with or without cargo in the hold. It is handheld, intuitive to use, with audible and visual displays showing the most mathematically accurate results of its type worldwide.

DYNAMIC STATES

Shipping professionals understand that any marine structure “turns and bends” as it sails, that its extent is affected by its sea, weather and its load states and that as a structure ages its integrity changes and worsens. Today it is possible to continuously monitoring the state of hatch-covers whilst at sea thanks to Coltraco who are developing the first fixed and semi-fixed watertight integrity monitoring systems with remote diagnostics and alarm relay.  Just as the vessel is in a dynamic state, so too a pressurised fire extinguishing gas is effected by temperature and that its cylinder holding structure and its associated pipework corrodes over time. Regular and frequent inspections, above and beyond the regulatory inspections can aide condition monitoring and preventative maintenance. Over 20% of the world’s commercial ships, over 20 leading Navies and many oil and gas platforms and rigs recognise these issues and use Portalevel™ MAX Marine and/or Portascanner™ Watertight as part of their safety management systems. It is the responsibility of the Master to ensure that the vessel is watertight and the fire systems in working order, but it is the responsibility of the Owner or Operator to ensure that the Master can achieve this.

REGULATION COMPLIANCE & BEYOND

These two safety solutions are at the heart of the crew’s ability to comply with regulations. The IMO regulates for the safe operations of ships. The Flag States enforce these. The Classification Societies & PSC inspect these, but it is for the Ship Owners & operators to implement this. Suppliers provide the solutions. Enabling ship owners and operators to access marine technologies to deliver a safely-operated ship and prevent its detention by Port State Control (PSC) Inspection Agencies for non-compliance, is the Safeship® mission from Coltraco Ultrasonics.

For example, IMO SOLAS FSS Ch.5 2.1.1.3: every ship “must have the means for the crew to check the contents of the CO2 system”. The crew are not qualified to turn off and dismantle a CO2 system to weigh the cylinders so Portalevel™ MAX Marine solves the issue because they can check each cylinder in 30 seconds without disturbing it.

SMART SAFESHIP SOLUTIONS

“Constant monitoring”. “Autonomous shipping”. “Unmanned vessels”. These are the terms of the moment, and for good reason. Data and safety are priceless, so new solutions are being implemented to secure these. In the ungoverned spaces of fire safety and watertight integrity, there will soon be innovative new systems providing continuous monitoring and remote diagnostics. At the vanguard of this, Coltraco have just launched the world’s first instrument to enable ships to monitor the compartment door “open/closed” access status when they enter the ship’s CO2 room. This is known as Portascanner™ 14520 and is a dual-function unit that can also permanently monitor the “Protected Space” of the ship’s compartment to ensure that it will “hold” the CO2 or NOVEC™1230, should it be discharged into it. Coltraco are dedicated to developing semi-fixed systems with the Portascanner™ Watertight Compartment Door and Portascanner™ Multiple Cable Transit Area next year, so that shipping companies can test these structures at sea over varying load and weather states enabling them to calculate leak site aperture.

HOW COLTRACO IMPLEMENT THEIR SAFESHIP® MISSION TO RESOLVE THE UNGOVERNED SPACE

Certain leading British OEMs commit to marketing and business development via exhibitions, speaking at conferences, writing articles, preparing interviews with trade press and a few even have technical papers published by the likes of the Royal Institute of Naval Architects among other. At a more in depth level, exists the opportunity to engage with industry associations, councils and committees which can, if the arguments are captivating for their value and truth, lead to government and regulation level communications. The dizzying heights of the IMO and All Party Parliamentary Groups are gained, not through commercially-led influence, but through care for the customer, for the vessel and the crew.

It is also through leading by example of providing the scientific and mathematical principles behind the concepts. Coltraco works with leading universities such as Durham University who awarded their CEO an Honorary Doctorate for his contribution to Physics and student development. Coltraco is a unique example of a British OEM who strives to engage all the elements described above to achieve its Safeship® mission.

Whilst aiming to be a sustainable and profitable company, at the leading technological edge of its core capabilities, Coltraco’s CEO see a day “when we will break-out of ultrasound and acoustic resonance and supplement these in technologies from radar, light and magnetism. I would like to see us become the “Research & Development hub” or “R&D house of choice” for Ship Owners and Vessel Operators.

There exists so much “ungoverned space” in shipping, so many unnecessary losses of seafarers, vessels and cargoes too. Shipping may be very proud of its safety record, but it should do more itself rather than wait for the regulators to impose themselves upon it.” Rounding off this examination into the ungoverned space in shipping, Coltraco’s CEO states: “We remain the global centre of shipping and I wish us to lead that to a new future of Safe Shipping to

The Mathematics of Monitoring Gaseous Extinguishing Systems

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. Coltraco aims to be the lead technical authority in the monitoring of liquefied and non-liquefied clean agents during the life of the gaseous extinguishing system once it has been installed and commissioned.

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.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is merely sound beyond our audible range. Dolphins and whales can communicate at sea over long ranges as sound travels more efficiently through liquids than air. We use this principle to identify that difference in a cylinder containing liquefied agent. Consider ones ears as” the receiver” and ones mouth as the “transmitter”. Sound will arrive at ones ears at different times. The reason though that we hear a unitary sound is that our brain processes it to one. This is what we do by processing the returning ultrasound. In the air bats navigate by airborne ultrasound. We can apply the same principle in room integrity. We are at the heart of the Royal Navy’s efforts to maintain watertight integrity by the use of it in their submarines and warships and are now in service with others like the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard using this Naval technology that we pioneered and developed and continue to refine today. We can do the same for room integrity monitoring in the fire industry.

Constant Monitoring of Gaseous Extinguishing Systems

A data centre is expensive to build and maintain. It generates significant heat. Every bank with a branch network has hundreds of them. The value of them are very high but the value of their inability to sustain business continuity is far higher than their physical assets. Almost incalculable. And yet Insurers are asked to underwrite them and the fire industry to deliver their protection at the cheapest price. Who today in the security industry would consider installing an alarm system without monitoring its overall status not only its actuation and integrating the whole of it to the building management system with central monitoring being an essential part of it ? Who would build a ship or offshore platform and fit it with say power generating auxiliary machinery without installing emergency power systems or monitoring their condition states ? These are basic engineering principles of building redundancy into ones systems and monitoring ones systems.

The fire industry though still approaches the installation of a dynamic and pressurised fixed gaseous extinguishing system as if it needs no integration into a BMS other than to alert as to its actuation. Nor does it think it needs constant monitoring lest it reveals the underlying engineering risk of them. Can this be because good engineering is left unrewarded in the fire industry ? Or might it be that the fire industry is more concerned to negate customer awareness of its need lest it reveals that pressurised systems do discharge and leak ? These are needless concerns. All good engineering demands the monitoring of dynamic structures and a highly pressurised cylinder is a dynamic structure. It is designed to protect a critical infrastructure or asset. Without constant monitoring a risk is generated in the very environment for which it is designed to reduce risk. The risk is not only to the asset, but to the people who work in the asset and their ability to enable business continuity in the high value asset under risk. We aim to be the lead technical authority in the constant monitoring of gaseous extinguishing systems during the life of the system once it is installed and commissioned.

Room Integrity Monitoring - There remains a wider problem too

This is essential under ISO 14520 where gaseous extinguishing systems have to be designed in relation to the discharging agent hold-time (if the room cannot hold the agent because of leaks the agent will disperse and not extinguish the fire) and discharging agent peak pressure (if the pressure is too high for partition walls or suspended ceilings they will be blown apart or damaged and possibly destroying the room integrity). At the design stage of a fire extinguishing system rooms are tested for room integrity by positively pressurising a room and detecting escaping pressure to verify that the room itself into which the gaseous extinguishant discharges on actuation can both hold the agent after its discharge and hold its pressure on actuation. The fire system is then installed and commissioned. But over the next 10 years no further tests are made on room integrity and the cylinders merely hydrostatically tested to ensure they can cope with their design pressure limits. How can one be sure therefore that on actuation the room will hold the discharged agent to extinguish the fire and its partitions and ceilings are capable of withstanding the pressure of the agent on discharge? A building is like a ship at sea. It turns and bends as any structure does. It ages and leak sites develop. Coltraco is generating capability that will allow for the constant monitoring of room integrity. We aim to be the lead technical authority in the constant monitoring of room integrity during the life of the gaseous extinguishing system once it is installed and commissioned.

Conclusion

The fire industry has access to customers who depend on it to deliver fire engineering to protect their risks. Insurance companies underwrite that risk. But the mathematics of its failure are high, whether in the application and understanding of the formulas they use to calculate design concentrations of gases or flow rates or in the deployment of fundamental engineering principles to protect dynamic pressurised systems and the structures they are working so hard to protect against the risk of fire.

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.

Constant Monitoring  of Gaseous Extinguishing Systems

A data centre is expensive to build and maintain. It generates significant heat. Every bank with a branch network has hundreds of them. The value of them are very high but the value of their inability to sustain business continuity is far higher than their physical assets. Almost incalculable. And yet Insurers are asked to underwrite them and the fire industry to deliver their protection at the cheapest price. Who today in the security industry would consider installing an alarm system without

monitoring its status not only its actuation and integrating the whole of it to the building management system with central monitoring being an essential part of it ? Who would build a ship or offshore platform and fit it with say power generating auxiliary machinery without installing emergency power systems or monitoring their condition states ? These are basic engineering principles.

All good engineering demands the monitoring of dynamic structures and a highly pressurised cylinder is a dynamic structure. It is designed to protect a critical infrastructure or asset. Without constant monitoring a risk is generated in the very environment for which it is designed to reduce risk. The risk is not only to the asset, but to the people who work in the asset and their ability to enable business continuity in the high value asset under risk. We aim to be the lead technical authority in the constant monitoring of gaseous extinguishing systems during the life of the system once it is installed and commissioned.

Room Integrity Monitoring - There remains a wider problem too

This is essential under ISO 14520 where gaseous extinguishing systems have to be designed in relation to the discharging agent hold-time (if the room cannot hold the agent because of leaks the agent will disperse and not extinguish the fire) and discharging agent peak pressure (if the pressure is too high for partition walls or suspended ceilings they will be blown apart or damaged and possibly destroying the room integrity). At the design stage of a fire extinguishing system rooms are tested for room integrity by positively pressurising a room and detecting escaping pressure to verify that the room itself into which the gaseous extinguishant discharges on actuation can both hold the agent after its discharge and hold its pressure on actuation. The fire system is then installed and commissioned. But over the next 10 years few further tests are made on room integrity and the cylinders merely hydrostatically tested to ensure they can cope with their design pressure limits. How can one be sure therefore that on actuation the room will hold the discharged agent to extinguish the fire and its partitions and ceilings are capable of withstanding the pressure of the agent on discharge? A building is like a ship at sea. It turns, stresses & bends as any structure does. It ages and leak sites develop. Coltraco is generating capability that will allow for the constant monitoring of room integrity.  We aim to be the lead technical authority in the constant monitoring of room integrity during the life of the gaseous extinguishing system once it is installed and commissioned.

Conclusion

The fire industry has access to customers who depend on it to deliver fire engineering to protect their risks. Insurance companies underwrite that risk. But the mathematics of its failure are high, whether in the application and understanding of the formulas they use to calculate design concentrations of gases or flow rates or in the deployment of fundamental engineering principles to protect dynamic pressurised systems and the structures they are working so hard to protect against the risk of fire.

“Safety First” should not simply be a tag line in mining.

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.

In the event of downtime or shutdown to fire, there could be catastrophic effects to high value assets, such as critical mining infrastructure. 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.

Fire safety is still an “ungoverned space”

In terms of fire extinguishing systems there exist 2 broad categories: sprinkler systems and liquefied gaseous systems such a clean agents, FM-200®, Novec™1230, CO2.  The former can suffer leakage but the latter can cause greater damage given its physical pressures. Regulations require that the extinguishing agent stored in cylinders must be checked annually. The traditional method requires turning off the system, dismantling, and weighing each cylinder. Thorough testing can take hours and several qualified, trained personnel.

Anecdotes of bad practice

  • Low labour rate servicing crews being unskilled, unreliable and untrained
  • Disreputable companies randomly checking a few cylinders and placing “tested stickers” on the rest of the untested ones
  • 20% of marine CO2 cylinders installed empty or partially-filled 

These issues risk the integrity of mining operations, because in the event of fire, there may be insufficient agent to extinguish it. For such safety critical operations, these systems should be permanently monitored. Yet they remain unsupervised and unmonitored 364 days a year until their annual certification check.

Industry trend to govern “the ungoverned space”

Safety is becoming recognised as an area which must no longer be overlooked. The industry is beginning to opt for more regular inspections and even continuous 365 day monitoring. 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 the risk of fire in the long run can improve business continuity, save downtime and also the potential costly pay-out which fire damage entails.

Case Study: Zambian Copper Mine switches to Ultrasonic Technology

One company who researched the market to find an easier, accurate and more efficient method for inspecting their fire system is a copper mining project in Zambia. This well established, growing mining company annually produces hundreds of thousands of tonnes of copper worldwide. Their Head of Instrumentation discovered an innovative method: Portalevel® ultrasonic technology. Portalevel® makes servicing quicker and requires just one person to identify the liquid level of agent inside the cylinders. There is no need to turn off or dismantle the system. By testing in situ, the integrity of the system is maintained and there is no increased risk to people or facility by shutting down the system for the duration of maintenance checks.

Innovation offers Smart Solutions

New Safesite™ technologies offer great opportunity to the mining industry - enabling confidence that the fire system is safeguarded. For example:

  • Portalevel® MAX world leading handheld ultrasonic liquid level indicator for testing most common extinguishing agents
  • Portasteele™ Calculator tablet based app converting the liquid level into agent weight/mass with ease, simplicity and ability to record and download the results
  • 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

We are committed to “Safety First”: going above and beyond regulatory compliance, whilst minimising time and cost. Science and R&D are at our core. Our Safesite™ and Safeship™ technologies deliver solutions to critical infrastructure at sea and on land. As the world changes, so must our industry integrate technology, to provide a bulwark against minimal, even flagrant, disregard of standards, by creating standards which all can understand and apply. The “white heat” of technology shines as a beacon of hope to our industry and customers: to engage in better monitoring as an integrated and essential element to their business activity.

www.coltraco.com

Safety first

The maritime industry treats fire protection systems as a necessary expenditure rather than a means by which to safeguard valuable crew and cargo

Although the value of the marine assets that fire systems protect is increasing rapidly, the competitiveness of the free market places great pressure on cost cutting. Often, cheap systems only minimally comply with the regulations and, in fact, there are very few qualified engineers who may be considered experts on the subject matter. This creates an environment in which a ‘safety first’ culture remains both un-pursued and unrewarded.

“This attitude feels in direct opposition to that in the aerospace sector, where if a fault occurs on an aircraft, that information is quickly and openly shared with airline operators, civil aviation authorities and engineering organisations. In shipping, unless a fatality occurs, it is left un-reported,” says Carl Hunter, CEO & MD of Coltraco Ultrasonics. With multiple ships sailing with partially-filled, over-filled or empty cylinders and many unshared instances of accidental discharges or slow seepages there is real cause for concern – and impetus to change.

Marine servicing

In terms of ships’ extinguishing systems there exist two broad categories: sprinkler systems and gas systems (CO2). While the former can suffer leakage but the latter can cause catastrophic effect given the high physical pressures. An average ship’s CO2 system comprises between 200 and 600 cylinders each containing 45KG of CO2 under high 720 psi/ 49 bar pressure. One of the highest probabilities of discharge occurs during their maintenance. Some marine service companies estimate that 20% of a ships CO2 cylinders have discharged or partially leaked their contents at some point in their lifetime.

This makes high quality servicing particularly important, which requires not just a company that is properly resourced (rather than simply the lowest bidder) but also an appropriate amount of time. In many cases, marine servicing contractors often have to get to the ship using a launch and only have access to the vessel for abut four hours. “If using the historical method of servicing the vessel’s fire system, the service crews would shut down the ship’s CO2 system, dismantle it and weigh each cylinder. This takes about 40 minutes to dismantle, weigh, record and re-install, meaning that it would take 400 man-hours to achieve on a 600 cylinder marine installation – completely impossible in a four hour visit,” Hunter informs.

Luckily modern methods offer quicker options: a portable, ultrasonic liquid level indicator (such as Coltraco’s Portalevel MAX Marine) can check the contents of a perfect condition cylinder in 30 seconds. Taking in to account the average time to record and validate readings, a service crew should take 1-3 minutes per properly-filled cylinder, which would mean 600-1,800 minutes test time or 10-30 perfect man-hours for this task alone. Again, this is impossible when allocated such a short time on the vessel.

Unsafe solutions

Given the time restrictions illustrated above, it is clear why even good marine servicing companies may not physically be able to perform the inspections required. While they may flag such an issue with a customer, there are less scrupulous companies that are said to randomly check some cylinders and then place ‘tested’ stickers on the rest.

Although random checks may be suitable in some sectors, it is worth remembering that because the normal design concentration of CO2 of 34-72 v/v % is above the nearly immediate acute lethality level, these systems have an extremely narrow safety margin. As these systems work through oxygen dilution rather than the chemical disruption of the catalytic combustion chain (which is the case with other clean agents), insufficient CO2 levels during an emergency may allow a situation to spiral out of hand.

“These points are separate to the frankly dangerous actions of certain companies that may deliver systems portrayed and installed by contractors as NOVEC™ 1230 but that are actually filled with sand or water,” says the Coltraco head. Other anecdotal evidence provides stories of over/under-filled cylinders; high pressure gas systems being fitted without the means to actuate them; cheap cylinder pressure gauges sticking in position under humidity or mechanical fatigue; safety pins being retained in position in the cylinder valves after installation; or even pipework and cylinders that are freshly painted but have severe internal corrosion leading to particulates of rust which block the discharge nozzle mechanism.

There have even been reports of instances where bathroom weighing scales are chained to the CO2 cylinders in an effort to comply with IMO SOLAS FSS Code regulations – ignoring the fact that there are no officers or crew that are qualified to shutdown, dis-mantle, weigh and re-install a CO2 cylinder on the vessel itself.

Meeting obligations

“Given both the crew lives and cargo at stake, it seems unfathomable that these systems are not permanently monitored rather certified just once a year, particularly since it is a regulatory obligation to ensure that crew are in a position to check these,” Hunter says. Safety of Life at Sea’s (SOLAS) International Fire Safety Systems (FSS) code states that “means shall be provided for the crew to safely check the quantity of the fire extinguishing medium in the containers”.

It can be argued that the existence of regulation (such as that set by the the IMO and other authorities) guides – and occasionally curbs – the direction taken by the free market. This then means that the current state of the market, where ‘price is king’ is either due to unwillingness on the part of the regulators to create an environment where safe engineering is rewarded or because the industry itself is unaware of new technology that will help them meet both the spirit and letter of the regulation.

The fact of the matter is that technologies exist right now that can easily and accurately monitor everything from gases under pressure to liquefied contents and corrosion of pipework. The traditional method of using a cylinder pressure gauge (located at the meeting point of valve and neck of a pressurised cylinder) is both obsolete and impractical – especially when cost cutting may result in use of minimally-compliant gauge mechanisms.

Technological answers

Technologies will soon exist that will offer devices that monitor both liquid content and gas pressure safely from the external sides of the cylinder rather than within it. This means that crew will be able to monitor the contents and then calculate the mass/weight of the liquefied extinguishant. By measuring the pressure of the gas on top of the liquefied extinguishant they can can assess the pressure of an Inert gas (which is in an entirely vaporous form) to ensure that the cylinder is primed to perform when needed.

Having systems that operate transparently will work not just to convince a vessel owner that his asset is in good hands, but also to reassure the crew that their safety is taken seriously by both – their employer and the the marine servicing company.

Ultrasound

One of the sciences being harnessed by innovators in the fire safety sector is that of Ultrasound: i.e. acoustic (sound) energy in the form of waves of high frequency that are above the human audible range. Although the shipping world merely uses it as a tool to gauge thickness, it has seen far more varied use across military, medical and industrial fields.

Sound is, in itself, vibrations that propagate as a mechanical wave or pressure and transmit through solid, liquid or gaseous mediums. Coltraco is one of a number of companies using these fundamental physical principles to design and manufacture products and systems that can be used by fire engineers and their customer installations.

Its portfolio boasts 11 different model types of Portalevel brand liquid level indicators including Portascanner (which uses ultrasound to test the integrity of confined spaces and can detect leak sites as small as 0.06mm) and Portagauge (which uses ultrasound to test the internal and external corrosion on pipework and cylinder wall thickness to an accuracy of +/-0.1mm). “We can monitor these 24/7 with the fixed, data-logging and autonomous monitoring system, Permalevel Multiplex & Permalevel Single Point,” says Hunter. “Signals from these fixed monitoring sites can be monitored centrally on the bridge and in the ship’s technical office concurrently. We see a day when products and systems will be designed that will monitor gas vapour above the liquid level and inert gases too.” The company is due to launch its Portasteele Calculator this year which will enable liquefied extinguishant weight conversions.

“As the world changes, so must our industry integrate technological solutions to provide a bulwark against wider industry misinterpretation and minimal, even occasional and flagrant, disregard in the application of standards and good global engineering practise, creating standards which all can understand and apply,” he adds.

First in the world: Portasteele® CALCULATOR

The assumptions in the installation and maintenance of gaseous extinguishing systems is that they are highly pressurised but risk leaking and discharging. ISO 14520-1:2015 aim to identify their leak identification at an interval of at least every 6 months.  Traditional methods of weighing are laborious and dangerous, taking 15 minutes and two people to weigh a cylinder. To combat this, Coltraco Ultrasonics developed the Portalevel® MAX, an 8th generation ultrasonic level indicator, for identifying the contents of CO2, FM200, NOVEC 1230, FE-13, FE-25 & FE-36, Halon and a variety of similar liquid gaseous fire suppression agents, in just 30 seconds. However these liquid level readings were not weight measurements which is required and does not take into account the effects of temperature.

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 Portalevel® MAX into the agent weight/mass.  The PortasteeleÒ CALCULATOR is the first in the world to provide agent weight readings without physically weighing the fire suppression cylinders to comply with fire safety regulations. This is a safer, more efficient and cost saving method to service fire cylinders. The PortasteeleÒ CALCULATOR is based on a stand-alone 7” tablet computer which makes calculations in real time and logs the results, allowing the software to be used immediately in the field.

By replacing the use of manual calculation and formulae, Portasteele® CALCULATOR makes the whole process of fire suppression system servicing simple and effective. The technological innovation ensures an entirely user friendly and industry leading device.

The Portasteele® is the first in the world to provide agent weight readings without physically weighing the fire suppression cylinders to comply with fire safety regulations. Coltraco Ultrasonics are the only company able to identify clean agent weight from liquid level readings – allowing a servicing company to go above and beyond regulations.

Coltraco Ultrasonics are the only company in the world who can provide true contents indication through the Portasteele® CALCULATOR. The calculation provided takes into account all environmental factors without requiring an overwhelming excess of information from the user and can provide highly accurate results across the broad range of cylinder types available in the fire protection sector. The Portasteele® CALCULATOR is the only device of its kind on the market. The Portasteele® CALCULATOR accurately converts the liquid level into agent weight and takes into account temperature variation by compensating for it using density changes. The final result is weight, which is unaffected by temperature – something that cannot be achieved by a liquid level indicator alone.

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 etc., then a leak site in the room could mean that the comparted area will not 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: by 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)

Here are some extracts from the regulations which are not widely known or understood and thus can lead to areas of minimal compliance or even non-compliance due to a lack of education about fire systems and their connection to compartmentation. This article argues 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.

To understand how fire resistant a compartment is, an inspection of the overall condition of the existing fire compartments is needed, as well as an assessment of the condition and effectiveness of the sealing of wall/soffit interfaces and an inspection of existing fire seals applied to service penetrations through fire compartment lines. Issues in the quality of compartmentation walls can come from maintenance, minor works and refurbishments. Contractors carrying out such tasks can occasionally destroy the compartmentation integrity of the wall, floor or ceilings if they were unaware that the area is a comparted space (as shown in the below image). Therefore, following maintenance it is “good practice” to ensure the fire resistance of walls, floors and ceilings and to safeguard again if necessary.

Meeting minimum fire standards is not enough

Technology must solve 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.

Ultrasonic room integrity testers provide interpretation of the fire resistance of the desired locations, 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 and size are 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 ultrasonic room integrity tester* is an unrivalled ideal 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 Industry.

*Disclaimer: These statements are based on the Coltraco Ultrasonics brand of ultrasonic room integrity tester: Portascanner® 520. This paper does not claim any knowledge of any other ultrasonic room integrity tester brand nor could find any other brands available on the market at this stage.

The technology exists right now to solve this problem.  

In 2018 with the continuing developments in technology there is an expectation that safety should be all encompassing. We cannot let this expectation continue to be a fantasy.

BOX OUT –  Case Study: Field testing of the Ultrasonic Room Integrity Tester  - complementing oxygen reduction system for compartmentation testing of Data Centre, England 2018

Oxygen Reduction System and Need for Monitoring: Oxygen Reduction system works by taking Nitrogen from the air outdoors and pumping this into the room consistently in order to suppress oxygen levels, down to the level where combustion can no longer occur. To ensure the system works safely and efficiently, room integrity 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 of the Server Room: The Server Room had an area of about 91 metres square. Several areas were tested with an ultrasonic room integrity tester where leakage was probable and the readings were noted on the drawings. These were the doors, vents, cable penetrations and also sections of the wall where gaps were visible.

Results: The ultrasonic room integrity tester 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 and assuming no changes were made to the room, it is safe to assume that the room retains its integrity, thus comply and exceed current ISO 14520 regulations requiring periodic inspections of room integrity whereby visual inspection is usually specified and is not sufficient. The most suitable way to address periodic inspections is through the use of ultrasound.

How do you measure liquid level with the Portalevel® MAX?

The Portalevel® MAX has been specifically designed to be as easy, simple and definitive for a user to operate as possible. Simple touch buttons now operate the controls and a new digital screen provides clear and definitive results to the user. The 7 steps below outline the simple testing process. Further technical support for this ultrasonic leak detector is available to all users for the lifetime of the equipment if required.

How to operate Portalevel Max by Coltraco?

  • Attach the sensor to the main Portalevel® MAX, switch the unit on and ensure the “Battery Low” Indication is not showing.
  • Depending on the condition of the cylinder, some couplet may need to be applied to the side of the cylinder; this could be in the form of Water spray, Ultrasonic Gel or an Oil & Water mix depending on what is easily accessible. This is not always essential and they all accomplish the required results.
  • Place the senor towards the top of the cylinder and engage the “CAL” feature. This will set the unit to that particular cylinder, catering for the material thickness, paint or surface covering.
  • When engaging the “CAL” feature, the Bar Graph on the screen will extend all the way to the right and the numbers will read high values.
  • The user should then move the sensor down the cylinder in small steps, making sure not to drag the sensor down the cylinder face.
  • When the sensor passes the level mark, the numbers will drop dramatically and the Bar graph will reduce all the way to the left. It is this change in display readings, which identifies the difference between Air (above Level) and Liquid (below Level) in a cylinder.
  • Through moving the sensor up in smaller steps, one can accurately pinpoint the exact liquid level location.

Portalevel Max 8th Generation

This liquid level indicator is designed primarily to meet your measuring requirements of liquid levels enclosed in cylinders. See the brochure here: via PDF

How can smart technology allow you to reach the Safeship®?

The crew have a responsibility to implement the regulations via regular testing, which enabled through smart ultrasonic technology and IoT, should be done continuously to avoid negligence and unnecessary risk. Misunderstanding exists across parts of shipping industry regarding the application of a part of the IMO SOLAS FSS Code: the need for crew to test the contents of their CO2, FM-200® & NOVEC™ 1230 Gaseous Extinguishing Systems in between the periodic inspection, maintenance and certification intervals. These periodic inspections are conducted annually or biennially, and only by an Accredited Service Agent i.e. an external Marine Servicing Company. The reason IMO requires crew to test for contents in-between these is that the “ship sails alone” and “there is no such thing as a small fire at sea”; it must act as its own emergency fire service, differing to a land based asset. In order to create a Safeship® the crew must be in full understanding of the status their safety systems at all times and not just at the times of the inspections – achieved by continuous monitoring.

Gaseous extinguishing systems must be able to actuate, or release their gas, in the event of a fire. Given that the gaseous systems are designed specifically to the individual need of the vessel, and it is known that they leak, then a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire. These are pressurised systems, so the point of monthly checking for contents is to identify loss of contents through leakage or accidental discharge before they fall below their capacity to extinguish (technically described as: delivering their design concentration). Only having the annual inspection by accredited marine servicing companies is not enough – the crew must take responsibility for its own fire protection and inspecting the gaseous extinguishing systems. But what if there is leakage in between these monthly checks? With fewer, even lower-skilled crew and a greater dependence on autonomous machinery, the dependence on fire systems being checked from shore, let alone on the ship in person, will only become greater. Manual weighing is not only laborious, but also dangerous to the crew conducting the servicing. New technology allows ship owners and crews to help them both the spirit and letter of the regulation and thus know that their vessel is protected in the event of a fire.

Smart technology provides the crew and ship owners with ease of inspection and understanding their extinguishing systems. However, the crew will not be able to refill the gaseous extinguishing system, and instead must rely on notifying the marine servicing company when they arrive at a port, despite the fact that they may only be at the port for a very short amount of time. Due to time pressures, the risk of not being able to find a contractor in time to fill the cylinders in the event of leakage is one that could jeopardise the safety of the entire ship when it is time to set sail. Furthermore, it is well known that vessels are kept at the dock for a minimum amount of time, which reduces time for repairs and thus efficiency without compromise of safety is key. Continuously monitoring the cylinders with ultrasonic sensors that utilises IoT can avoid this, because the network contribution. Using IoT enables the advance notification of the crew and shore based services whilst at sea. Therefore, preparations to address the issues can be made prior to docking to ensure the issues are resolved given the minimum time they have. By having the ability to understand the contents’ level of their gaseous extinguishing systems whilst at sea, the crew are also able to comply and exceed the IMO SOLAS FSS and ISO 14520 regulations, whilst ensuring the Safeship®.

The main cause of vessel loss is sinking

As the main cause of vessel loss is sinking, the maintenance, testing and monitoring of watertight hatches, doors and multiple cable transits on vessels is essential. 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 importance of continually maintaining seal integrity should take a more prominent position in ship maintenance scheduling.

The future of watertight integrity testing is with continuous monitoring. A lack of proper servicing of seals can lead to deterioration which endanger the lives of the crew, vessel and cargo.  The large issue here is that ships are only tested before and after one or perhaps several journeys; yet a leak could occur at any point in between testing and continue unnoticed until the next inspection. A vessel generates its leak sites due to load states, sea states, wind states, and dynamic movement. The severity is amplified within a vessel structure constantly changing by varying sea, wind, load states, cargo types and dynamic stresses. There is a great deal of bending and deformation that naturally occurs in ships during travel. It was found that a comprehensive, autonomous continuous monitoring system for the watertight integrity of a ship’s cargo hatches, weathertight doors and other seals is possible to be developed. One that is capable of automatically detecting emerging leak sites, alerting officers and crew of the location and severity of the leak site and logging all data for future review. The developments in continuous monitoring technology being undertaken by Coltraco Ultrasonics will drive the industry towards ensuring that watertight integrity is never left to chance.

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 by the 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. This led to flooding of the main engine room. This was caused by 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

What are the Distress® and db levels of the Portamonitor®?

Coltraco’s Portamonitor® is a sophisticated AE device that combines Distress® and db levels that provides a real-time evaluation to give the user accurate knowledge of any defects that may be present in any kind of bearing, for example; roller and ball types. Sound generated by friction and impacts caused by poor lubrication or bearing damage propagates as a stress wave, detectable by the Portamonitor®.

Signal is processed at sensor level allowing quick and effective diagnostics. The Portamonitor® can be used for pre-service (proof) testing as well as in-service (re-qualification) testing and condition monitoring. 

What are Distress® and db level?

Together Distress® and db level help diagnose defects at sensor level by providing simple alert indications relating to phenomena occurring at the defect location. Generally speaking, Distress® provides an instant indication of the health of the bearings. It measures the transient activity, such as impacts, friction and surface deformation caused by micro-pitting and fractures.
The overall measurement is the summation of abnormal signals generated by defective bearings. Elastic waves that are produced as a result of cracks, fractures or debris produce different frequencies. Algorithms inside the Portamonitor® sort this data for comparison against acceptable limits categorised by a number.

The display on the Portamonitor® will show a numeric value indicating the level of distress, for instance: 5-10 indicates the system in “OK”. Between the value of 10-15 indicates the system is “SUSPECT”, and requires further monitoring, whereas >15 indicates a “POOR” system and requires attention. To help with this understanding, the following chart shows simulated example results and a description of what can be immediately determined:

Looking at this data an operator can determine that gearbox No. 1 and 5 need further investigation, with 5 being the priority since gearbox 1 is SUSPECT, but gearbox 5 is POOR. It may be the case that lubricating a bearing may show a decrease in the Distress® value to an acceptable level thus avoiding a shut-down period. This can be determined at this point.

In use alongside Distress®, db level indicators are used which show the overall bearing noise. This is dependent on rotating speed and will increase as rotating speeds increases, but will also increase during the degradation of bearings, or if inadequate lubrication is present. Decibel indicators work on a logarithmic scale, which basically translates very large or very small numbers into a more intuitive form, usually between 0 – 100. Sharp increases in db level indicate imminent failure. Also, db trends can be monitored to establish the overall condition of bearings. Again, to show this we look at some example data to the right.

The trend of db level with time is particularly useful for indicating the rate of deterioration. As can be seen on this chart. This increase in db level over time indicates a serious problem prevailing. Most of the complicated post-processing has been completed within the device making it very easy to understand. Both of these parameters are included simultaneously on the Portamonitor® providing a time and cost effective all-around simple to use device suitable for the monitoring of bearing degradation in all industries. 

Monitoring your gaseous installations at sea? Choose the Portamarine®.

The Portamarine® has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the shipping industry and has proven a capable and reliable unit over many years. In use with many thousand Vessel and Marine service stations worldwide, it is specifically designed for safely, quickly and accurately inspecting marine CO2 fire suppression systems. It allows vessel owners to comply with IMO SOLAS requirements which specify the need to have the means onboard to allow crew to safely inspect the fire systems. The Portamarine® has been specifically designed for testing multi-banked CO2 Cylinder Fire Suppression System Cylinders, stored in 2, 3 or 4 rows deep, to make the process as quick as possible to complete. It can also operate on the vast majority of other fire system agents including FM200™, NOVEC 1230™, Halon (for Defence applications) and all other clean agent systems.

Coltraco Limited has produced this liquid gas level indicator specifically to meet the corresponding needs of Marine Industry. The equipment is  accurate to +/-1.5mm and proves a significantly safer and quicker solution when compared to weighing as a means of identifying cylinder content.

Optional Extras with Portamarine – Ultrasonic Level Indicator

Ancillary Parts

These are offers and accessories available with this ultrasonic level sensor upon demand. Give it a look!

Additional Sensors

  • Wet Sensors – For rugged applications such as poor conditioned or rusty cylinders
  • Dry Sensor – For Standard Applications

Multi-Banked Extension Rod

  • Standard Rod – 28mm wide, normal build. Ideal for vast majority of applications.
  • Slim line rod – only 14mm wide and lightweight, ideal for where cylinders are tightly packed.

Portatherm™

Infrared thermometer providing quick indication of ambient temperatures

After Sales Support

By purchasing the Portamarine® from Coltraco you can be assured of our full support to ensure you become a confident and competent user. If ever you require additional support or would like a Telephone Teach-In from one of our Technical Team please call +44 1761 241 601 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Total Support with Portacare®

3 or 5 Year Total Maintenance Program to completely cap the cost of ownership and guaranty maximum availability. Back up units provided in the event of unit breakages with beyond Warranty levels of support.

For further information, download PDF

Trustable Reliability: Portalevel® Mini

Through the constant evolution and refinement of our offering, the Portalevel Mini was created to offer customers an even more compact, versatile unit to further enhance the ease with which fire system can be tested. Offering totally hands free operation with the unit hanging around the operators’ neck, both hands are free to work with the trusted reliability offered by the 7th Generation. Here, few features are quickly enlisted which are provided with this portable ultrasonic level indicator.

Features Available with Portalevel® Mini

  • Three years warranty
  • Lifetime Support
  • Calibration and training certificates available
  • Fast Operation
  • Service a cylinder in under a minute
  • Ultrasonic technology
  • No radiation and non-intrusive
  • LCD and bright LED display
  • Class Approved
  • Accurate to 1.5mm

Function of Portable Ultrasonic Liquid Level Indicator

The Portalevel® MINI is the 7th generation unit of its kind. It is based on the Portamarine ® design with the key modification for hands-free use. Ideal for testing in difficult to access areas where hands free use is beneficial to enable the operator to move around the area more easily. The Portalevel® range is used for identifying the content of critical fire suppression cylinders. A wide variety of fire suppressant agents can be monitored including: CO2, Dupont™, FM-200™, NOVEC™1230, old Halons such as 1301 and 1211, FE-13™, FE-25™, FE-36™ and HFC-225 & 227. The 7th generation model is tailored to suit those operators who want a small, compact unit for easy testing. It is more accurate (to 1.5mm+/-), quicker and safer than weighing cylinders.

  • Portable: Lightweight small unit which comes with a durable, rugged case
  • Easy to Use: No formal training necessary, accessible to a wide range of audiences and is easy for existing Portalevel® operators to adapt to
  • Durable: The unit is housed in a solid plastic enclosure ideally suited to protecting the internal electronics, even if the unit is lightly dropped or slightly roughly handled.
  • SPA Feature: This liquid level indicator has this feature, which is used to increase the power output of the unit and increase the sensitivity of the unit when registering the return signal.

For further information, Download PDF

The Future: Continuously Monitoring Hatch Covers at Sea

Permascanner® Dynamic is our semi-fixed ultrasonic watertight integrity test indicating system for the dynamic testing of Hatch Covers, Holds, bulkheads, cable transits and watertight doors and compartments at sea. Derived from its sister product the Portascanner®, Permascanner® Dynamic is designed to quickly identify leak sites in their extent and precise location, whilst at sea.
Permascanner® Dynamic allows a pattern of readings to be recorded against varying sea states, enabling a true picture of the seal integrity to be recorded over time. It efficiently helps you for hatch covers integrity, multiple cable transit areas testing and watertight doors continuously over varying sea-state states. The ultrasonic hatch cover testing system will enables Marine Superintendants, Barge Supervisors or OIMs to embody its highly accurate readings into an enhanced on board safety procedure.

Key Benefits for Possessing Hatch Cover Testing

Here are the quick list of benefits you can enjoy with hatch cover maintenance and watertight integrity testing system manufactured by Coltraco with lowest price and high quality.

  • Instant Notification with the use of alarms to alert Officers & Crew that all hatch covers are closed & sealed at all times
  • Continuous Operation which means 10 day/3000NM continuous monitoring of hatch cover seals
  • Magnetically Mounted Base means no fuss in setup as generator can be easily attached to the hold.
  • Enhance Risk Management through integration with performance standard procedures for vessel, cargo and safety of Life at Sea
  • High Accuracy with which you can identify leaks as small as 0.06 mm ± 0.02 mm

You can also check out individual products for hatch cover testing

What is the Portalevel® Standard?

The Portalevel® Standard is a popular ultrasonic liquid indicator unit for core land based fire protection applications worldwide.

By 1987 Mr E C Hunter had began designing the world’s first dedicated marine portable liquid level indicator, able to monitor multi-banked rows of cylinders aboard commercial vessels

Whilst the original monitoring device was complex to use, its accuracy was unparalleled, able to read cylinders to within 1/8th of an inch or +/- 1.5 mm.

The ultrasonic liquid level indicator, is produced for land based fire protection applications.

Package Contents of Portalevel® Standard 7

The pinned package of 7th generation of Portalevel® Standard contains following components:

  • 1 Potalevel Standard unit
  • Ultrasonic Gel, 1 Wet Sensor
  • Calibration Certificate
  • 1 Hard Wearing Carrying Case
  • Operating Instructions

Accuracy

+/-1.5mm or 1/8 inch

Verifiable Agents

FM 200™, CO2, H2O, NOVEC™ 1230, Halons such as FE-13™, HFC-225 & 2271, FE-36™, FE-25™, 1301 and 1211 are some of the verifiable agents.

Certificates

Coltraco has numerous certifications for the following product such as CE, Classification Society Approved- RINA and ISO 19011 Registered.

Operating Temperature

The operating temperature for the following device is -20°C to +70°C or 68°F to 158°F) and Relative Humidity is -5 % - 95 %.

Sensor 2

TX / RX Dry Sensor come 14 mm in diameter head and contains magnetized sensor applicator and is connected by BNC connectors to 1 m length co ax – cable.

Dimensions

Width: 95 mm (3.74 inches)
Height: 155 mm (6.10 inches)
Weight: 500 grams (17.63 ounces)
Depth: 45 mm (1.77 inches)

Power Supply

It comes with the power supply of 4 x AA 1.5 V batteries, which can function for 10 hours.

Display

The display showing numeric digital comes as LCD with LED Bar Graph

Warranty

Coltraco offers 3 years warranty for the main unit and 1 year for the sensor. Moreover, there can be exceptions available and customer support is always available for the users.

Classification

This liquid level indicator comes with the classification of IP Rating 65 and NATO Stock Number: 6680-99-275-5292

For more information, leave your question at Coltraco Online Support.

Monitor your hatch covers

Permascanner® Dynamic is our semi-fixed ultrasonic watertight integrity test indicating system for the dynamic testing of hatch covers, holds, bulkheads, cable transits and watertight doors and compartments at sea. Derived from its sister product the Portascanner®, Permascanner™ Dynamic is designed to quickly identify leak sites in their extent and precise location, whilst at sea. It was found that a comprehensive, autonomous continuous monitoring system for the watertight integrity of a ship’s cargo hatches, weathertight doors and other seals is possible to be developed. One that is capable of automatically detecting emerging leak sites, alerting officers and crew of the location and severity of the leak site and logging all data for future review. The developments in continuous monitoring technology being undertaken by Coltraco Ultrasonics will drive the industry towards ensuring that watertight integrity is never left to chance.

Using a portable ultrasonic watertight integrity tester, Coltraco Ultrasonics’ Portascanner® functions on similar principles, detecting the smallest leak size 0.06 mm in diameter which is the most mathematically accurate in the world +/-0.02mm. As an example of how a leak will compromise the stability of a vessel, a leak diameter of one mm under just one metres depth of water below sea level will correspond to a leak of 12,500 millilitres per hour. This means up to 911 cans of soft drinks worth of water in a day. This highlights the importance of watertight integrity.

Portascanner® Watertight is ideal for cable transit areas watertight testing whereas considered appropriate for scuttles, shell doors, hatch – covers, doors, flanges and steering gear hatches are the few others. Manufactured within modern terms, it qualifies to cope up with inspection of leak sites of critical sealing.

Technical Specifications of Portascanner® Watertight

Here below are the technical specifications, which you want to know:

Readings

It has the capacity to read the audio via head – band electrodynamics headphones and numerical readings through 1 to 31775 through the integrated LCD screen display.

Microphone

As far as the microphone of this device is concerned, it has a rod measured to be 310 mm*25 mm as length*diameter (2). Moreover, it is comprised of three parts, which are manufactured to be screwed up together and possess a connection by bnC connectors to 1m length co-ax cable.

Receiver

Portascanner® receiver come with the installed frequency response to 20 – 18000 habitable zone, impedance if 32 Ohms (+/-) 5% Sensitivity – 105 dB SPL at 1 Kilohertz and Adaptor Plug of 3.5 mm to 6.3 mm type.

Display

As far as the display of this device is concerned, this watertight compartment doors testing device comes with a membrane control operating system and LCD backlit Display which measures to be 55*28 mm.

Power Supply

Generator is integrated with 2*PP3 9V which means it makes a span of 10 hours functioning without recharge whereas Receiver Unit comes with 1*PP3 9V battery that also makes the same time span.

Dimensions of Portascanner Watertight Main Unit/ Generator

Main Unit

Width: 82 mm (3.22 inches)
Height: 215 mm (8.46 inches)
Weight: 420 g (14.82 ounces)
Depth: 30 mm (1.18 inches)

Generator

It comes with following dimensions mentioned below whereas other than this, it is manufactured with 0.1 Watt / 100 dB unidirectional speakers and mounting method or permanent magnet.

Width: 111 mm (4.37 inches)
Height: 90 mm (3.54 inches)
Weight: 430g (15.17 ounces)
Depth: 50 mm (1.97 inches)

Operating Temperature

This product operates within -20°C to +70°C (68°F to 158°F) flawlessly.

Package Contents of Portascanner® Watertight

In regards to the total number of accessories and parts that should be available in the pinned packing should contain following components:

  • 1 Portascanner watertight
  • 1 generator
  • 1 headphone
  • 1 receiver
  • 1 hardwearing carrying case
  • Calibration Certificate

What is the Portagauge® 4?

The Portagauge® 4 is an analytical thickness gauge from Coltraco. Offering unparalleled accuracy, this uses 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 is required, the Portagauge® 4 is the ideal solution with a variety of sensor options available, this range of portable ultrasonic thickness gauge of units can easily be adapted to a variety of different roles and requirements.

  • Three years warranty
  • Lifetime support
  • Ignores paint layer
  • Designed for corrosion testing
  • Ultrasonic technology
  • 50 hour battery life
  • Accurate to 0.1mm off the true liquid level
  • 2,25MHz probe included as standard

Features of Portagauge¢ IV

  • 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 recommended 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, polyethylene, grey cast iron amongst others. With the integration of ultrasonic gas leak detector, the efficiency of the entire system can be increased. 
  • 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 about the product, download PDF

Experienced Manufacturer of Ultrasonic Equipment – Coltraco Ultrasonics

Portalevel® is an ultrasonic liquid level indicator. Today, Coltraco Ltd has successfully released 8 generation of this ultrasonic level indicator.

Coltraco Ultrasonics have a wide range of products in their range: Portamarine®, Portascanner®, Permalevel®, Portaguage®, Portasonic®, Portamonitor®, Portasteele®, Permascanner® and Portacare®.

Efficient Coltraco Customer Care

  • Guarantee for three years
  • Terms and Conditions for further details
  • Life time technical support is available of the equipment through email and telephone
  • Guaranteed is provided against workmanship and materials

Pinned Packing

Liquid Level Indicator comes with packing under Coltraco Ltd, which contains entire accessories that can increase the efficiency of this measuring product. Other optional accessories are also provided upon request in order to enhance the efficiency. Due to the strict and rigorous quality check and careful hand built, the assurance is available for quality and high standard services to the customers.

The pinned package of 7th generation of Portalevel® Standard contains following things:

  • 1 Hard Wearing Carrying Case
  • 1 Portalevel® Standard unit
  • Calibration Certificate
  • Ultrasonic Gel, 1 Wet Sensor
  • Operating Instructions

For further information, you can download PDF

Benefits of the Portapipe®

Quick & Convenient

The ultrasonic leak detector is a simple solution with few limitations and is easy to learn how to operate. Just one person can complete testing by giving a thorough corrosion evaluation over a short period of time.

World-Class Accuracy

It is considered 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. Furthermore, it can test for faults and leaks in 10-50mm diameter pipe, 1mm up to 12m range and 1mm+ at longer range.

Comprehensive Analysis

The 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 problematic areas in the system.

For further information, contact Coltraco Customer Support

Portalevel® Max Marine Technical Specifications

With the recent difficulties that the shipping industry is facing, Coltraco Ultrasonics understand the need for practical, labour saving and cost-efficient solutions to safety issues.  However, maintaining high standards of fire safety practice does not have to be expensive or time consuming, Coltraco strive to provide easy and long lasting solutions that are suitable to varying budgets. There is a call to respond to regulations with a rigorous attitude, to go above and beyond, to provide security of life and infrastructure. Installations must be maintained so that they can provide the protection that they are intended for. Fire can cause crippling financial, physical and reputational damage to happen to crew, vessel and cargo. 2017 Coltraco developed a quick, easy and safer solution to weighing the ships’ fire suppression system: Portalevel® MAX Marine + Portasteele® Calculator.

The Portalevel® 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. Innovative methods of inspecting leaking cylinders with ultrasonics, enables identification in under 30 seconds using Portalevel® MAX Marine with one person, instead of the traditional 15 minutes, with two people labouriously shutting down the system, dismantling the cylinders and weighing them. Using ultrasonic technology - to pinpoint the liquid level of suppressant agent in the cylinders of the extinguishing system - testing is quicker and easier. 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. Combined with the Portasteele® Calculator, the weight can be found in just 30 seconds more. It is an advanced calculator application, that converts the liquid level height of C02, NOVEC™ 1230 or FM-200® liquefied gaseous extinguishant agent readings taken on the Portalevel® into the agent weight/mass. There is no other similar alternative to weighing available on the market. Furthermore, the Portasteele® can convert an expected agent weight back to the required liquid level allowing users to anticipate where the level should be. This method also enables recording and downloading of the data, adding value to servicing reports and improving the safety management system for a auditable data trail.

 This ultrasonic level indicator allows users to measure stacked rows of cylinders common practice on vessels and offshore installations.

Technical Specifications of Portalevel Intrinsically

Here, we have enlisted technical specs available with this liquid level indicator – Portalevel Max Marine. Give it a look!

Dimensions

  • Width: 82mm
  • Depth: 30mm
  • Height: 160mm
  • Weight: 300grams

Accuracy

+/- 1.5mm (1/8 inch)

Operating Temperature

-20°C to +70°C (68°F to 158°F)

Sensor
Here are the details for sensor:
TX/RX Dry Sensor

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

Mini Extension Rod Sensor

  • 1 meter in length
  • 12mm in diameter
  • Connected by bnC connectors to 1 m length co-ax cable.

Verifiable Agents

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

Power Supply

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

Display

Membrane control operated, LCD backlit Display measuring 55 x 28 mm

Classification

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

Certificates

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

Warranty

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

Portalevel Max Marine Content
The package of liquid level indicator comes 1 Potalevel MAX unit with other products, such as:

  • 1 Hard Wearing Carrying Case for protection from damage
  • 1 Wet Sensor
  • 1 Mini 12mm Extension Rod
  • 1 Portatherm
  • Ultrasonic Gel
  • Calibration certificate

For further information, download PDF

Do your machinery bear the test of time?

Coltraco’s Portamonitor® is a sophisticated AE device that combines Distress® and db levels that provides a real-time evaluation to give the user accurate knowledge of any defects that may be present in any kind of bearing, for example; roller and ball types. Sound generated by friction and impacts caused by poor lubrication or bearing damage propagates as a stress wave, detectable by the Portamonitor®.

Signal is processed at sensor level allowing quick and effective diagnostics. The Portamonitor® can be used for pre-service (proof) testing as well as in-service (re-qualification) testing and condition monitoring. 

What are Distress® and db level?

Together Distress® and db level help diagnose defects at sensor level by providing simple alert indications relating to phenomena occurring at the defect location. Generally speaking, Distress® provides an instant indication of the health of the bearings. It measures the transient activity, such as impacts, friction and surface deformation caused by micro-pitting and fractures.
The overall measurement is the summation of abnormal signals generated by defective bearings. Elastic waves that are produced as a result of cracks, fractures or debris produce different frequencies. Algorithms inside the Portamonitor® sort this data for comparison against acceptable limits categorised by a number.

The display on the Portamonitor® will show a numeric value indicating the level of distress, for instance: 5-10 indicates the system in “OK”. Between the value of 10-15 indicates the system is “SUSPECT”, and requires further monitoring, whereas >15 indicates a “POOR” system and requires attention. To help with this understanding, the following chart shows simulated example results and a description of what can be immediately determined:

Looking at this data an operator can determine that gearbox No. 1 and 5 need further investigation, with 5 being the priority since gearbox 1 is SUSPECT, but gearbox 5 is POOR. It may be the case that lubricating a bearing may show a decrease in the Distress® value to an acceptable level thus avoiding a shut-down period. This can be determined at this point.

In use alongside Distress®, db level indicators are used which show the overall bearing noise. This is dependent on rotating speed and will increase as rotating speeds increases, but will also increase during the degradation of bearings, or if inadequate lubrication is present. Decibel indicators work on a logarithmic scale, which basically translates very large or very small numbers into a more intuitive form, usually between 0 – 100. Sharp increases in db level indicate imminent failure. Also, db trends can be monitored to establish the overall condition of bearings. Again, to show this we look at some example data to the right.

The trend of db level with time is particularly useful for indicating the rate of deterioration. As can be seen on this chart. This increase in db level over time indicates a serious problem prevailing. Most of the complicated post-processing has been completed within the device making it very easy to understand. Both of these parameters are included simultaneously on the Portamonitor® providing a time and cost effective all-around simple to use device suitable for the monitoring of bearing degradation in all industries. 

Worlds first and only: weight measurement from liquid level reading

The Portasteele Calculator is a type of stand alone unit, which is based on a 7’’ hand-held tablet. The application converts the liquid level obtained with any Portalevel™ unit into the exact fill-weight of agent inside the cylinder.

The Portasteele™ Calculator calculates the fill weight of a fire suppression cylinder. It does this using the fill level determined by our Portalevel® unit, or inversely using the required fill level for a certain weight of suppression agent. The Portasteele® Calculator is sold as a stand-alone unit on a 7’’ hand-held tablet to be used in conjunction with our Portalevel range. This Continuous gas weight monitoring system is capable of converting the liquid level obtained with any Portalevel™ unit, into the exact fill-weight of agent inside the cylinder. It therefore replaces the use of manual calculations and formulas.

Why buy from Coltraco Limited?

Let us share few glimpse of our story with you, which majorly focuses on commitment and dedication. Since 1987,Coltraco Ultrasonics has been to safety designing and manufacturing ultrasonic instrumentation for safety and servicing.

Ready-to-go-Package

The Portasteele® Calculator which is fire suppression cylinder fill weight calculator comes in a ready-to-go-package complete with all items required to carry out liquid level indication with recording capability. The package directly by Coltraco Limited contains main unit, carrying case, sensor set, cables, accessories and instruction manual.

Our Portalevel® Max 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. We believe in dedication to being a Safeship™ and Safesite™ company, encouraging safety for safety’s sake.

For further information, contact customer service.

Testing Room Integrity with Coltraco Ultrasonic

The Portascanner 520 is an ultrasonic room integrity tester, which complements door fan-testing device. Here are some of the features for complying with regulations for clean agent fire suppressing systems, give it a look!

Current Situation:

Before installing clean agent fire suppressing systems the integrity of the building structure commonly undergoes “Door Fan Testing:. This test determines the Peak Pressure and Agent hold time necessary for ensuring the effectiveness of these fire suppression systems. As required by NFPA 2001 and ISO 14520 standards, it is best to calculate the overall leakage of any room.

Limitations:

Locating exact leak sites as an ultrasonic leak detector is currently done by a “puffer test” with smoke. However, such current methods do no provide precise, accurate results on leak location or size.

Solution:

Today, the industry can benefit from using the Portascanner Integrity Test Indicator along the door fan testing for a complete and comprehensive regulatory room test. Ideal for precise leak detection, Portascanner 520 is an exceptionally accurate up to 0.06mm and fast method to find leaks. It is the first of its kind, intuitive to use, non-invasive and consequently, is of immediate use to the fire industry.

Continuously monitor your gaseous extinguishing systems

Focused on continued advancement of safety technology, Coltraco have now developed the Permalevel® Multiplex, a fixed fire suppression monitoring device, designed for permanent 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 at a nuclear power plant.

The application of the Permalevel® reaches further, with customers using this equipment in alternate specialist and confidential manners to ensure safety in the station. 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 now a requirement at nuclear energy sites. The likes of the Atomic Energy Authority asked Coltraco Ultrasonics to tailor make them a solution to constantly monitor a special application using the Permalevel® Single Point for over 10 years.

The Portascanner® 520 is the most mathematically accurate device available providing precise data concerning leak locations and aperture. It is unrivalled in its precision, non-invasive methodology and ease of use, and is the first unit of its kind to be available for a holistic approach to fire safety in complement to Coltraco’s range of equipment for testing fire extinguishing systems.

It is perfectly positioned to work alongside Door Fan testing in order to meet the total requirements for fire safety regulations and ensure the continuous fire protection of rooms using Clean Agent Fire Suppression systems. As Door Fan Testing has been proven to be a reliable and trusted method of room testing by industry experts, it is expected that its dominance shall continue in the near future. The immediate use of the Portascanner® lies in its improvement of the final stage of room integrity testing –  the search for leak sites in the case of a leakage excess –  for which it can vastly improve accuracy and operational efficiency. A device such as this has never been used before in this industry, and is the first to place emphasis directly on this important aspect of room integrity testing.

Tech Features of Constant Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Monitoring System

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

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

For further information, contact Coltraco Customer Support

Why Choose Coltraco Ultrasonics?

Coltraco Ultrasonics is a world leading British designer and manufacturer of ultrasonic fire safety instrumentation.
Protect your people, assets & infrastructure from fire by monitoring your 1. fire suppression systems 2. compartmentation and 3. condition monitoring.

  1. Liquefied pressurised gaseous extinguishing systems by our flagship UL and ABS approved Portalevel® MAX range of products and our unique fixed monitoring system, Permalevel®.
  2. Compartmentation testing in buildings and civil engineering structures to supplement Door Fan Testing  with Portascanner® 520.
  3. Condition monitoring through bearing monitoring, thickness gauging and flow monitoring.

We are committed to our Safesite® mission: safety for safety's sake; aiming to supply equipment to help our customers reduce risk to life, business and facilities.

Liquid level sensor the one like 7th generation of Portalevel® Standard is an efficient device. The package of 7th generation of Portalevel® Standard contains the following units with the details which are mentioned below:

Hardy Carrying Case

This is the box, which contains the entire ingredients and accessories properly check and enclosed in tight packaging. It is maintained hard to assure the safety of all the accessories placed within.

Main Unit

An IP65 enclosure unit which weighs just 500 grams is known as the main unit of 7th generation of Portalevel® Standard – ultrasonic liquid level indicator. It is integrated with LCD numeric display, 4 touch button controls and LED Bar Graph.

Dry Sensor

This is a standard dry sensor which is available with the entire series of Portalevel® units. This applicator is manufactured out of metal, which is connected to the unit with the help of BNC connector and 1-meter ax cable.

Ultrasonic Gel

Enclosed in a bottle, this gel agent is significant to allow the increment in the contact surface of the dry sensor. These sensors designed by Coltraco are manufactured in a way to efficiently work with tap water as well.

For further details and imagery demonstration, Download PDF

Portascanner® - Watertight Integrity Tester for Hatch Covers, MCTs and Watertight Doors

The extent of the leak is indicated by the numerical readout by this hatch cover maintenance and watertight integrity-testing device. In terms of the numerical readout:

  • High values indicate a full leak site
  •  “6 - 100” or “1 dB - 26 dB” indicates weather-tightness only
  • “0 - 5” or ”0 dB” indicates seal watertight integrity
  • “101+” or “27 dB+” indicates weak seal compression

Technical Features of Portascanner Watertight

Here below are the technical specifications for receiver and generator, which you want to know:

Technical Specifications - Receiver

  • Powered By: 1 x 9V PP3 batteries with low battery indication
  • Weight: 419 Grams
  • Battery Life: 10 hours continuous use minimum
  • Size: 21.5cm x 8.5cm W x 3.5cm H
  • Enclosure: Aluminum IP65 Waterproof
  • Output:  1 watt (maximum) audible signal (via calibrated headphones with visual 4 digit LCD display and graph)

The receiver of this ultrasonic leak detector uses ultrasonic technology to convert the 40KHz pulses sent by the generator into three easily comprehensible readings: audible, bar graph and numerical which enables the operator to understand if the seal is wholly watertight or to what extent a leak exists.

Portascanner Watertight is especially designed to enhance the ease and accuracy with which critical airtight, watertight or weather tight seals can be inspected for leak sites or areas of reduced compression in the seal.

Technical Specifications of Portascanner’s Generator

  • Powered By: 2 x 9V PP3 batteries
  • Weight: 431 Grams
  • Battery Life: 10 hours minimum
  • Size: 15cm L x 9cm W x 5cm H
  • Enclosure: ABS material
  • Mounting Arrangements: Permanent Magnet
  • Output:  0.1 watt/100dB unidirectional

The generator is an ultrasonic generator with three transducers. This will produce a strong signal in one direction i.e. directly from the transducer, which fills the compartment being tested with ultrasound pulses e.g. providing sufficient coverage to fill the hold when the hatch-covers are closed. The generator is permanently fitted with a powerful magnet which allows it to be attached to the vessel structure where required. A magnet cover is provided when the magnet is not in use.

For further information, download PDF

Numbers in the Fire Industry

31˚C - CO2’s critical point: the temperature at which CO2 turns totally from liquid to gas.

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.

50-55˚C   -  critical points of FM-200® and Novec™1230 (turning from liquid to 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.

14520 - the ISO standard regarding fire systems from installation with regard to room integrity through to maintenance and inspection of contents

ISO 14520-1:2015(E) specifically states in 6.2.4.2 Contents Indication that - Means shall be provided to indicate that each container is correctly charged and in 9.2.1.1 At least annually, or more frequently as required by the authority, all systems shall be thoroughly inspected and tested for proper operation by competent personnel. Under ISO 14520 where gaseous extinguishing systems have to be designed in relation to the discharging agent hold-time (if the room cannot hold the agent because of leaks the agent will disperse and not extinguish the fire) and discharging agent peak pressure (if the pressure is too high for partition walls or suspended ceilings they will be blown apart or damaged and possibly destroying the room integrity). At the design stage of a fire extinguishing system rooms are tested for room integrity by positively pressurising a room and detecting escaping pressure to verify that the room itself into which the gaseous extinguishant discharges on actuation can both hold the agent after its discharge and hold its pressure on actuation. The fire system is then installed and commissioned. However,  over the next 10 years no further tests are made on room integrity and the cylinders merely hydrostatically tested to ensure they can cope with their design pressure limits. How can one be sure therefore that on actuation the room will hold the discharged agent to extinguish the fire and its partitions and ceilings are capable of withstanding the pressure of the agent on discharge?

5% - loss of agent above which it is deemed unacceptable in liquefied gaseous extinguishing system and thus requires refilling. 10% - loss of pressure above which it is deemed unacceptable in liquefied gaseous extinguishing systems and thus requires refilling

The risks of accidental discharge or leakage is recognised within the regulations.  BS EN ISO 14520 -1:2015(E) reasonably assumes that the execution of its provisions is entrusted to people qualified and experienced in the specification, design, installation, commissioning, testing, approval, inspection, operation and maintenance of systems and equipment, and who can be expected to exercise a duty of care to avoid unnecessary release of extinguishant. The assumptions in the installation, commissioning and maintenance of gaseous extinguishing systems is that they are highly pressurised but risk leaking and discharging. The regulations that sensibly underpin this assumption aim to identify their leak identification at an interval of every 6 months. Cylinders accidentally discharge. CO2 can cause fatalities if it does. 1% of pressure gauges fail and 25% of valves too. 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, then a 5% loss of agent may mean that they would not fully extinguish the fire. What if there are also leak sites in the room? The likelihood of the gaseous system effectively extinguishing the fire gets lower and lower.

What features does Coltraco integrate in Portalevel Intrinsically Safe?

Some customers operate in specific environment where the presence of potentially dangerous gases can be experienced. Examples of this can include Oil and Gas Drilling, Petrochemical Refining and Processing, Fuel Storage, Chemical Manufacturing and many similar environments. To cater for such customers who need to inspect fire systems in such environments we have developed the ATEX Approved this Portalevel device specified to Zone 1 environments.

Technical Specifications of Intrinsically Safe

Here are some of the important technical specifications of this ultrasonic liquid level indicator:

Accuracy

+/-1.5mm (1/8 inch)

Dimensions

Height: 200 mm (7.87 inches)
Width: 82 mm (3.22 inches)
Depth: 30 mm (1.18 inches)
Weight: 350 grams (12.35 ounces)

Verifiable Agents

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

Sensor2

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.

Power Supply

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

Classification

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

Operating Temperature

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

Certificates

  • CE
  • ISO 19011 Registered
  • Zone 1 ATEX Certified
  • UL Approved

Display

  • Membrane control operated
  • LCD backlit
  • Display measuring 55 x 28 mm

Warranty
Main Unit: 3 Years Warranty
Sensor: 1 Year
Warranty: Lifetime Customer Support
Package Contents
This pin packed Portalevel package comes with full equipment best as an ultrasonic level sensor:

  • 1 Portalevel® Intrinsically safe unit
  • 1 Wet Sensor
  • Ultrasonic Gel
  • 1 Hard Wearing Carrying Case
  • Calibration certificate

For further information, please contact Coltraco Customer Service

Technical Features of the 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.

Some customers operate in specific environment where the presence of potential chances of checking the non-invasive flow meter. Examples of this can include Oil and Gas Drilling, Petrochemical Refining and processing, Fuel Storage, Chemical manufacturing and many similar environments. To cater for such customers who need to inspect fire systems in such environments, we have developed the non-invasive flow meter.

Technical Specifications of Portasonic®

Here, we have enlisted technical specs available with this ultrasonic flow meter. Give it a look!

Dimensions

  • Height: 204mm
  • Width: 100mm
  • Weight: 600grams
  • Depth: 35mm

Verifiable Agents

Virtually any liquid containing less than 2% total suspended solids or aeration

Accuracy

±1.0%-2.0% of reading at rates >0.5 m/s ±0.003 m/s of reading at rates

Ultrasonic Transducer Head x2

  • 42x25x25mm or 60x43x43 mm or 80x53x53mm diameter head
  • Contained within a IP67 protective casing;
  • Cable length Std: 4m (12ft); (optional 25m (75ft)

Power Supply

  • 2 AAA Ni-H built-in batteries (battery life approximately 12 hours)
  • 1 x Charger 100V-240VAC

Operating Temperature

Std. Temp. Transducer: -40C ~ 121C (-40F ~ 250F) High Temp. Transducer: -40C ~ 250C (-40F ~ 484F)

Display

Backlit LCD 4 line×16 character, English menu.

Standard displays:

  • Total flow
  • Flow Rate
  • Velocity
  • Meter running status etc

Output

OCT Pulse, Relay, RS232C or RS484 Hart +(4~20mA), Modbus

Sensitivity

Flow Rate: 0.001 ft/s (0.0003 m/s)

Warranty

  • Main Unit: 1 Years Warranty
  • Lifetime Customer Support

Portalevel Content

  • 1 Portasonic unit
  • 1 Clamp-on Sensor & Cables
  • 1 Hardy Carrying Case
  • Calibration certificate
  • Operating Instructions
  • Sensor couplant (gel)

Protect your vessel with the Portascanner® Watertight?

The Portascanner® Watertight is a watertight integrity testing device. It 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.

Receiver

  • The receiver is tuned to detect a specific frequency of ultrasound.
  • The receiver comes with a sensor rod, which allows a user to scan the entirety of a seal at close range.
  • The receiver has both a visual and audio output which gives off better results for Hatch cover maintenance and watertight integrity testing.
  • The visual output is shown on the LCD screen of the receiving unit. It is read mathematically and in decibels.
  • There is a numerical representation, which can be changed into a decibel (dB) reading, allowing seals to be tested to certification society standards.
  • There is also a bar graph representation of the strength of the ultrasonic signal, which is being detected.
  • The audio signal is delivered via headphones, which plug into the receiver unit (standard 3.5 mm jack).
  • The receiver uses a process called heterodyning to change the ultrasound signal received into an audio signal, which the user can hear.

Generator

  • The generator is placed on one side of a sealed compartment and turned on.
  • The user stands on the other side of the compartment and uses the sensor rod to scan the seal.
  • The receiver displays the strength of detected signal on the screen and the user can also hear it through the headphones.
  • Leak sites will be apparent from increased signal strength
  • This will be shown by an increase in the readings on the screen display and in the volume of the audio signal

Portascanner® Functionality

We have mentioned the details of two main functioning unit of this ultrasonic hatch cover tester below:

Generator – Portascanner® Watertight

The generator is an ultrasonic generator with three transducers. This will produce a strong signal in one direction i.e. directly from the transducer, which fills the compartment being tested with ultrasound pulses e.g. providing sufficient coverage to fill the hold when the hatch-covers are closed. The generator is permanently fitted with a powerful magnet which allows it to be attached to the vessel’s structure where required. A magnet cover is provided when the magnet is not in use

Receiver – Portascanner® Watertight

The receiver uses ultrasonic technology to convert the 40KHz pulses sent by the generator into three easily comprehensible readings: audible, bar graph and numerical which enables the operator to understand if the seal is wholly watertight or to what extent a leak exists.

For further information, Download PDF

What is the Permalevel® Multiplex?

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.

Coltraco are raising awareness that annual certification checks on a fire system cannot cater for the need to monitor its contents for the rest of the year. The Permalevel Multiplex is designed to ensure that fire suppression systems with integrated alarm system and ultrasonic level indicator 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.

Permalevel Multiplex Data Monitoring

Remotely monitor the ongoing status of your facilities' fire suppression systems by installing Permalevel Multiplex and using our flexible web- based cylinder monitoring software that uses intuitive management tools; giving confidence and control to safety managers around the world.

Asset Management

It protects your people, data, and high value assets by improving your safety management regimes by going above and beyond simply complying with regulations

Efficiency

This system with installed liquid level indicator reduces the need for labour by introducing remote, autonomous monitoring; the systems is mobile-device friendly so it is readily available on any hand-held device with web access

Insurance

This fire extinguishing system protect yourself against claims raised in the event of fire by showing your facilities have been protected and well maintained. The data output is audit controlled which thereby acts as evidence if called upon by insurance companies.

Real-time automated alerts and exception reporting are relayed to the person in charge of the safety of the facility directly by email or to their handheld device by SMS, without the need for the individual to be present at the facilities.

Sinking and Fire are the Two Main Causes of Vessel Loss

Aforementioned, sinking and fire are the two main causes of vessel loss; mitigating these risks is our mission.
A lack of proper servicing of seals can lead to deterioration which endangers the lives of the crew, cargo and vessel. For example, the National Transportation Safety Board 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”. The tragedy of El Faro exemplifies 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.

The IMO SOLAS Fire Safety Systems (FSS) code states clearly that the crew must have the means on-board to test its CO2 in-between the annual maintenance interval. The amount of CO2 designed into the system normally exceeds the design concentration calculated to extinguish the worst event by 20%. Gaseous Systems are highly pressurised at 49Bar or 720 psi and can leak as they exist in a dynamic state. Anecdotal evidence suggests that 20% of cylinders aboard ships are partially empty or empty. To ensure the CO2 system contains the correct amount of CO2 to deliver the design concentration that will be needed to extinguish the fire event if it occurs, ships need to test their CO2 systems for contents in-between the annual certification checks by marine servicing companies.

The initiative will continue to work over the longer term by ensuring regulations are implemented and encouraging operators, owners and managers to go above and beyond to secure the Safeship® through minimising risk. Coltraco Ultrasonics focus on benefitting the crew; designing innovative ultrasonic solutions which promote safety culture, which the crew will be happy to use by being easy to operate, quick, accurate and a better method to traditional techniques. This can be in-between the statutory annual maintenance and certification intervals provided by shore-based contractors. 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.

What does the Portalevel® Mini offer to customers?

Through the constant evolution and refinement of our offering, the Portalevel Mini was created to offer customers an even more compact, versatile unit to further enhance the ease with which fire systems can be tested. Offering totally hands free operation with the unit hanging around the operators’ neck, both hands are free to work with the trusted reliability offered by the 7th Generation.

Specifications of Portalevel Mini
These ultrasonic monitoring is manufacturing keeping the food industry as a core target. Here are the features of this liquid level indicator which convince any clients to make its purchasing:

  • Three years of warranty
  • Lifetime Support
  • Calibration & training certificates available
  • Ultrasonic technology – no radiation and non-intrusive
  • 5 tried and tested applications
  • Enjoy our Customer Care Commitment
  • 2 Sensors for double the technology capability

Technical Specifications of Portalevel Mini

Dimensions

  • Height: 98 mm (3.86 inches)
  • Width: 158 mm (6.22 inches)
  • Depth: 45.5 mm (1.80 inches)
  • Weight: 420 grams (14.82 ounces)

Accuracy
+/-1.5mm (1/8 inch)
Verifiable Agents
CO2, H20, FM-200™, NOVEC™1230, old Halons such as 1301 and 1211, FE-13™, FE-25™, FE-36™, HFC-225 & 2271
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.

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

Display

LCD Numeric Digital Display with LED Bar Graph

Operating Temperature

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

Certificates

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

Classification

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

Warranty

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

Package Content of Portalevel Liquid Level Sensor
This ultrasonic level sensor comes with following packaging:

  • 1 Portalevel® Mini unit
  • 1 Wet Sensor
  • 1 20 mm Extension Rod
  • Ultrasonic Gel
  • 1 Hard Wearing Carrying Case
  • Calibration certificate

Utility of Portalevel® MAX INDUSTRIAL 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:

A manufacturer of high-end components for Aerospace and other high-end engineering. The Wolver-hampton 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.

Coltraco known to be Leaders for Ultrasonic Monitoring and Measuring Equipment

The Portalevel® is an world leading  ultrasonic liquid level indicator. Today, Coltraco Ltd has successfully released 8 generations of this ultrasonic level indicator.

As far as the other series are concerned, Coltraco Ltd has other products, which are best for monitoring fire extinguishers in diverse qualification. These contain Portamarine®, Portascanner®, Permalevel®, Portaguage®, Portasonic®, Portamonitor®, Portasteele®, Permascanner® and Portacare®.

Efficient Coltraco Customer Care

  • Terms and Conditions for further details
  • Life time technical support is available of the equipment through email and telephone
  • Guarantee for three years
  • Guaranteed is provided against workmanship and materials

Pinned Packing

Other optional accessories are also provided for the Portalevel. Due to the strict and rigorous quality check and careful hand built, the assurance is available for quality and high standard services to the customers.

The pinned package of 7th generation of Portalevel® Standard contains following things:

  • 1 Potalevel Standard unit
  • Calibration Certificate
  • Ultrasonic Gel, 1 Wet Sensor
  • Operating Instructions
  • 1 Hard Wearing Carrying Case

For further information, you can download PDF

Benefits of the Portascanner® 520

The Portascanner 520 is an ultrasonic room integrity tester , which means it is a complement door fan-testing device. Here are some of the features for complying with regulations for clean agent fire suppressing systems, give it a look!

Three Core Benefits

Coltraco offers a class range of products out of which, these three benefits are offered with room integrity tester are:

World-Class Accuracy

The most accurate unit of its type locating a leak site via visual/ audible readings and identifying its extent with a definitive numerical result is the most important this device comes with. It can test leaks as small as 0.06mm. Compared to the rival puffer test technology, which is a purely visual inspection.

Quick & Easy to use

It is a simple system that is both easy to learn and operate. Testing can be completed quickly by one person and can also be done without disrupting the building occupants, unlike smoke puffer tests which involve evacuating a building or room.

Non Destructive & Clean

The Portascanner™ 520 is a completely clean and damage free technology, which can be used in the sensitive environments clean agent systems operate in.

For more information, visit their website, www.coltraco.com

What are the modern features integrated in ultrasonic hatch cover tester by Coltraco?

Since 1989, we keep on producing new innovated products and measuring instruments to help people get the results in quickest, simplest and easiest way. Permascanner® Dynamic is our semi-fixed ultrasonic watertight integrity test indicating system for the dynamic testing of hatch covers maintenance, holds, bulkheads, cable transits and watertight doors and compartments at sea. Derived from its sister product - Portascanner®, Permascanner Dynamic is designed to quickly identify leak sites in their extent and precise location, whilst at sea. Furthermore, facilities of Optional Accessories and Permascanner® Dynamic are provided as after sales benefits on demand. The details of both of these facilities are mentioned below:

  1. Permascanner Dynamic

Permascanner® Dynamic allows a pattern of readings to be recorded against varying sea states, enabling a true picture of the seal integrity to be recorded over time. It efficiently helps you for hatch covers integrity, multiple cable transit areas testing and watertight doors continuously over varying sea-state states. The ultrasonic hatch cover testing system will enables Marine Superintendents, Barge Supervisors or OIMs to embody its highly accurate readings into an enhanced on board safety procedure. 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. We have given below a visual representation of this hatch cover maintenance and watertight integrity testing system. Give it a look!

  1. 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.

Why purchase Coltraco Portascanner®

Since 1989, Coltraco Ultrasonics have been designing and manufacturing ultrasonic instrumentation such as liquid level indicator and systems for safety and servicing. In 2012 we partnered with a fellow well respected UK OEM of thickness gauges to design our current models.

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.

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 14 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.

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.

For further information, Download PDF

Test your Room Integrity

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.

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.”

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.

Advantages of Portapipe®

The Portapipe® and is manufactured to detect faults, leaks to 1mm and thinning in pipework, suitable up to 22mm, diameter pipe up to 12mm range. The versatility of this ultrasonic pipework integrity test indicator includes fault testing for wet and dry sprinkler systems for meeting BS EN 12845 standards for system maintenance. This product is regarded to be a great alternative to chalk and hose testing.

Benefits of Portapipe®

These are the benefits offered by Coltraco on purchasing of Portapipe®:

  • It offers low cost which means multiple readings can be made using one device at no extra cost
  • It is portable, can be conveniently carried and managed.
  • It is simple to operate, highly intuitive operation and enable regular testing.
  • It comes without training costs and offers free-of-charge online, telephone and email training support through- life.
  • The most mathematically accurate watertight integrity test indicator with dual decibel & linear display makes it cost effective
  • The ability to test multiple locations throughout the pipes length provides a more reliable thorough view of the integrity of the system hence it comes with greater testing average
  • This pipework integrity test indicator‘s user receives instant feedback regarding the focused area
  • The user can target suspected areas in more detail
  • The testing method causes no damage to the existing system as this device is non-destructive
  • The system allows repetitive testing on problem areas, thereby giving the most accurate information to the user.
  • A clean method of testing that does not violate any environmental codes.
  • This device from Coltraco offers an accuracy to identify leaks as small as 1mm
  • The Portapipe® can be used for application involving a pipeline
  • The Portapipe® is suitable for use on any material pipeline.

For inquiries, contact Customer Support

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