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Monitoring Fixed Fire Suppression Systems

Coltraco Ultrasonics is a leading UK based OEM of ultrasonic measuring equipment for the maintenance and monitoring of fixed fire suppression systems.

The company was originally started back in 1987 and manufactured one product called Portalevel™ which had been developed for use on board naval vessels to monitor fixed fire suppression systems. From those origins Coltraco has developed to the point where they manufacture 14 systems and products.

The company has developed quickly by identifying an issue when it came to monitoring and checking fire suppression systems in industrial facilities and offshore environments, both shipping, and oil and gas.

Traditionally the method for monitoring fire suppression cylinders was laborious and time consuming. The process involved removing and weighing each individual cylinder one at a time. Not only was this process time consuming it was dangerous as well. Typically, an annual maintenance check was considered adequate. As industry, particularly Oil and Gas, has become more safety conscious, so has the awareness that the fire suppression system needs to be adequately monitored.

From this beginning they now work across a number of industry verticals including, Oil and Gas, Marine and Shipping, Naval and Defence, Data Centres, Power Plants and High Rise Buildings.

Today there are 8 different types of Portalevel™ from Portalevel™ Original to the flagship Portalevel™ Max which has been UL approved. Portalevel™ Max offers users the quickest and most effective tool for measuring the liquid level of fire suppression gasses including CO2, FM200, NOVEC and FE-13. Portalevel™ is a handheld product which can be used in both onshore and a model with offshore applications. With its user interface and data logging capabilities it has now developed into the most comprehensive portable tools for monitoring fire suppression systems.

In addition to Portalevel™, 18 months ago Coltraco introduced Permalevel™ Multiplex the first fully integrated system for monitoring cylinder points 24/7 365 days a year. The first commercial contract for this Permalevel™ came from the UK Atomic Energy Agency as they were looking for a safer and more efficient method for monitoring their fire suppression systems. Permalevel™ Multiplex was developed to build on the products Coltraco had to offer the most comprehensive solution possible.

Permalevel™ Multiplex is a fixed system; the ultrasonic measuring equipment is attached to the cylinder point which continuously monitors the liquid level of the suppressant gas. If the liquid level drops below the required level, the alarm sounds so that the issue can be attended to.

Permalevel™ Multiplex has the ability to monitor up to 700 cylinder points in real time; this makes it an ideal solution for large industrial facilities. One of the key advantages of real time monitoring is that it reduces down time for maintenance and improves business continuity. The operator can call up each individual cylinder point as and when required.

The system develops so much data on a real time basis Coltraco had to develop an entirely new data logging software package. The benefit of this is that it allows the maintenance operator the ability to build up a picture of an individual cylinder point. This ensures that any issues can be identified in time and the integrity of the fire suppression system is maintained.

The system has been well received since it came onto the market with companies such as Tyco UAE specifying it for projects they have worked on. Permalevel™ Multiplex is aimed at high value high risk asset owners such as power plants who are extremely safety conscious.

As a business, one of Coltraco’s key goals is to better educate the industry in regard to the inadequacy of an annual safety check. The products and systems are designed to improve life safety and business continuity.

Coltraco has just achieved ISO14001 Environmental Management certification which is another good step for them in working towards a cleaner and greener business.

For further information, go to www.coltraco.co.uk

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