Alco Valves Group introduces in-house fire testing facilities
Alco Valves Group Ltd, part of the international engineering firm Graco, have enhanced its testing capabilities with the official opening of their valve fire testing facility. The introduction of the new facility demonstrates Alco’s dedication to research and development in order to configure solutions for its customers’ diverse requirements where performance and safety are critical. Alco has recycled an abandoned shipping container into a safe and fully functional fire test bay. With health and safety at the forefront of the way the Alco Group operate, superior features have been designed into the facility to ensure the highest safety standards are met. All controls are located in the main factory building with the propane fuelled fire remotely generated in a reinforced shipping container. The intelligent burner system, supplied by Burner & Flame Technology Ltd, can reach temperatures in excess of 1000°C with optimum control and safety. Paired together with a high flow pressure system supplied by High Pressure Equipment Company (HiP), also a Graco company, the system effortlessly provides the conditions required to evaluate valve performance when subjected to a fire. The facility also contains a custom-built extinguishing system, data acquisition and a camera system to monitor every stage of the testing from a safe distance. Typically, a fire test sequence consists of a thirty-minute burn period followed by a force cool and a post-burn performance test. This is to replicate an emergency in service, where in the event of a fire the extinguishing procedure should be completed within half an hour. Within that time frame the valve performance must retain a safe level of containment in order not to allow the process media to fuel the fire further. The new test facility provides an advanced method to verify the fire-safe design features of Alco valves products when exposed to defined fire test conditions as described in international standards such as BS EN ISO 10497, API 607 and API 6FA. Alco Valves have supplied its customers certified fire-safe valves for many years now. However, the product range is continuously growing and improving in order to satisfy some of the most critical and bespoke applications. The introduction of these facilities not only allows Alco to meet the existing requirements set by the industry, but it also advances Alco’s research capabilities to explore innovative ways to enhance the fire safety of Alco product ranges.
Paul Garner, Technical Development Manager at Alco Valves Group, commented: “It has been a great pleasure in bringing this project to life. I would like to thank all those involved who helped create these new and advanced facilities. This addition to our capabilities helps our group to harness all streams of innovation to ultimately supply precision engineered products and services that address the challenges faced by our customers.” If you have any burning questions, please get in touch!
Tel: 01484 710511
Published in Valve User Magazine Issue 50