A bladder tank is a common storage and dosing system for a foam concentrate in foam fire extinguishing installations. Bladder tanks are used at hazardous facilities in oil and gas and petrochemical industries, as well as in production halls with sprinkler and deluge units.
Despite the simplicity of design, the product requires careful attention to technical characteristics and workmanship. Pozhneftehim has been producing bladder tanks since 2010. We know problems companies face when choosing low-quality products. Here are the questions that we recommend to discuss with manufacturers when choosing bladder tanks.
- Do the technical parameters of the bladder tank match the design documents?
- How to avoid corrosion and ensure the maximum service life of the bladder tank?
- How is foam concentrate level control ensured?
- Is it possible to participate in commissioning and conduct staff training?
- Warranty period from the manufacturer and the expected service life of the bladder tank
- What permits for the bladder tank will be required when putting the fire extinguishing unit into operation?
- Recommendations to specialists of design organizations and technical services of customers
1. Do the technical parameters of the bladder tank match my design documents?
The dosing technical parameters of the product must meet the requirements of the design solution. If the design pressure at the inlet of the bladder tank differs from the nominal pressure (usually 1.2 MPa), factory tests must be carried out. Based on the test results, the manufacturer should provide a protocol that shows the relationship between inlet pressure, hydraulic losses at the dispenser and the operational flow range. Given the special responsibility when purchasing a foam concentrate storage and dosing system for a fire extinguishing installation, we recommend that the Customer send a representative to these tests.
If the manufacturer does not indicate the nominal pressure of the bladder tank, according to which the operational flow range is determined, then there are no guarantees of operability.
You should do the following to ensure compliance with the design and actual characteristics of the bladder tank:
- purchase a bladder tank from the manufacturer, which can confirm the specified technical parameters of the bladder tank at the hydraulic test stand in the presence of the customer;
- carry out filling, refilling, maintenance of the bladder tank in the presence of a qualified specialist of the manufacturing company.
The practice of quality control of equipment at the test stand indicates the sufficient level of quality control at production and that the manufacturer is responsible for the performance of the product with the given parameters.
General view of the horizontal Antifire bladder tank with flexible container inside (schematically). Model with a wide range dispenser DShD and an automation control cabinet ShABD
2. How to avoid corrosion and ensure the maximum service life of the bladder tank?
The ingress of the aggressive foam concentrates onto a metal surface in case of damage to the flexible container leads to corrosion and unplanned repairs. When choosing a bladder tank, Pozhneftehim recommends that manufacturers specify information on the internal anti-corrosion coating (technical justification, application regulations) from manufacturers.
In the manufacture of Antifire bladder tanks, an internal coating is used - two-component epoxy enamel and the final coating thickness of 300 (± 30) microns. Also, attention is paid to the quality of the outer coating - 2 layers of epoxy primer of 50-60 microns, 1 layer of polyurethane enamel 60-80 microns.
Corrosion can lead to damage the metal tank and cause leakage of the foam concentrate, which leads to the replacement of system elements (ball valves, valves). Therefore, attention should be paid to the characteristics of the bladder tank components.
It should also be noted that when using conventional steel, internal corrosion of the foam concentrate supply line from the tank to the dispenser can cause the section overlap and the dispenser tank failure within 1-2 years.
3. How is foam concentrate level control ensured?
The automatic control cabinet of the bladder tank (ShABD) allows fulfilling the requirement of GOST R 50800 to issue a signal about the emergency level of the foam concentrate.
Pozhneftehim also offers an effective way to estimate the amount of foam concentrate inside the bladder tank using a visual level gauge. An additional differential scale is applied to the gauge scale, which is calculated taking into account the design and volume of the bladder tank.
Pozhneftehim visual level gauge. The manometer allows to measure the volume of the foam concentrate in the Antifire bladder tank (m3).
4. Is it possible to participate in commissioning and conduct staff training?
The customer can engage the manufacturer in the installation, commissioning and maintenance of the bladder tank during the warranty period, as well as during subsequent operation. The manufacturer must conduct staff training at the facility and perform product maintenance.
Pozhneftehim, the organizer of Advanced training courses on foam fire extinguishing technologies, conducts field training and invites to the production site to demonstrate the operation of foam fire extinguishing installations with various foam generators, foam concentrates and components.
Photo of the Pozhneftehim LLC site in the Tula Region. Demonstration of foam generators work with the Antifire bladder tank at the Advanced training courses 2018
5. Warranty period from the manufacturer and the expected service life of the bladder tank
The service life of the bladder tank is at least 25 years; however, the manufacturer's warranty period is 12-36 months. The warranty depends on such factors as the product’s packaging with flexible container of the same manufacturer, the participation of the manufacturer’s specialists in filling and refilling the bladder tank, and the purchase of the product together with a foam concentrate.
According to our observations, more than 50% of the flexible containers inside the bladder tank are disabled due to violation of operating modes during filling/refilling. Therefore, despite the apparent simplicity of the dosing system, it is necessary to strictly follow the instructions and be sure to involve the manufacturer's service department.
6. What permits for the bladder tank are required when putting the fire extinguishing installation into operation?
Bladder tanks have certificates of conformity issued by the Academy of State Fire Service of the Ministry of Emergencies of Russia. When ordering, you should request certification test report from the manufacturer. Permits also include:
- Certificate (declaration) for compliance with TR TS 032/2013 (required).
- The declaration of conformity and compliance with the requirements in the design documentation GOST 52630-2012.
- The safety justification specified in paragraph 45 of TR TS 032/2013.
- Certificate (declaration) for compliance with TR TS 010/2011 safety valve in the bladder tank.
In addition to permits, the manufacturer provides the delivery with a maintenance manual and other operational documentation.
7. Recommendations to specialists of design organizations and technical services of customers
Operations professionals must know the correct technical parameters and work algorithms of the bladder tank when purchasing a fire extinguishing system. It is important to ensure the required operating modes during trial and periodic launches of the dosing system by maintenance personnel.
Additional measures should be taken to prevent water from entering the container with the foam concentrate. It is important to receive advice of manufacturers on the equipment that is required for this.
When purchasing, we recommend that you provide a backup flexible container and dampers at the inlet of the dispenser, as well as include an automation Control cabinet (ShABD) in the configuration.
Pozhneftehim, a Russian manufacturer of firefighting equipment and foam concentrates, advises choosing high-quality bladder tanks, not to save on the material performance of components of the dosing system. Savings in the purchase will result in additional financial costs in the future.
Patent No. 171336 for a Pozhneftehim bladder tank with a pressure level gauge with an analogue volume scale of the foam concentrate
The material was prepared by specialists of Pozhneftehim LLC
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