Article Archive
Starting With The Basics
Vol. 20 No. 5

When talking about industrial fire fighting, Pierce Manufacturing exceeds in three major areas -- pumps, foam sys-tems and chassis, said Pierce pumper products manager Andy Klein.

He prefers to start with the chassis.

"That's the ground work of our whole product," Klein said. "We have the most advanced chassis out there. From an industrial standpoint having the proper radiator cooling for the chassis is key because of the large volume water pumps typically installed on the vehicle."

Putting that chassis together with the best fire protection equipment on the market is the key to Pierce's success, he said.

"Pierce can provide an Akron Renegade or a Williams Fire & Hazard Control HydroChem nozzle to complement the best chassis and foam system," Klein said.

Pierce has much to be proud of regarding its own technology. The company performs extensive testing of its pumps to insure that there is no difficulty either drafting at more than 3,000 gpm or pulling from a hydrant at 5,500 gpm, Klein said.

"We've done 24-hour durability testing for that particular application just for reassurance from the industrial standpoint," he said.

Moving back to the pump area, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility in plumbing to meet the fire protection needs of the customer, Klein said.

"We can configure the pumps to the specific needs of the refinery," he said. "We can support large deck guns that flow 5,500 gpm or a couple of small monitors to use for cooling or foam."

Handling pressure balance is an area that separates Pierce from its competition, Klein said.

"We use a pressure balance foam technology which is very prevalent in the delivery of industrial foam," he said. "What we do differently is use an electronic controller that is state of the art."

The controller has a separate pressure transducer on its foam side and water side. These transducers send a signal to the electronic controller which is directly linked to the hydraulics, changing the displacement.

"The advantage is that we don't have a lot of mechanical components that have been a weak spot in the link between the controller and the hydraulics," Klein said. "We are taking advantage of modern technology regarding electronics over hydraulics. Not all systems are done that way."

From an operations standpoint, the pressure balance system is easy to use, he said.

"Because the system is electronic when you turn your foam system on you've got the capability of reducing pressure strikes," Klein said. "What happens when you draft foam is we have the logic built into the system so it turns the foam pump at a slow rate until we actually have foam pressure."

Once it receives a signal that pressure is present, the system begins speeding up the foam pump. Other systems, when drafting, begin

speeding up the pump even if there is no foam. By the time the foam gets to the pump it surges through the system so fast it creates a pressure spike.

Another achievement unique to Pierce is the ability to calibrate metering valves in the field, he said.

"Say there is a change in the product being refined at your project and you need to change to another type of foam such as a polar solvent," Klein said. "Also, if you set it at three percent for one type of foam and need to change to another it can be done easily."

Other systems require that you change an orifice plate which is more complicated to change, he said.

"Our system is a more variable type of control," Klein said. "It's a unique feature that's worked very well for us."

As for foam systems, a wide range are available to Pierce customers under the brand name Husky.

"We have our municipal size foam systems which we call the Husky 12," Klein said. "That's an automatic, direct injection style system that is flow meter based. It is designed to handle Class A and Class B foams. It can pump Class B foams up to 6,000 centipoise."

Unlike other foam systems, the Husky 12 has an auxiliary foam pickup. Firefighters could carry Class A on the truck, yet could draft Class B if necessary. That allows municipal trucks to serve as backups for industrial trucks at an industrial fire, Klein said.

"Regular municipal functions can be configured without special complicated plumbing that would compromise normal operations," he said. "The truck could still roll up and provide about 400 gpm at three percent for industrial backup."

The Husky 30 is another foam systems that can serve as an industrial backup, Klein said.

"It's primary function is for structural fires, but it would also be able to provide 1,000 gpm at three percent," Klein said. "In some industrial settings it would have both structural and industrial fire protection responsibility. You could take a system with a 30 gpm pump at a one percent setting and deliver 3,000 gpm. That gives you quite a bit of fire fighting capacity."

As for industrial size foam systems, Pierce has the Husky 160 with a 160 gpm pump and the Husky 300 with a 300 gpm foam pump capacity.

Pierce also has its own Hercules compressed air foam system as well suitable for Class B applications.

"New technology gives us better control over the bubble structure," Klein said. "From a vapor suppression standpoint you can make a tighter, more durable bubble using the CAFs and get a much greater reach with your stream. The hand line is much lighter. Since CAFS uses less foam and is more durable, you don't have to keep reapplying it."

Pierce trucks are becoming a more common sight in industrial settings across the country and internationally as well, Klein said. o


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