Ansul Unveils New Fire Technology Center
Vol 21 No 6
An average fire school conducted at Ansul, Inc., training field in Marinette, WI, uses as much as 12 tons of dry chemical extinguishing agent, said Mike Schmidt, Ansul's training manager. Multiply that amount six times to get the total used so far this year.
"This was a tougher year because we were going through a renovation, " Schmidt said. "Bear in mind that we did no advertising at all. Our goal next year is to have at least 12 schools with 15-to-30 students per school," Schmidt said.
To further facilitate training, Ansul unveiled its new Fire Technology Center in October, part of a $4 million reinvestment into the Marinette operation by parent company Tyco. Ansul's Technology Center is a 10,600 square foot state-of-the-art complex that will provide comprehensive training on the science and business of fire protection.
The Fire Technology Center includes instructional classrooms for technical product and technology education, a conference room, a functional product display room and a burn room for product demonstrations that will provide visitors with hands-on incipient training.
Training has been a priority for Ansul since it purchased DuGas Engineering Company in 1939 and first entered the dry chemical extinguishing agent business, said Schmidt.
"We knew what a great extinguishing agent we had but nobody else did," Schmidt said. "We needed a way to let them know. The marketing department decided to bring customers up here and run them through a training program on how to use the equipment. People took the word back home with them."
Like any fire equipment, extinguishers only work when used properly. That's where the training comes in.
"We start the students on smaller fires, showing them the basic technique of how to hold the extinguisher and operate it," Schmidt said. "Then we move them up to bigger and bigger fires to the point where they are working on combinations of fires that require wheeled extinguishers with high flow rates."
While primarily concentrating on dry chemical, the school does find a use for foam in demonstrations.
"We run a bladder tank fire to demonstrate that foam is exceptional for flammable liquid fuel in depth fires, but that it won't do a thing on pressure fires," Schmidt said. "It's a team work approach where one of the operators is working with a dry chemical wheeled extinguisher and two are working the foam lines."
The reinvestment project at Marinette also includes a new analytical chemistry laboratory for Ansul's research and development department. Research and development is another important priority for Ansul, said Dennis Kennedy, general manager for commercial suppression products and foam products.
"Mark Van Dover, president of Ansul, had made some great investments in R&D for our business," Kennedy said. "We are once again taking a leadership position in actual fire science and research, not just development engineering."
Jay S. Thomas, R&D director for Ansul, said the new technology center represents a major investment in the future.
"I think that's a major turnaround in our business," Thomas said. o