|The makers of Pyrolance, a high-pressure piercing nozzle system, demonstrated their product at FDIC. The system uses water and cutting aggregate discharged at 4,500 psi to pierce materials to administer atomized water to cool fires. (Fire Apparatus photos by Ed Ballam)|
Fire suppression items always receive a lot of play at the Fire Department Instructors Conference, and among the most talked about items this year were two revolutionary nozzles.
Elkhart Brass launched a new nozzle that can go from compressed air foam to straight water with the click of the tip. The nozzle, with a patent pending design, is called Flex Attack.
PyroLance, based in Denver, Colo., demonstrated a fire suppression system that uses a high-pressure jet of water mixed with a proprietary abrasive material to penetrate steel and concrete up to 3/4-inch thick – or thicker depending on the material – and then delivers a cooling flow.
Other vendors displaying new items included Akron Brass with a monitor high-riser system and Task Force Tips with a “Sho-Flow” flow meter-type device and a wye with a specially designed half-ball closure.
The nozzles introduced by Elkhart Brass were the buzz of the show – they even looked cool.
The Flex Attack nozzle features a patented variable orifice smooth bore with settings for 15/16-inch, 1 1/8-inch and 1 3/8-inch streams, according to Elkhart. A patent pending pressure balancing chamber allows the nozzle to be adjusted under flow pressures, and an unobstructed variable orifice waterway is designed not to strip away CAFS foam bubbles.
A nozzle position-indicating lug on the nozzle’s bumper allows the user to click from dry CAF to wet CAF to water using tactile detents and the lug to provide position feedback. Clicking to the right creates an unobstructed waterway to produce shaving cream dry foam and clicking to the left creates a 15/16-inch smooth bore. The nozzle is rated at 184 gpm at 50 psi in the water setting and a maximum operating pressure of 200 psi.
It has a hard anodized Teflon impregnated aluminum alloy body and pistol grip and an aluminum bronze shut-off handle.
Elkhart Brass introduced a second nozzle at the show called Solid Strike with features similar to the Flex Attack product.
The Solid Strike allows the nozzle operator to vary the gpm or reach without shutting down to change tip size. The result, according to the maker, is an airless stream of water so tight it’s virtually clear.
The nozzle works like any traditional smoothbore tip on a shut-off except the operator has the ability to vary the effective tip size under flow. It’s rated for 159 gpm at 50 psi at 7/8 inch, 184 gpm at 50 psi at 15/16 inch, 209 gpm at 50 psi at 1 inch. It has a maximum operating pressure of 200 psi.
According to the maker, the nozzle uses the hydraulic forces of the water flow to converge and project a perfect solid stream. It has a free swivel inlet and a Delrin adjustable hydrofoil.
Both nozzles have reflective color-coded bands on the bumpers for easy identification.
Task Force Tips, also known as TFT, had its Sho-Flow water flow indicators available for review. The indicators are designed for installation behind a nozzle or on the outlet of a pump panel to quickly determine the flow and pressure in the hose.
The indicator, which is available in 1.5-inch and 2.5-inch configurations, gives the user an LED readout about the hose pressure in psi and gpm.
Rod Carringer, TFT’s vice president of sales and marketing, said he uses the indicator in training exercises like a flow meter to give firefighters a feel for what kind of pressure and flow rates they’re working with at the nozzle. It can also be used to train pump operatorsm as it gives a visual indication at the discharge about pump performance.
“It’s a great tool with lots of potential uses,” Carringer said.
He also pointed out new gated wyes with concave half ball closures that retract completely out of the waterway giving full-flow and reduced friction loss. The wyes are currently available in 1.5-inch and 2.5-inch sizes.
“The great thing about these is you can open them half way and they’ll stay there,” Carringer said. “The water pressure won’t force the ball all the way open.”
He also pointed out the gates are operated by folding handles which makes the wyes more compact for storage and keeps the levers out of the way during use.
Outside in the demonstration area, the makers of PyroLance demonstrated a unique piercing system designed to create small holes in buildings and steel containers for the issuance of a blanket of atomized water to cool fire thermal layers.
Kevin Spencer, the president of PyroLance, based in Denver, Colo., said the system can be powered by a stand-alone diesel skid unit or by an apparatus-based pto. The pump produces 4,500 psi delivering 15 gpm. A special granite-like abrasive cuts through steel, concrete or wood in seconds, he said.
“It’s very different approach to firefighting,” Spencer said as a firefighter in head-to-toe turnout gear set about to penetrate a steel plate on an enclosed steel container with a fire inside.
A Very Small Hole
The concept behind PyroLance is to make a very small hole in a contained structure to avoid the introduction of large amounts of oxygen to feed the fire and deliver atomized water to substantially cool and control the thermal layers of fires, reducing the risk of backdraft or flashover. Once the fire has been cooled by the PyroLance, firefighters can enter the structure and extinguish the remaining fire with conventional equipment and tactics.
“This system allows firefighters to make a safe, defensive interior attack,” Spencer said, noting that the system delivers water directly into the thermal column, allowing rapid containment of the fire.
Spencer said the new system has received a great deal of attention recently. He and his crew were leaving directly from FDIC to conduct testing for military applications. “We’re very excited about the opportunity,” he said.
Akron Brass introduced a number of fire suppression products at the show including a new electric riser for use with apparatus mounted monitors. The company also exhibited a self-educting forestry nozzle for use with gel agents for urban interface applications, capable of flowing 15 gpm at 100 psi.
For aerial master stream use, Akron introduced a new monitor with a shut-off incorporated in the nozzle itself.
The company said the new electric riser has a three-piece design and is extremely compact, nesting into crowded pump module areas. For a combined 38 inches of deployed extension, the electric riser adds 12 inches of elevation to the 26 inches provided by Akron’s DeckMaster.
The new gel agent nozzle is made of heavy-duty, but lightweight aluminum and is designed for easy cleaning with a check valve in the eductor to prevent water from entering the gel.
The new master stream product, which has a variable pattern control, effectively eliminates the need for a butterfly valve on an aerial waterway, according to the maker.
With more than 900 exhibitors jammed into the Indianapolis Convention Center, it’s nearly impossible to visit all the vendors, but the aforementioned products provide a glimpse of the kinds of innovations and fire suppression products that were available.