12 Oct 2000

Hot Fire Smoke Systems

The Royal Navy recently took delivery of the new and advanced "Hot Fire" smoke system manufactured by Concept Engineering Limited.  Over 100 ViCount 5000 "Hot Fire" smoke systems have been incorporated into the new firefighter training units located in Portsmouth and Plymouth.

The ViCount 5000 series represents the latest model in the ViCount range and is seen as one of the most advanced smoke systems currently available.  The ViCount uses a food quality white oil to produce "smoke", which is reduced to a fine spray and entrained in either CO2 or Nitrogen.  This then passes through the precision machined steel heater block where it is vaporised.  The vapour condenses on contact with air to form the visible aerosol smoke.

The smoke has a mass median diameter of 0.2-0.3 microns and will resist temperatures of up to 200 Degrees Celsius before layering commences (compared to 30-40 Degrees Celsius for conventional water based systems).  Smoke output is 0-290 m3 / min at 1 meter visibility and the machine has a running time, at maximum output, of 2 hours 25 minutes.

Despite this impressive output the oil consumption is only 31/hr, hence running costs can be cut by up to 75% of those of a comparable water based smoke system.  With virtually no requirement for maintenance, the ViCount is an attractive proposition to cost conscious users.

The ViCount and the smoke it produces have been rigorously tested and analysed by the Health and Safety Executive and by independent laboratories to ensure that the smoke is both non-toxic and non-flammable.

The ViCount 5000 comes complete with a host of user features that include: 

  • Digital temperature controller with under temperature control
  • Solid state switching
  • Integral sight glass
  • Variable smoke output
  • Gas inlet filter
  • Twin pressure relief valves
  • Temperature alarms and thermal cut out 

From a users viewpoint the ViCount is extremely easy to operate and requires virtually no maintenance.  A "self purge" facility is standard on the ViCount range, which uses inert gas to remove oil from the internal pipes and heater block.  The operation is completely automatic and requires no user intervention.

Reliability is a key feature with the ViCount, a recent response to a user survey relating to smoke systems and their use illustrates the point.  When asked to comment on the quality of the after service support of their smoke systems, Merseyside Fire Brigade said they were unable to comment because their ViCount had not failed in four years of operation!

In addition to the Royal Navy, the ViCount is in use with a number of brigades and the Fire Service College (Moreton-in-Marsh).  It has also attracted a great deal of interest from fire organisations throughout the world.

ViCount's have also been employed from some unusual non fire training applications.  NASA's gigantic wind tunnel (the largest in the world) uses a ViCount to illustrate airflow and British Nuclear Fuels also make use of the ViCount to test HEPA filters. 



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