Part of developing innovative technology is making its application as easy for the user as possible. So when W.R.Grace&Co.-Conn. went to market with an accelerator for its Monokote family of fireproofing products, a key priority was making the system user-friendly.
The accelerator can save users money because it makes the product more efficient to apply and increases yield.
However, it must be applied properly to obtain the best result, so the application method needed to be efficient, east to use, and easy to maintain. Further complications include the corrosive nature of the accelerator itself, along with the harsh conditions under which the system had to operate.
The main markets for fireproofing compounds are construction and abatement projects, which where sawdust, wood chips, and moisture can infiltrate machinery, and rough handling can damage even the most durable equipment. And maintenance can be spotty or nonexistent, and power supplies uncertain.
To solve these problems, Grace designed an injection system consisting of a storage tank for the accelerator, a patented injection and mixing nozzle, and a Cheminjector_D diaphragm metering pump made by Hydroflo Corporation of Plumsteadville, PA. The system also includes a pulsation dampener to smooth out fluctuations in flow, and a back pressure valve to provide the regular pressure needed for steady operation. On/off control is achieved by a pressure relief valve that can stop flow by depressurizing the system. Operating pressures vary depending on the scope of the job and where the accelerator needs to be applied.
The entire system is hydraulically controlled, to make it as easy to run as possible. There are no extra electrical switches, and no controls that may confuse the operator. Because of the irregularity of equipment maintenance at many construction sites, a high priority was placed on providing a system that was as durable and as easy to maintain as possible. The pumps used in the system meet this standard. All are fully enclosed to prevent moisture and contaminants from reaching critical operating mechanisms, and all drive parts are oil-immersed, eliminating the need for regular lubrication.
The pumps were also modified to take into account the work habits and tools used at job sites. For example, the pump’s standard oil reservoir cover screw was a Phillip’s head. It was replaced to allow the use of a slotted screwdriver, which is more common at construction sites. This small change makes it much easier for a user to check the oil level in the pump, and because this is now easier to do, it will probably be done more often.
The injection system was also designed for maximum portability. The entire system fits on a 2-1/2 by 4 ft. cart, so it is easy to move wherever it’s needed. This was especially important for abatement projects, where the system must be moved from room to room in an office complex or factory building.
The system is also designed to use the most common power source, a standard 115-V supply. Again, this feature is important for room-by-room abatement projects and for construction operations where electrical conditions differ from site to site and access to 220-V lines can be difficult. The injection system has proved to be a success, and the marketplace for the Monokote Accelerator and the accompanying injection system has proven even larger than anticipated.
This, no doubt, is because the equipment is easy to use and reliable under the toughest conditions.