Caught in the vortex
The vortex inhibitor during LPCB test procedures.
BALMORAL Tanks this year introduced a new vortex inhibitor (VI) said to have significant technical improvements over current market options.
The component complements the company’s range of fire protection sprinkler water storage tanks. Its hot press moulded and steel sectional tanks as well as cylindrical steel tanks, are all Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) approved for storing sprinkler system water.
LPCB-approved tanks are designed to provide a very low maintenance service life of at least 10 years. The systems require large, fast-flowing volumes of water and VIs play a crucial role by preventing air being drawn into the system, which ultimately reduces the flow rate. And that’s not what’s needed if fire should break out.
Approved to LPCB LPS 2070 and BSEN 12845 standards, the inhibitor provides a 30% reduction in pump suction pressure requirements. Because LPCB standards demand that the water level be no less than 100mm above the tank’s lowest suction point, the height of the VI also affects usable water capacity. The low profile design of Balmoral’s VI results in the effective capacity of sprinkler storage tanks being increased by as much as 2.2%.
For example, it can gain an additional 2.2% effective volume on a 27.5m³ tank, typically used to protect schools, and an additional 1.3% effective volume on a 135m³ tank, the capacity usually employed to protect supermarkets. This means that the size of tank can be reduced accordingly.
Announcing the launch of the VI in June, Balmoral’s managing director Allan Joyce commented: “Vortex inhibitors are a key component of every sprinkler system and it is vital that they are highly engineered and professionally manufactured. Our fluid engineering team studied existing solutions very carefully and, using computational fluid dynamics software, designed a far superior solution to the current industry standard.”