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Stored-Energy CAFS

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LAFAYETTE, LA – American Fire Equipment, a division of Burner Fire Control, has a portable compressed air foam system that runs on compressed air or nitrogen from breathing air tanks or other sources ranging from small 16-gallon systems mounted on modified hand trucks, to skid units with capacities up to more than 200 gallons.

American Fire Equipment was established more than 30 years ago. The company focused on providing high-quality, large scale dry chemical and foam systems for industrial and offshore energy markets, a market it continues to service today.

About 20 years, ago, the company saw the potential benefits of CAFS and, after much research and development, the company began to manufacture a limited number of the systems, according to John Harris, a sales representative for Burner Fire Control, based in Louisiana.

Harris explained that the CAFS products were an immediate success and the company branched out into various system types and sizes, including engine-driven systems and the “stored energy” systems it had previously been building in the dry chemical business, the company’s roots.

Stored-Energy Systems

The company soon decided to specialize in just the stored energy systems due to the fact that all of its other products operated in the same manner, using compressed nitrogen or breathing air to operate, Harris explained.
Today, American Fire Equipment offers seven standard models of stored energy CAF systems as well as custom-built systems to fit just about any application, Harris said.

Because the systems run on compressed air or nitrogen, there is no need for any external source of power or resources, like an engine, or an external water supply, according to the maker.  That feature gives the manufacturer the ability to design systems to fit into compartments and be used in other applications where engines and external power sources wouldn’t work.

One of its most popular CAF systems for the fire service is its 21-gallon stored energy horizontal system. It includes a 21-gallon pressure vessel with one outlet, producing 210 gallons of finished foam at the rate of 12 gpm of solution. The discharge range is 55 feet sustained.
According to the maker, the pressure vessels are built to 2 to 1 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) code compliant with elliptical heads and carbon steel construction.

Harris says American Fire Equipment builds and finishes all of the CAFS components in house, including the tank, which gives the company ultimate control over product quality.  One of the most attractive features of the system is it has no moving parts, with the exception of the mechanical ball valve used to open the outlet to being the discharge of the compressed air foam. Another feature is that all parts, with the exception of the tank itself, are common hardware store components making it easy for users to repair if it becomes damaged.

Pressurized Vessels

The interior of the pressure 24-inch diameter vessel has a protective coating and a 2.5-inch diameter opening in to which water and foam solution is poured. The draw tube is especially designed for CAFS mixing in the tank before discharge. System hoses, including those leading from the compressed air tank or, other compressed air or nitrogen source, are braided stainless steel encased and all plumbing fittings are brass.
The 21-gallon unit is equipped with 50 feet of 1-inch forestry hose with extruded aluminum couplings, an aluminum hose storage tray. The system also has an SCBA bottle bracket with a clip type closure, backplate and retainer strap. Harris points out that the system can be used with all varieties of SCBA pressures.  It also has a Victor SR 250 regulator to control the air flow into the CAF system a discharge nozzle with a chrome-plated shutoff and an aluminum straight bore discharge tip. The entire system is mounted on a welded aluminum frame that is powder coated after completion. Empty, the system ways 100 pounds. Full with water and foam solution, it weighs 282 pounds, according to the manufacturer.
American Fire Equipment’s CAFS can handle Class A and B foam solutions. The foam solution ratio is 12 to 36 ounces, depending on the desired foam consistency, to the 21 gallons of water in the pressure vessel.

Because American Fire Equipment has more than 30 years in the fire suppression business, and does its work in house, it can custom build stored-energy compressed air system to customers’ requirements, according to Harris.

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