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Ansul Foam Fire Protection Systems

Complete Service on Foam Agents, Storage Tanks & Discharge Devices

Koetter Fire Protection provides complete service on your foam agents, storage tanks and discharge devices. We also provide annual inspections, agent testing, bladder replacements and system commissioning.

Foam Fire Suppression Systems from Ansul - Koetter Fire Protection Products Ansul Foam Fire Suppression Systems

Foam System Applications

Ansul foam systems protect virtually any hazard where flammable liquids are present. These hazards are common to a multitude of industries including Petrochemical, Chemical, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Marine/Offshore, Manufacturing, Utilities, Military, and Transportation.

    • Flammable Liquid Storage
    • Loading Racks
    • Processing Areas
    • Refineries
    • Dike Areas
    • Aircraft Hangars
    • Heliports
    • Jet Engine Test Facilities
    • LNG Storage/Manufacturing
    • Marine Applications
    • Warehouses

What is Fire Fighting Foam?

Ansul Foam Fire Suppression Systems Koetter Fire Protection Products Ansul fire retardant foam

Simply stated, firefighting foam is a stable mass of small, air-filled bubbles with a lower density than oil, gasoline, or water. Foam is made up of three ingredients…water, a foam concentrate, and air. Water is mixed with a foam concentrate (proportioned) to form a foam solution. This solution is then mixed with air (aspirated) to produce a foam which readily flows over fuel surfaces.

Balanced pressure proportioning is the most common method used for foam system applications. The foam concentrate pressure is balanced with the water pressure at the proportioner inlets allowing the proper amount of foam concentrate to be metered into the water stream.

With an aspirating discharge device, foam solution passes through an orifice, past air inlets, and into an expansion area to produce an expanded foam. With nonaspirating devices, foam solution passes through the orifice and discharge outlet where it mixes with air enroute to the fire.

Types of ‘Class B’ Foams

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF): AFFFs are based on combinations of fluoro-chemical surfactants, hydrocarbon surfactants, and solvents. These agents require a very low energy input to produce a high quality foam. Consequently, they can be applied through a wide variety of foam delivery systems. This versatility makes AFFF an obvious choice for airports, refineries, manufacturing plants, municipal fire departments, and any other operation involving the transportation, processing, or handling of flammable liquids. Ansulite® AFFF is available as 1%, 3%, and 6% concentrates or as 1% and 3% freeze-protected concentrates. Ansul Germany offers 1% and 3% AFFF concentrates – regular and freeze-protected.

Alcohol-Resistant Concentrates (ARC): Alcohol-resistant foams are based on AFFF chemistry to which a polymer has been added. ARCs are the most versatile of the foam agents in that they are effective on fires involving polar solvents like methanol as well as hydro-carbon fuels like gasoline. When used on a polar solvent type fuel, the ARC concentrate forms a polymeric membrane which prevents destruction of the foam blanket. When used on hydrocarbon fuels, the alcohol-resistant concentrate produces the same rugged aqueous film as a standard AFFF agent. Alcohol-resistant concentrates provide fast flame knockdown and good burnback resistance when used on both types of fuels. Ansulite® 3x3 and 3%/ 6% alcohol-resistant AFFF concentrates are available. Ansul Germany offers various 3x3 and 3%/ 6% alcohol-resistant AFFF concentrates.

Protein Foam Concentrates: Protein foams are recommended for the extinguishment of fires involving hydrocarbons. They are based on hydrolyzed protein, stabilizers, and preservatives. Protein foams produce a stable mechanical foam with good expansion properties and excellent burnback resistance characteristics. Ansul and Ansul Germany offer protein foam as 3% and 6% concentrates.

Fluoroprotein Foam Concentrates: Fluoroprotein foams are based on hydrolyzed protein, stabilizers, preservatives, and synthetic fluorocarbon surfactants. When compared to protein foams, fluoroproteins provide better control and extinguishment, greater fluidity, and superior resistance to fuel contamination. Fluoroprotein foams are useful for hydrocarbon vapor suppression and have been recognized as very effective fire suppressing agents for sub-surface injection into hydrocarbon fuel storage tanks. Ansul and Ansul Germany offer fluoro-protein foam in a 3% concentrate. Ansul Germany also offers a film-forming fluoropro-tein (FFFP) concentrate.

High Expansion Foam Concentrates: High expansion foams are based on combinations of hydrocarbon surfactants and solvents. They are used with foam generators for applying foam to large areas in total flooding and three-dimensional applications such as warehouses, ship cargo holds, and mine shafts. They are especially useful on fuels such as liquefied natural gas (cryogenic fuels) for vapor dispersion and control. In certain concentrations, high expansion foams are effective on hydrocarbon spill fires of most types and in confined areas. Ansul offers Jet-X® high-expansion foam in a 2.75% concentrate. Ansul Germany also offers various high-expansion foam concentrates.

How Foam Systems Work

Fire fighting foam systems suppress fire by separating the fuel from the air (oxygen). Depending on the type of foam system, this is done in several ways:

Ansul fire foam suppressant
Click image to enlarge

The following represents operation of a typical foam-water sprinkler system. Although many other types of systems are available; a basic foam system will always require foam agent storage, proportioning equipment, one or more discharge devices, and a manual and/or automatic means of detecting the fire and actuating the system.

  1. Note: Click image to right for larger numbered image that corresponds to this list.
  2. Fire breaks out in the rack storage area of a flammable liquid warehouse.
  3. Rising heat from the fire ruptures the quartzoid bulb(s) in the sprinkler head(s) which starts the flow of water.
  4. Flowing water opens the alarm check valve which allows water to open the hydraulic foam concentrate valve and operate the water-motor gong.
  5. Foam concentrate flows from the bladder tank into the proportioner where it is mixed with the flowing water at the designed foam solution percentage.
  6. Foam is generated as the foam solution discharges through the sprinkler head(s) onto the fire.

About AFFF Foam Systems

Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFF) are based on combinations of fluoro-chemical surfactants, hydrocarbon surfactants, and solvents. These agent require a very low energy input to produce a high quality fire fighting foam. Consequently, they can be applied through a wide variety of foam delivery systems. This versatility makes AFFF systems an obvious choice for airports, refineries, manufacturing plants, municipal fire departments, and any other operation involving the transportation, processing, or handling of flammable liquids.

Alcohol Resistant Fire Fighting AFFF Foam Sytems

Alcohol-resistant foams are based on AFFF chemistry to which a polymer has been added. ARCs are the most versatile of the fire fighting foam agents in that they are effective on fires involving polar solvents like methanol as well as hydrocarbon fires such as gasoline.

Mixing Foam Systems with Water

A foam system requires proportioning equipment to mix the foam with water in the required concentration. Automatic pressure balancingvalves regulate the foam concentrate pressure to match the water pressure.

AFFF Foam System Bladder Tanks

Foam concentrate is often stored in a bladder tank system. In AFFF systems a bladder tank containing a nylon reinforced elastomric bladder is used to store the foam concentrate. System water pressure is used to squeeze the bladder providing fire fighting foam concentrate, at the same pressure, to the proportioner. With bladder tank foam systems, no external power is required, and little maintenance is needed.

Ansul Foam System Components

Ansul fire retardant foam systems

Proportioning Equipment

Proportioning is the introduction of foam concentrate into a flowing stream of water to produce a foam solution. Although there are several methods of proportioning, fixed foam systems typically use balanced pressure proportioning equipment.


Ansul fire retardant foam

Bladder Tank Systems

Bladder tank systems use a pressure-rated tank containing a nylon reinforced elastomeric bladder to store the foam concentrate. System water pressure is used to squeeze the bladder providing foam concentrate, at the same pressure, to the proportioner. With bladder tank systems, no external power source is required and little maintenance is needed.


Foam Fire Suppression Systems from Ansul - Pump Skids - Koetter Fire Protection Products

Pump Skids

Pump skids (or balanced pressure pump proportioning systems) are used in combination with atmospheric storage tanks which are typically of polyethylene or fiberglass construction. While foam concentrate is pumped from the storage tank to the proportioner, an automatic pressure balancing valve regulates the foam concentrate pressure to match the water pressure.


Foam Fire Suppression Systems from Ansul

In-Line Balanced Pressure Proportioners

In-line balanced pressure proportioners are similar to pump skids, except that the proportioning assembly, including the automatic balancing valve, is remote from the pump and storage tank. A pressure control valve is added to the foam concentrate return line to maintain a constant pressure to the proportioner. Multiple assemblies can be supplied from a single tank and pump to protect several hazard areas.


Discharge Devices

Discharge devices produce expanded foam and direct the flow at the point of application. Some foam discharge devices are special air aspirating devices which mix air with the foam solution to form an expanded mass of bubbles. Non-aspirating devices may be used with certain low-expansion foam agents which do not rely on a thick blanket of foam to achieve extinguishment.

Foam Monitors

Foam monitors are designed to control the horizontal and vertical directions of large capacity discharge streams. Water-oscillating monitors will automatically move side-to-side using water pressure as the energy source. Remote controlled monitors use an electric joy-stick tied into a hydraulic system. Other monitors are operated manually using a tiller bar to control direction and elevation. Various aspirating and non-aspirating nozzles are also available for use with monitors and/or handlines.

Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads are available from various manufacturers in both nonaspirated and aspirated versions. Nonaspirated heads with AFFF agents are more economical and can be used in either open deluge or closed-head sprinkler systems. Aspirated sprinkler heads are required for protein and fluoroprotein foams in deluge systems.

Foam Chambers and Foam Makers

Foam chambers and foam makers are air-aspirating devices designed to protect flammable liquid storage tanks. Foam chambers apply expanded foam gently down the inside of the tank wall onto the liquid surface. High back-pressure foam makers inject expanded foam through the tank wall near the bottom of the tank allowing foam to gently rise to the surface. Other types of foam makers are installed in the foam distribution piping where expanded foam is directed to specific hazards such as dike areas or floating-roof tank seal areas.

Foam Generators

Foam generators deliver large quantities of foam by expanding foam solution in the range of 200:1 to 1000:1. The high-expansion generator operates by coating its screen with high-expansion foam solution while air is blown through the screen to produce expanded foam. Because of its high expansion ratio, little water is required to generate large quantities of foam thereby reducing the potential for hazardous run-off or water damage. Jet-X® foam generators are water-powered and require no other sources of power.

Fire Detection and Control Equipment

Ansul Foam Fire Suppression Systems - In-Line Balanced Pressure Proportioners

In many applications, including aircraft hangars and loading racks, the fire protection requirements call for an automatic detection and control system. In these cases, thermal detectors or quick-response flame detectors are installed to provide input to an electronic control panel. The control panel provides vital output functions such as sounding alarms, shutting off fuel pumps, monitoring water flow, supervising valves, and actuating foam systems. A variety of Ansul detection and control equipment is available from the simplest alarm horn to a sophisticated analog-addressable control panel.


For more information about Ansul Fire Fighting Foam Suppression Systems, contact your nearest Koetter Fire Protection office today!

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