RAF trials iCountPD particle detection devices

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The Royal Air Force is trialling Parker iCountPD particle detection devices for monitoring fuel quality as it is pumped from refuelling vehicles to aircraft.

Parker iCountPD particle detection devices are being trialled by the RAF as part of an ongoing programme to enhance the quality and safety of its aviation fuels. Fitted to refuelling vehicles, the ICountPD detection units provide an immediate indication if fuel quality falls below a set threshold, thereby helping to identify contamination caused by particles or moisture and improving productivity while potentially reducing operating costs.

The RAF has initially fitted several ICountPD units for evaluation and these are mounted on the outlets of the Monitor filter housings on each refuelling vehicle, with the Monitor filters being used to remove contamination from the fuel as it is pumped into each aircraft. An integrated probe is used to extract a sample from the flow of fuel; the sample is then automatically fed through the particle counter for analysis before being returned to the fuel dispenser slop tank.

Each iCountPD unit features innovative laser diode optical detection technology to produce fast, accurate and repeatable results, with the ability to detect dispersed particle contamination down to extremely low levels. This method of detection and associated calibration conforms to a wide variety of internationally recognised standards for aviation fuels. Perhaps as importantly, the system provides monitoring of the condition of the fuel immediately downstream of the filters. These filters use super-absorbent polymer media in each Monitor element and, although these offer high levels of efficiency, they can be prone to rapid degradation or failure. Any change in operating conditions can therefore easily be detected by the iCountPD units, as these provide a constant indication of fuel condition while it is being pumped.

Status and alarm indication

Each unit incorporates front panel-mounted LEDs to show the operating status and alarm conditions for both particles and moisture content; each units is also connected to a data logger so that contamination levels over time can be monitored, enabling technicians to plan maintenance schedules for the refuelling equipment.

iCountPD units are small, robust and lightweight, and were simple for the RAF to install without the need for extensive modifications to the refuelling vehicles. Additionally, they have eliminated previous methods of using subject gravimetric tests and are far less expensive than traditional light scattering devices.

The iCountPD units are rated to IP66 and have a range of output options, which make them easy to interface with mobile equipment. These options include RS232 and CANbus connectivity, 4-20mA and 0-5V analogue outputs, and relay contacts that can switch 5A at up to 24V DC.

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