Understanding Sprinkler Valves: How They Work and Why They’re Crucial for Fire Pumps on Ships

Ship with Sprinkler ValvesEven though surrounded by water, nothing is more dangerous on a ship than a fire. The combination of smoke and flame can quickly turn deadly for a crew trapped on the open sea with nowhere to escape. Should a fire break out, a fire prevention system is instrumental in protecting the health and safety of the crew.

Valves play a crucial role in enabling fire pump systems to work effectively. An outside screw and yoke valve (OS&Y valve) ensures efficient and reliable water flow control during emergencies. In the event of a fire, valves enable the rapid release of water, helping to extinguish the flame and prevent further damage and injury.

Keep reading to discover more about the type of valves used in fire prevention systems and how these specific components can save lives.

What is an OS&Y Valve?

An Outside Screw and Yoke valve is a type of gate valve designed for precision flow control and is used in various fluid systems, including fire suppression. The OS&Y valve uses a threaded stem and a yoke mechanism connected to a gate, which moves vertically in and out of the valve body by turning a handwheel. Rotating the handwheel causes the stem’s threads to engage with the yoke’s nut, enabling the gate to lift or close within the valve body. This movement controls the flow of fluid by either opening or closing the pathway.

OS&Y valves are ideal for fire pump systems due to their precise flow control and visible position indicator. The threaded stem and yoke mechanism enables accurate and responsive valve operation. The tamper-resistant design of OS&Y valves ensures that the fire protection system remains fully functional and ready to respond during emergencies.

Other Types of Valves Commonly Used in Fire Pump Systems

A fire pump casing relief valve, also called a pressure relief valve, is used in fire suppression systems. This safety device is designed to protect the pump casing by preventing overpressurization by releasing excess pressure in the system.

A casing relief valve fire pump includes several key features, including:

  • Pressure regulation. The valve is designed to automatically open once the pressure inside the pump reaches a predetermined threshold, allowing the safe release of excess pressure and preventing catastrophic equipment failure.
  • Resealing capacity. After pressure returns to a safe level, the fire pump casing relief valve automatically reseals, maintaining system integrity by minimizing fluid loss.
  • Adjustable settings. Many casing relief valves feature adjustable pressure settings, enabling adjustment to any specification.
  • Compact design. Casing relief valves are often designed to fit into tight confines, making them an ideal option to use on ships with limited space.

Pressure relief valves are essential in fire suppression systems but require frequent maintenance to ensure continued functionality. Kunkle, one of the market’s most reliable safety and pressure relief valves, requires regular testing to determine when repairs are required.

At Dante Valve, our experienced technicians can help maintain a ship’s existing relief valves. We offer setting and testing services that meet ASME and military specifications, and we are equipped to verify performance, accuracy, and reliability throughout a valve’s lifecycle.

How Does a Sprinkler Valve Work?

A sprinkler valve is a crucial component in a fire suppression system as it helps control and direct water flow to the sprinkler head. Once activated, the sprinkler valve ensures that an adequate and consistent water supply is delivered to the sprinkler system, enabling the even distribution of water across a designated area in a high enough volume to extinguish the flame and prevent further damage.

In addition to controlling water flow, sprinkler valves also act as a barrier to isolate fire suppression systems from a ship’s main water supply, preventing any potential backflow contamination.

A sprinkler valve consists of a few key components:

  • Valve body. The valve body houses the internal components and allows water to flow through the valve.
  • Inlets and outlet ports. These ports enable water to enter and exit the valve. The inlet port connects to the main water supply, while the outlet port connects to the sprinkler system’s piping network.
  • Gate. The gate controls the flow of water within the valve. In this type of valve, a wedge-shaped gate moves up and down to open or close the water flow.
  • Valve stem. The valve stem is a threaded rod that connects the gate to the handwheel. When the handwheel is turned, the stem moves, causing the gate to open or close.
  • Handwheel. This component enables the valve’s manual operation. When the handwheel is turned, the stem moves, causing the gate to open or close.

How to Size a Fire Pump

Sizing a fire pump involves considering several important factors to ensure the pump meets a ship’s specific needs. Key factors that shipbuilder needs to evaluate include:

  • Vessel type and size. The size and layout of a vessel will determine the type of pump capacity it will require.
  • Water supply. Water availability, including flow rate and pressure, will determine whether a larger fire pump is necessary.
  • Pressure requirements. A fire pump needs to be capable of delivering the required pressure to all areas of a ship. Therefore, the type of pump required will depend on the ship’s size.

Taking these and other factors into account will ensure that a vessel is fitted with the correct fire pump so that the fire suppression system can operate effectively and efficiently enough to protect the ship and its crew.

Your Full-Service Valve Partner

At Dante Valve, no matter the application, age, or manufacturer, we know valves inside and out. From valve testing and repair to custom manufacturing and precision machining, we can help ensure your valves remain functional so your ship and crew remain safe and sound. Don’t take the health of your ship’s valves for granted when it comes to ensuring a fire suppression system will continue to operate when needed most.

Contact our team today to request a quote for our valve inspection and repair services.

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