Life has become increasingly challenging for the foam concentrate manufacturers during the past decade.
Beginning with the discovery of PFOS-related medical issues in 2000, the decade saw increasing focus on environmental issues that were driven by government agencies and not by the foam users themselves. Alongside that, several international approval standards have been revised including EN 1568, IMO SOLAS and ICAO.
This has placed increased demands on the technical expertise and resources of the foam producers. Not all producers have the capability to adapt to the new demands and those that cannot will lose market share as their products become no longer acceptable.
Dafo Fomtec is one company riding the wave of change with confidence. Its steep growth in recent years and focus on the high quality profitable sectors has provided the business with the means to recruit new technical expertise and also invest in a very intensive research and development programme. As sales manager Mike Taylor puts it: “We are ready, willing and able to meet all the challenges we face in the industry. Fomtec is fit for purpose, like all of our products.”
Fomtec manufactures a complete range of products from regular protein, Fluoroprotein, FFFP AR, AFFF, AFFF AR, as well as the synthetic non-fluorinated foams. It already holds an impressive portfolio of approvals, with certifications to EN 1568, UL 162, FM, IMO SOLAS, ICAO, UK-Def, Lastfire and many others.
Over the years Fomtec has seen some major steps to enhance its position in the market, including:
Low temperature AFFFs
In 2010 Fomtec launched a new range of low temperature (-18 °C) AFFF one per cent, three per cent and six per cent products, which were recently UL listed and also hold both EN 1568 and ICAO level B approvals.
Inside air high expansion foam
During spring of 2010 Fomtec tested a new high expansion foam in a series of tough large-scale inside air applications, showing that the foam concentrate Fomtec LS EXP works well against both hydrocarbon, polar solvent and class A fires in an inside air environment. Fomtec MD John Olav Ottesen commented at the time: “A whole new system is being launched in 2011 incorporating concentrate, proportioning and high expansion generators for inside air. We have also tested Fomtec LS EXP against LNG fires and the results are very satisfying for both medium and high expansion. Customers will enjoy stiffer competition in these application segments as we launch these concepts next year.”
New chemistry and new standards – hand in hand
There are always many changes going on in Fomtec’s industry, on the one hand there are new formulations due to the change of chemistry, and on the other hand there are regulations changes, such as the new version of EN 1568, as well as the new IMO 1312 that will be faced in shortly. Fomtec is always able to deal with industry changes quickly and efficiently, a good example being when ICAO level C was published by 2012. Fomtec was ready for all these changes with new all-C6 formulations. As John Olav Ottesen explained: “What some competitors saw as a major problem, we perceived as a great opportunity to strengthen our market position.”
More recently, Fomtec has announced its latest four exciting foam concentrates that have passed Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) rigorous fire and performance-testing criteria, adding to its already comprehensive UL listed product portfolio. These new products are:
- Fomtec ARC 1×3 Ultra AR-AFFF
- Fomtec ARC 3×3 Ultra AR-AFFF
- Fomtec ARC 3×6 Ultra AR-AFFF
- Fomtec ARC 3×3 NV Avalanche AR-FFFP
Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is one of the most renowned and widely accepted approvals in the fire industry. It not only tests the foam concentrate with tough fire testing, but also verifies that the concentrate can be proportioned accurately through proprietary inductors and fixed proportioner systems across a wide ambient temperature range, while also proving to deliver effective foam quality through portable foam making equipment and fixed foam systems.
These latest concentrates represent a significant milestone as they are all C6 fluorotelomer surfactant based formulations, which are considered environmentally responsible. They are non-toxic, not bioaccumulative, not developmental toxins and cannot breakdown to PFOA. These products utilise the latest cutting edge chemistry combining leading fire performance and environmentally responsible C6 formulations.
All four of these concentrates are listed for use at 4.1L/min/m2 for hydrocarbon fuels, and 6.15L/min/m2 for alcohol type polar solvent chemicals. Furthermore, the NV Avalanche AR-FFFP has a low viscosity, enabling minimum storage and proportioning at -6.7°C. The products are an excellent and competitive addition to the company’s portfolio and represent a new chapter in Dafo Fomtec’s comprehensive foam concentrate line-up to meet clients’ future needs.
Services: Firefighting foams and equipment