New Developments in Bladder Tanks

VertBladTnkInstalIn the past there have been two problems associated with bladder tanks – the possibility of the bladder rupturing and also the inability to refill the unit during operation because it is pressurised.

Both of these problems have now been tackled and resolved by SKUM.

Unique fixing and support methods now employed by SKUM now ensure the integrity of the bladder while still maintaining the ease of bladder installation and operation.

The problem of refilling during operation has also been overcome by providing a pressurised source of foam concentrate from a mobile unit as an optional extra to the basic tank supply.  The optional mobile unit also provides a simple means of refilling after operation.

The list of advantages for bladder tank usage has now been re-written as follows:-

  • Few moving parts
  • Low Pressure Drop
  • Variable Flow capability
  • Can be used with all types of foam concentrate
  • No external power source required
  • Can be refilled during operation
  • Can easily be used in automatic systems
  • Can meet the requirements of all internationally recognised design codes

Please contact us for more information on +353 1 494 1429

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Balanced Proportioning

Proportioning1Balanced Pressure Proportioning is the most common method used for fixed system applications where pressure or flow can vary with demand. There are two basic types – Bladder Tanks and Pump Systems using Balanced Pressure Proportioners. All balanced pressure systems use a modified venturi device called a proportioner or ratio controller. The proportioners are available in a variety of sizes and styles to match required flow ranges and pipe sizes. As water flows through the proportioner nozzle, a low pressure area is created. It is in this low pressure area that the pressurized concentrate mixes with the water stream. A metering orifice, at the concentrate inlet, regulates the rate of concentrate flow and thus determines the percentage of concentrate in the foam solution. Balanced pressure proportioning systems require the foam concentrate pressure to be balanced with the water pressure at the proportioner inlets. This balance meters the proper amount of foam concentrate into the water stream.

Bladder Tank System

VertBladTnkInstal Balanced pressure bladder tank systems use a pressure-rated tank with an internal nylonreinforced elastomeric bladder. System water pressure is used to squeeze the bladder containing the foam concentrate providing pressurized concentrate to the proportioner. The resulting foam solution is piped to discharge devices protecting the hazard area. A distinct advantage of bladder tanks is that no external power supply is required other than a pressurized water source. However, because the bladder tank is pressurized during operation, it cannot be conveniently recharged during discharge. Because of their simple design, bladder tanks require very little maintenance.  



Balance Pressured  Pump Proportioning

Balance pressure pump proportioning systems use atmospheric foam concentrate storage tanks The tank is not pressure rated and may be constructed of mild steel, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, or polyethylene plastic.PumpSkid Instead of using pressurized water as with bladder tanks, the foam liquid is pumped to the proportioner. An automatic pressure balancing valve regulates the foam concentrate pressure to match the water pressure. A duplex pressure gauge provides continuous monitoring of both water and concentrate pressures. The system can also be operated manually to control the pressures and isolate the automatic balancing valve. Positive displacement pumps are used with these systems to allow maximum efficiency for liquids of varying viscosity. The size of pumps and drivers will vary depending on the application and the type of foam concentrate used.

In-Line Balanced Pressure Proportioner

PPW-200_80 The in-line balanced pressure proportioner is similar to the pump skid previously described except that it is a separate assembly that offers the advantage of proportioning the foam concentrate at a location remote from the tank and pump. Like the pump skid, the proportioner assembly incorporates an automatic pressure balancing valve, duplex gauge, and hand-operated valves for optional manual pressure regulation. A pressure control valve, located in the return line to the foam concentrate storage tank, maintains constant pressure in the supply manifold that is 15 to 20 psi (103 to 138 kPa) higher than the water pressure to the proportioner. Multiple in-line balanced pressure proportioners can be supplied from a single foam pump to protect several hazard areas. By adding an automated valve to each proportioner, either foam discharge or water only discharge can be selected.

Inline Inductors

To Follow

Premix Foam Systems

The simplest means of proportioning is accomplished by pre-mixing. With this method, pre-measured portions of water and foam concentrate are mixed in a container. In most cases, pre-mixed solutions are discharged from a pressure-rated tank using an inert gas such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen. An alternate method of discharge uses a pump and on-pressure-rated, atmospheric storage tank. The pump transfers the foam solution (under pressure) through piping or hose to the discharge devices.

Only AFFF concentrates can be used with the premix or dump-in methods. Protein base foams do not mix as readily as AFFF and will gradually settle out of the premixed solution. Specially diluted alcohol-resistant concentrates are used in specific pre-mix units. In dump-in applications, ANSULITE alcohol-resistant AFFF concentrate should only be used when the booster tank is equipped with a circulation pump and complete mixing can be accomplished through the recycle line.

A disadvantage with premix systems is that all the water is converted to foam solution. Other types of proportioning systems store the foam concentrate separately from the water supply so that either foam or water discharge is possible.

A Premix system is ideal for protection of small hazards where suitable continuous water supplies are not available. Typical risks include Pump Rooms, Dip Tanks and Engine Rooms.


  • Self Contained
  • Does not need continuous water supply
  • Does not need external power for operation
  • Relatively inexpensive


  • Premix storage life is limited – needs to be replaced every 1 to 3 years
  • Only suitable for small risks