A Digital Relay Pumping System

Relay Pumping is a technique of using multiple pumps in series in order to move water over longer distances. A hose can tolerate only a certain pressure. Friction loss reduces the water pressure as the hose gets longer, so that a given hose can only move water so far.

If another pump is used to reboost the pressure, then the water can move farther.
This process can be used with an unlimited number of pumps.
The only problem is that if the pumps are not synchronized in operation, "water hammer" can destroy the hose run.

Today, relay pumping is controlled by radio communication between all of the pump operators.
When there are more than a few operators, the radios don't allow for precise synchronization of the pumps.

The following sections will show how a digital network supported by a wire pair in the hoses can prevent "water hammer".

Digital relay pumping would allow for very long relays which can bring water closer to the fires.

Digital relay pumping can also be used to deliver water to areas whose water mains have been destroyed by EARTHQUAKES.
The water delivered can be used to fight fires caused by the earthquake, and also to supply drinking water to the population.

The figure above shows pickup trucks with portable diesel pumps and hoses on reels.
The pickup trucks have deployed the hose, from the reels, while driving across the terrain.

The hose contains a small gauge wire pair that supports a digital data network which, 

by remote control, monitors and controls all of the pumps in the system.
Multiple pumps are needed when water is pumped long distances. 

All of the pumps in the relay pumping network can be precisely controlled by a personal computer that is driven from a control panel.
Once the hose and pumps of the system are deployed, there is no need to dedicate an operator
to control each pump. 

The figure below shows that tractors can be used instead of pickup trucks.
The image below shows a fire that is very wide, but is quite narrow.
A long digital relay pumping system that has Spray Hose segments along its length
could stop the spread of this type of fire.

The hose shown below contains a single wire. It is sold by All American Hose company. 
Adding a second wire to create a digital network is not difficult.

Hale Products 
Hale Products is one of the larger pump suppliers to first responders. 
Mike Laskaris is the Director of Engineering at Hale Products. 
He and Steve Shoap (IFFC, LLC) co-authored a paper on Digital Control of Relay Pumping that was accepted for publication by the
IEEE Homeland Security Technology Conference in Boston (Nov. 13-15, 2012).

Click HERE to read the paper.

In the paper, Mr. Laskaris states:

"Using a digital network embedded in fire hose creates a powerful control system that not only provides remote control and improved manpower availability, it can add to safe operations because of a more reliable view of the system. It can also keep First Responders out of hazardous areas. The system cost increase is minor, and the improvements in capabliity are significant."

The image below is a Hale Diesel pump on a trailer. This type of pump could be towed by a pickup truck, or the pump could be placed
in the bed of the truck.
Click HERE to see an article about Digital Relay Pumping, by Steve Shoap (IFFC) in the magazine Wildfire.
Wildfire is published by the International Association of Wildland Fire.

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