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The RAF is trialling Parker Hannifin’s Icount particle-detection technology to enhance the quality and safety of its aviation fuels.

Fitted to refuelling vehicles, the Icount detection units indicate if fuel quality falls below a set threshold, helping to identify contamination caused by particles or moisture and improving productivity while potentially reducing operating costs.

The RAF has fitted several Icount 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 device 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 Icount 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 variety of internationally recognised standards for aviation fuels.

Perhaps as importantly, the system provides crucial monitoring of the condition of the fuel immediately downstream of the filters.

These use super-absorbent polymer media in each Monitor element; although these offer high levels of efficiency, they can be prone to rapid degradation or failure.

The Icount units can therefore detect any change in operating conditions and provide a constant indication of fuel condition while it is being pumped.

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

Icount units are small, robust and lightweight and were simple for the RAF to install without the need for extensive modifications to each refuelling vehicle.

Additionally, they have eliminated previous methods of using subject gravimetric tests and are less expensive than traditional light-scattering devices.

The Icount units are rated to IP66 and have a range of output options that make it 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.

Parker Hannifin — Parker Sales UK

With annual sales exceeding $10bn, Parker Hannifin is the world's leading manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of commercial, mobile, industrial and aerospace markets.

To meet its customers' needs in motion and control, Parker provides the broadest range of products available from any single supplier. This is supported by expertise in nine major technologies:

  • Hydraulics
  • Pneumatics
  • Electromechanical
  • Filtration
  • Process control
  • Fluid and gas handling
  • Sealing and shielding
  • Climate control
  • Aerospace

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