Dyno disasters are rare but small mishaps can often escalate to the point of being catastrophic, especially when fire is involved. Blueprint Engines out of Kearney, Nebraska, is currently installing new dyno cells to enhance not only R&D efforts but also ensure the power promise of every engine sold. To help address any burning questions over safety, Blueprint installs a CO2 fire suppression system in its cells, and recently posted a video showcasing the system’s capability.
“There are a lot of things that can go wrong in a dyno cell, and we want to make sure that our operators are as safe as we possibly can,” says Dru Freese, product manager at Blueprint Engines. “In this particular test, the engine was not hooked up at all, just sitting on the dyno cart.”
Early tests helped determine how close the flame-detection wiring had to be to the engine to activate the CO2 system in a timely manner.
“It took a few tries, but we think we have come up with the ultimate location to catch the smallest of fires,” says Freese.” Again to keep all of our employees safe, as well as reduce the amount of damage done to the dyno equipment itself.”
In addition to the flame detection wiring, the system can be manually activated by the dyno operator.
“If the flames erupt and it burns the flame detection wiring for five seconds or more, the suppression system will be activated,” adds Freese. “First thing that happens is the ventilation, fuel, water and the engine are all immediately shut down. Next the CO2 will be dispersed on the engine until the flames are put out.”
As the video shows, plenty of flame-smothering gas is pumped into the room from the overhead nozzles.
“Another safety check that this system has, if the CO2 tanks are too low to properly put out an engine or dyno fire, then none of the systems running in the room will work,” says Freese. “And there is no way the engine can be started.”
Once the design and testing of every function in the dyno cell is completed, then all the remaining production dyno will be built as clones to ensure safety and consistency in testing.