UL completes first remote witnessed testing programme in MENA region, certifying vertical turbine fire pumps in Saudi Arabia

Published: 30 October 2020 - 2 a.m.

Safety science company UL has completed its first Remote Witnessed Test Data Programme activity under UL Data Acceptance Program (DAP) in the region.

UL has awarded pump manufacturing company Saudi Mechanical Industries Co (SMI) certification following remote witness testing of SMI’s fire pump series, making SMI the first company in the Middle East within the fire and safety sector to remotely receive UL 488, the Standard for Centrifugal Stationary Pumps for Fire-Protection Service.

UL has worked alongside SMI since 2016, providing certification services utilising SMI’s testing facility, enabling SMI to achieve approval and certification of its range of fire pumps.

Due to restrictions affecting travel into Saudi Arabia, UL’s team was unable to physically attend SMI’s facility to conduct testing. In response to limited travel, physical distancing measures and SMI’s urgent requirements, UL utilised DAP’s provision for remote witnessed testing after assessing the laboratory’s capabilities.

Rami Qaradeh, UL’s project engineer, explained the importance of offering a flexible, remote solution: “The most significant obstacles for our project were time and Covid-19 safety measures, which prevented us from travelling and physically witnessing tests. Therefore, our aim was to deliver a service that assists our customers to meet their business continuity needs despite the lockdown.

"To complete the remote witnessing of tests, we needed to provide a solution that would effectively allow us to have eyes in the testing facility, making this testing as comprehensive as previous ones.

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“To achieve this, we assessed SMI’s testing facility prior to witnessing tests, which included the review of SMI’s laboratory environment, equipment, calibration and safety requirements.

"For remote witnessing of the tests, we used fixed and roaming live cameras, giving us access to the entire facility. Over the course of two days, we connected with the SMI team via an online meeting platform, which allowed us to remotely witness test and collect the data required to complete the project.”

While completing the remote witnessed testing resulted in time saved by removing the requirement for travel, UL spent additional time on reviewing test protocols, assessing SMI’s laboratory and creating a framework for online testing.

Khalid Ziad Saif, application manager of SMI’s engineering department, said: “The requirement to certify these pumps arose during a critical period in the project. Due to movement restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the usual avenues of testing and certification were unavailable to us.

"However, the availability of UL’s remote witnessed testing technology enabled us to complete testing and achieve certification of the fire pumps in record time, so we could meet challenging project deadlines, expand our SMI fire pump series and ensure the satisfaction of our customer.

“UL’s remote witnessed testing provided great flexibility, enabling us to work side by side with UL to complete the witnessed tests, while ensuring we maintained the high levels of quality and consistency we are accustomed to during on-site tests.

"UL provided a robust plan, which helped to ensure testing was conducted in a safe manner and in accordance with the applicable requirements. UL and SMI conducted the remote witnessed operation tests virtually via an online meeting platform and we obtained certification without any delays.”

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