November 9, 2020
Safety can’t wait, even during a pandemic. Despite movement restrictions that prevented in-person testing, pump manufacturing company Saudi Mechanical Industries Co (SMI) needed to call on UL for a solution. SMI hoped to certify its fire pump series to meet UL 448, the Safety Standard for Centrifugal Stationary Pumps for Fire-Protection Service. Building on trust between the companies, UL completed its first Remote Witnessed Test Data Programme activity under the UL Data Acceptance Program (DAP) in the region, making SMI the first company in the Middle East within the fire and safety sector to remotely conduct the UL 448 fire pump test program.
UL has worked alongside SMI since 2016, so the company already had a level of familiarity with UL and its processes. 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 utilized DAP’s provision for remote witnessed testing after assessing the laboratory’s capabilities. While completing the remote witnessed testing resulted in time saved by removing the requirement for travel, UL spent additional time reviewing test protocols, assessing SMI’s laboratory and creating a framework for online testing.
Rami Qaradeh, UL’s project engineer on the project, explained the importance of offering a flexible, remote solution: “The most significant obstacles to our project were time and COVID-19 safety measures, which prevented us from traveling 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.
“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.”
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 COVID-19 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.
Qaradeh continued, “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.”
Qaradeh concluded, “This project was ultimately a success because we paid close attention to every detail. Our engineers approved every aspect of the test, helping to ensure safety, not only of the products but also of our people, who were able to do their jobs remotely.”
Through this innovative approach, UL delivered the services SMI needed during a challenging time. For fire protection manufacturing and other industries, UL offers a range of remote witnessed testing solutions to support innovative market solutions with reliable science-based repeatable testing and certification offerings.