Ashcroft, Inc., the manufacturer of Ashcroft gauges, is the leading pressure and temperature instrumentation manufacturer in the world. Their global manufacturing, distribution and R&D network spans 55 countries and positions Ashcroft, Inc. with the resources and trained professionals required to consistently produce high-quality products. As a result, for over a century and a half Ashcroft gauges have set the standard for pressure gauges.
This blog introduces Ashcroft gauges and highlights their many benefits for fire protection and testing applications. It starts with a brief history of Ashcroft, Inc., then transitions to uses and benefits of specific models. Not what you're looking for? Feel free to skip directly to our online Ashcroft gauge selection here.
The proliferation of steam power during the early industrial revolution brought injuries and death as improperly monitored machines would often forcefully explode. Seeing the opportunity to improve this often deadly process, Edward Ashcroft, in 1852, started his company to develop reliable pressure and control instruments, including Ashcroft gauges. As new technologies emerged, Ashcroft adapted to each industry’s unique requirements.
Today Ashcroft provides a variety of products tailored to most industries: oil & gas, water, chemical, power, food & beverage, life safety, pharmaceuticals and more. All their products are manufactured in ISO certified facilities, in the pursuit of perfect quality every time. But I digress, you’re here to learn about gauges so let's focus on Ashcroft’s superior fire protection and testing gauges.
Decades of experience producing gauges have led to many unique trademarked developments available exclusively in Ashcroft’s products. These improvements separate Ashcroft gauges from competitor products in the fire protection and testing industry. These advancements came to fruition because Ashcroft addressed issues other gauges failed to address, most notably vibration.
VIBRATION IS THE ENEMY
Mechanical vibration is the leading cause of gauge failure. This vibration impacts the accuracy of a gauge in three ways. First, and most obvious, gauge vibration will cause poor readings as the pointer flutters, forcing the user to make a best-guess. Second, cumulative vibration will eventually result in the pointer’s tare being off-zero (usually requiring calibration). Finally, excessive vibration will permanently damage inner-moving parts rendering the gauge completely useless.
In the fire protection industry, both wet and dry fire sprinkler systems rely on an extensive system of pipes. Dry sprinkler systems are filled with pressurized air and wet systems with water, but both will absorb and even create significant vibration during normal operations, probably more so during a fire.
To combat sustained vibration in fire protection gauges, Ashcroft developed PowerFlex™. Ashcroft’s patented PowerFlex™ ‘suspended movement’ isolates the pointer from the socket, the usual path for shock and vibration. This reduces the amount of stress transmitted to internal moving parts thus lowering gauge maintenance and replacement costs. Independent lab testing has proven PowerFlex™ movement provides superior vibration resistance in gauges that carry it over gauges that don’t.
A recommended gauge with PowerFlex™ technology is the 1005P XUL Fire Protection Sprinkler Service Gauge. This model comes standard with Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listing and Factory Mutual (FM) approval. For wet systems gauge comes with a 0-300 PSI range and for dry systems a 0/80 retard to 250 PSI range. The superior vibration control, tailored purpose, and listings found on the 1005P XUL Fire Protection Sprinkler Service Gauge will make you confident your sprinkler system gauges are accurate.
ZERO MEANS ZERO
Sustained vibration often leads to false zeros. If a gauge reads zero, unfortunately, it doesn’t always mean there isn’t any pressure. Conventional gauges sometimes read zero in pressurized systems because of a damaged dial pin that consequently restricts the pointer to fall below zero. Ashcroft, Inc. had the foresight to stray from this design and instead launched the TrueZero™ improvement. This reduces the rate of false zeros by using a "zero box" instead of conventional dial pins, thus circumventing the issue of restriction to fall to zero.
Fire pump, hydrant, or valve testing professionals will especially benefit from PowerFlex™ and TrueZero™ technologies. For example, the 1009 Duralife Gauge, available with 2.5” or 3” dials in a variety of dial ranges, features both TrueZero™ and PowerFlex™ technologies. This gauge is the perfect upgrade for Pitot Tube or other testing equipment.
There is no argument that Ashcroft’s technology has vastly improved their gauge’s accuracy and lifespan, but sometimes durability and ease-of-use trump all. In those instances, Ashcroft’s 3” Inspector’s Pocket gauge is your go-to. Intended for the inspection, testing, and validation of key installation points in pressurized water systems, this durable gauge is made of stainless steel and features a bright white background for easy reading, along with a nylon carrying pouch for safe transport. Backed by Ashcroft’s reputation and warranty, this gauge meets the daily challenges faced by testing professionals.
Another option to avoid mechanical failure entirely while achieving equal precision is the Ashcroft DG25 Digital Pressure Gauge. We'll talk about this product in detail next week.
The four gauges introduced in this blog represent but a small sample of Ashcroft’s full lineup of gauges. However, for fire protection and testing professionals, these four offer a combination of technology and timeless construction to provide accurate readings for a lifetime. All four and many more are in stock with various options at QRFS.com. Our large – AND GROWING – selection of Ashcroft gauges comes standard with exceptional customer service, low prices, and incredibly fast shipping.