FITI Parks Their New Flame Manikin Underground

FITI is a premier testing laboratory located in urban Seoul Korea, providing a broad range of physical and performance testing to clients worldwide. When they decided to add flame manikin testing per ISO 13506 and NFPA 2112 to their capabilities, they faced a familiar challenge:  where to put it without expensive new building construction?

In partnership with Thermetrics and our sales agent in Korea, Technox, the team at FITI came up with a creative solution: Repurpose some space from their underground parking garage to build out a new laboratory for the flame manikin system. The first level of their garage was convenient to access from the other lab spaces, had multiple openings to the outdoors to provide fresh air, and included an existing sprinkler system for safety. The underground location also provides a more stable environment in summer and winter months without expensive HVAC.

The first stage of the installation was to enclose the space with modular walls, and to reroute any existing electrical and ventilation.

The resulting fully enclosed space includes security doors, utility sink, and electrical and network service to create a world-class laboratory from essentially 7 parking spaces. If you look closely at the neatly sealed and painted floors, you can still find slightly raised areas marking the paint stripes of the former parking lot.

Flame manikin laboratory, installed

Every world-class flame laboratory needs a world-class flame manikin system. Thermetrics supplied a complete Burnie manikin for the FITI lab. The system was built and shipped from Seattle and the Thermetrics team spent several weeks in beautiful Seoul assembling the modular chamber, installing the manikin, commissioning the system, and training the research team at FITI.

Each flame manikin system installation is a little bit different. Site requirements and local code compliance vary by location. For this installation, FITI set a new bar for innovation with their parking garage reconfiguration. If you need some flame testing done or are in the Seoul area, we strongly suggest a visit to FITI. You will be impressed!  

Thanks again to the team at FITI for putting their trust in Thermetrics, and also to Technox for their engineering and coordination support on this project. We love this work.

Rick Burke and the FITI team at the FITI headquarters in Seoul

Big changes unfolding at Thermetrics

This past summer, we created a new division within Thermetrics, “Customer Engagement” to bring our marketing, sales, and product service teams into one cohesive unit. We often say that when you buy a Thermetrics system, you become a partner for life. This shift in company structure will help us ensure that sentiment even as we grow. A critical part of this, of course, includes key team members:


Monet Solberg, Director of Sales and Marketing

We welcomed Monet to Thermetrics at the start of October to oversee the new Customer Engagement division. Coming from a medical device background supporting technical customers with specialized equipment needs, Monet brings a new level of expertise and energy to Thermetrics. You can expect to hear and see more of her in the near future as she becomes more immersed in all things Thermetrics.


Aki Sirkkola, Global Sales Manager 

Aki has been a key part of the Thermetrics team for almost 8 years, managing our service and support function and working directly with customers to keep their Thermetrics devices in top operating condition. This year, Aki made the move across the globe and is now managing international sales from our new Finland office.  


Kevin Bengston, North America Sales Manager

Since 2007, Kevin has been a key part of Thermetrics, serving as Operations Manager for over 10 years before joining the sales team. Kevin knows the products inside and out, and has deep connections in the outdoor and recreation markets. That expertise is aligned with Kevin’s bottomless enthusiasm for collaborating with customers.


COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions: Managing the new normal

By now, we are all no doubt growing weary of hearing about and dealing with the Coronavirus. Many have been personally impacted by the virus, and everybody has been affected by the resulting societal changes. Masks, separation, remote working, and much more. COVID-19 has turned what was normal and predictable into a constant challenge. How does this specifically affect Thermetrics customers? As labs are slowly returning to full capacity and managing testing backlogs, our service and support team is helping ensure Thermetrics instruments are up to the task with both on-site and remote service and calibration options.


To compound things, global supply chain disruptions are causing longer lead times and price escalation on raw materials and manufactured parts. We are applying three strategies to reduce impact on our clients: 1) Increased inventory to ensure long-term availability; 2) Dynamic design changes to replace unavailable components; 3) Regular communication with customers about active order status.


For our clients taking delivery of new equipment, we are scheduling in-person startup and training visits by fully vaccinated Thermetrics staff. For organizations where in-person visits aren’t a viable option, we can provide virtual startup support with a real-time video headset and remote computer connection.


I am optimistic 2022 will be a year of return-to-in-person, and look forward to more opportunities to get together to geek out and laugh together.


Warm regards,

Rick Burke, Thermetrics President

Now Available: DRT-201 advanced drying rate detection algorithm

Thermetrics just completed an extensive material review study and optimized our drying rate detection algorithm to cover a wider range of samples. Our DRT-201 has always provided reliable and consistent drying rate results for those samples that behave well. You know the ones—they wet out nicely, dry uniformly, and don’t change dimensions between dry and wet state. But the real world includes a complex array of materials and scenarios that don’t always fit within the guidance of the AATCC TM201 test method.

If you are testing samples with hydrophobic surfaces, membrane layers, or other samples that might push the boundaries of the test method, you will find the Thermetrics DRT-201 be an even more versatile instrument for both specialized research and production testing.

Dan Howe, Thermetrics engineer specializing in the DRT product put it this way: “In general, the machine does an automatic slope detection and computation to extrapolate moisture level based on sample surface temperature as described in the AATCC TM201 Test Method. It works very well with some materials but not at all with others. The more unusual a material you tested, the more prone to glitches it was, which I know has been frustrating to operators. We rewrote the software to be more robust when samples didn’t behave with a typical response curve. The range of testable samples is now larger and when a sample can’t be measured with the automatic detection, the system now provides a fault code to help the operators mitigate for future tests.”

Drying Rate Tester (DRT) with labeled parts

For more information about the Thermetrics Drying Rate Tester (DRT-201) or the new algorithm, please contact Thermetrics.

Long-time Thermetrics partner, PBI Performance Products showcases the Flash Fire Cylinder

In what started as a rough sketch on a flipchart during a brainstorming session, the Flash Fire Cylinder (FFC) has evolved into an highly repeatable, closer-to-reality bench-scale tool for testing thermal performance of textiles. 

PBI president Bill Lawson recently narrated the first in a series of videos on how the FFC is helping achieve their goal of providing lightweight, comfortable PPE for end-users. The first video covers the need and evolution of identifying a closer-to-reality way to test the materials for PPE. The second video highlights some key features of the FFC.

“The closer-to-reality testing the FFC affords is a huge benefit to garment makers, helping them better-understand how their garments will perform in the field.” – William Lawson, President of PBI

About the Flash Fire Cylinder

With its cylindrical design, 15 embedded sensors, and sample holder rings creating a quarter-inch air-gap, the FFC provides a much closer approximation to the human body—the actual end-use case. Benefits of the device are many, including:

  • A huge cost-savings with the ability to test materials at a bench scale before going to full-scale manikin tests
  • Compact for use in existing lab environments
  • Easy sample prep and installation for highly repeatable test conditions 
  • Integrated, robust safety precautions for test operators, including an external emergency-stop interface
  • Ability to see the effects of dimensional changes in the material under very controlled conditions
Flash fire cylinder (FFC) with flames

Be on the lookout for more videos in this series from PBI Performance Products, and contact Thermetrics to learn how the FFC can support your org’s materials testing needs.

Thermetrics showcases the value of its Flash Fire Cylinder at ECPC 2021

Partnering with PBI Performance Products Development Engineer Josh Ingram, Thermetrics President Rick Burke delivered a talk, “Development and Validation of a Bench-ScaleFlash Fire Materials Tester” at the 9th European Conference on Protective Clothing held in May 2021.

During the presentation, Burke and Ingram covered the “missing dimension” in flame exposure testing. The standard across the globe is testing flat fabric samples which only considers one dimension—the alternative testing method being a flash fire manikin, which provides data for three dimensions, but is very expensive. Enter the Flash Fire Cylinder (FFC) which is an excellent intermediate testing step.

The benefits of the Thermetrics FFC are many: 

  • Compact for use in existing lab environments—fits in any standard lab hood
  • Integrated, robust safety precautions for test operators
  • Incorporates an industry-recognized sensor design for proven accuracy
  • Have the ability to test materials at bench scale before going to full-scale manikin tests
  • With the cylinder form of the FFC, you can see the effects of dimensional changes in the material under very controlled conditions
Flash Fire Cylinder Fills the Gap - 2 dimensions

For more information about the Thermetrics Flash Fire Cylinder, please contact Thermetrics.