by Joan Leedy and Jennie Novak

Partnering to Protect Lives & Property has been Dyne’s motto for 20 years. Over those 20 years, Dyne Technologies has come a long way but we’ve always been proud of our high-quality test results with timely delivery and unparalleled customer service. Recently rebranded as Dyne Fire Protection Labs, we have grown from a team of a just a few people to many lab technicians and administrative staff with a variety of backgrounds and skills.

Joan Leedy founded Dyne Technologies in February 1999. When she started Dyne, she envisioned and developed a highly efficient system for firefighting foam testing that included mailing self-contained testing kits to customers, checking them in at the lab, managing workflow and quickly sending results. An emphasis on quality started from the beginning at Dyne, with quality improvement being at the forefront of the process. Dyne was approved for ISO 9001 certification in 2004 and continues today with ISO 9001:2015 certification. Joan says, “Dyne was built on the premise that if we made testing foam easier, faster and more accurate, it would be more likely to get done, and today we extend that same principle to all of our testing services.”

Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Gabrielle Thelen, Nicki Stiff, Jennie Novak, Julie Bunch, Grant Lobdell, Mark Spaniol, Alyssa Dunn, Evelyn Vogel, Crimson Erwin, Mary Ann Poulin, Dang Xiong, and John Langteau. Not pictured: Joan Leedy, Don Leedy, and Jody Lowe

Dyne’s first office and laboratory was located in St. Paul, MN, however after 2 years, Dyne had grown to the point where a better equipped laboratory was required and Dyne moved to its current location. Since the move, many expansions and improvements have occurred to keep up with the growth.

Firefighting Foam Testing

When Dyne first offered foam testing services, not much foam stock was actually being tested. Though NFPA 11 and 25 recommended foam be tested annually, it was not easy or convenient. No testing companies offered kits—so finding jars, packaging the samples and sending the foam to a test laboratory was a big hurdle. In addition, no laboratories offered a quick turnaround and a month or more was the typical wait time for results. Dyne was the first testing company to offer kits, prepaid shipping and a quick turnaround. By making the process easy, it made it simple for customers to test and thereby comply with the NFPA standards. As a result, a majority of field foam is being tested today.
An additional change in the last 20 years is the wide-variety of foam products available today. When polar resistant foam technology was first developed, there was only a 6/6% foam – meaning that the product was used at 6% on both polar
and hydrocarbons solvents. Additionally, all polar solvent foam used polymer technology meaning that it was visually viscous and easy to identify. As foam technology advanced, different concentrations where developed such a 3/6%, 1/3% and 1/1%. In addition, there are new polar solvent foams that are not viscous so it can be difficult to identify a polar solvent foam from a hydrocarbon foam by simply examining it visually. Many times, when customers send in foam samples now, not only do they want to make sure it will still perform but they often want to confirm the type of foam to ensure it is being proportioned correctly for the particular hazard it is protecting.
Additional industry changes are sure to occur in the future as well. Fluorine-free foams are now being developed and changes to how these foams are tested are likely to occur. Dyne will be closely following these industry changes to stay up to date with the current standards. In 2018, Dyne was accepted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) as an independent laboratory for foam analysis.

Sprinkler Testing

We added sprinkler testing of standard, dry, and fast response sprinklers to our testing services in December of 2016. NPFA 25 requires building owners to have a sample of the installed sprinklers tested after 5, 10, 20 or 50 years in service (depending on the type of sprinkler) by a recognized testing lab. NFPA 25 section states a representative sample of sprinklers for testing shall consist of a minimum of not less than four sprinklers or 1 percent of the number of sprinklers per individual sprinkler sample, whichever is greater. Much like foam testing, our free standard sprinkler kits, free shipping, and reports sent via email in 5-business days are what makes our sprinkler testing stand out. Dyne performs a plunge oven test to determine the release time. These tests are designed to ensure the sprinkler will release in a specified time when exposed to specific temperatures. The acceptable response time is based on a response time index (RTI). Along with our emailed reports, we provide a link to pictures of the sprinklers taken pre- and post-testing. Sprinkler testing has been steadily increasing and we anticipate further growth in 2019.

Dry Chemical Testing

Dry Chemical testing was added to Dyne’s services in 2018. IMO 1432 31/5/2012 requires that for fixed dry chemical systems, a dry chemical sample is tested for moisture content every two years. NFPA does not explicitly require this test but it can help fulfill the requirements to check for contamination. Excess moisture can be detrimental to dry chemical performance, but it can also increase the likelihood of corrosion in the system.

Along with our lab services, we continue to improve our systems, communication, and expand our offerings.

New this year, we are working on expanding our online sprinkler return form to include foam, antifreeze, and dry chemical testing. In an effort to be green and enhance our customer experience, this tool will make submitting samples even easier and more efficient. If you are not already registered on the Dyne website, take a moment to register so that you will be able to use the tools available to you in our ever evolving and improving customer portal.

Along with our monthly newsletter articles and videos we are adding webinars to our repertoire of educational offerings. Our first webinar will be presented on NFPA 25 Sprinkler Testing Requirements on March 20th at 1:00 pm CST. The webinar will include information on what you should test, why sprinklers fail, and a Q & A session. Contact us today for an email invite and login instructions.

Dyne gives back to the fire protection community by proudly donating to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation as a Bronze level sponsor. The NFFF honors and remembers America's fallen fire heroes and provides resources to assist their survivors in rebuilding their lives and works within the fire service community to reduce firefighter deaths and injuries.

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©Dyne Fire Protection Labs 2019