In an industry where there is no margin for error, free water in aviation fuel is a serious concern. If water separates out of the fuel in flight at altitude, it can lead to ice formation, block injector systems, fuel lines and filters, potentially resulting in engine failure.

Shell Water Detector (SWD), a device to determine the presence of free water in fuel in concentrations lower than those detectable by visual examination has been a leading test system since the1950s. This simple yet effective tool is used over ten million times a year around the world. Giving peace of mind to aviation operators for over 55 years, SWD is now available in easier-to-use packaging, designed to enhance product quality assurance.

"We are pleased to be introducing the updated Shell Water Detector," says Victoria Guy, GM HSSE, operations, technology and supply, Shell Aviation. "The redesign of this long established and trusted tool makes it easier and more ergonomic to use. We take a holistic approach when it comes to safety and quality assurance. Through strong collaborations with industry associations and customers alike, we aim to maintain high standards not only for Shell Aviation but also make a valuable contribution to our industry as a whole. Shell Water Detector has been one such innovative device which has supported jet fuel safety across the world for over five decades."

SWD now uses new patented, medical-grade quality, desiccant-coated tubes, which help to protect the capsules during the rigours of use. It also improves the protection of the capsules against ambient moisture, especially in humid locations. The new tubes have flip caps, which are easy to use, open and seal with one hand while wearing protective gloves. The flip caps also help protect the remaining capsules from moisture as they seal the tubes more effectively. The newly designed SWD box reduces packaging waste while containing the same number of capsules (80) with eight tubes and ten capsules per tube versus the previous ten tubes with eight capsules.

SWD is manufactured under licence by Brawn Manufacturing in compliance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. All capsule batches are tested during production to ensure that SWD performs to the correct standard. Further tests are conducted by an independent laboratory on each batch as an additional quality assurance measure. Batch traceability is another element of the SWD quality control mechanism. SWD is distributed by A. Searle & Co Ltd globally.