ARLINGTON, Va., Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- All eyes were on the iconic Eternal Flame today as it returned to its permanent location at Arlington National Cemetery following a recent upgrade that included new monitoring and ignition controls by Fenwal Controls. Fenwal, the designer of the Eternal Flame's ignition system since its installation at the permanent gravesite of President John F. Kennedy in 1967, completed the work in advance of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's death. Fenwal Controls, a leading supplier of gas ignition and temperature control components, is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
"Fenwal is honored to be entrusted again with providing innovative and reliable technology that will keep this memorial burning bright for the close to 4 million annual visitors," said Bob McDonough, COO, Americas, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. "The reliability of the Eternal Flame is a testament to Fenwal's custom-engineered solutions that thrive in the most demanding applications."
The Eternal Flame burns from the center of a five-foot circular flat-granite stone at the head of the president's grave. A series of electrodes are positioned around the base of the torch to constantly monitor the flame and to instantly relight the gas should the flame be compromised by rain, wind or accident. The upgraded system now includes microprocessor-based controls for higher flame sensitivity and even more consistent, reliable performance under a wider range of temperatures and humidity levels. The upgrades further enhance Fenwal's already resilient creation, which previously withstood Hurricane Sandy.
Fenwal's recent completion of the ignition control system upgrade dovetailed with overall infrastructure and utilities upgrades designed to be completed in advance of formal ceremonies for the Nov. 22 anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination. Despite being moved from its permanent location, the Eternal Flame was never extinguished, instead burning from a temporary torch.Fenwal Controls pioneered gas ignition controls in the early 1960s to automate and improve the safety of manual pilots and burners in gas-fired appliances. Fenwal's direct-spark gas ignition technology was a clear match from the beginning for the unique requirements and advanced combustion design of the Eternal Flame.