Two Isn’t Always Better
Beta trial complete at Cook Medical
- By Frederick Koons
- Mar 01, 2017
Higher-sensitivity fire detectors can do more than
just spot threats earlier—they can actually lower
long term hardware expenses for facility managers.
That’s the conclusion drawn by U.S.-based
medical device maker Cook Medical after conducting
a side-by-side comparison of two different VESDA-E detectors.
Partnering with Creative Fire—Brisbane, Cook Medical
conducted a beta test of existing, commonly used detectors against
newer, ultra-high sensitivity detectors. The trial application was installed
at an active warehouse in Queensland, Australia.
In addition to superior performance, the beta test concluded
that one Xtralis VESDA-E VEU system can be successfully substituted
for two FastSense detection systems. For facilities managers,
this means installing and maintaining far fewer systems on
an ongoing basis, translating to a lower total cost of ownership.
The Beta Trial
Using identical sampling pipe layouts to standardize the test, the
2,470 m2 warehouse was split in half—one side being monitored
by one new ultra-sensitive detector (Xtralis’ VESDA-E VEU system),
and the other covered by two existing FastSense Plus HSSD2
detectors. All detectors were mounted on the mezzanine level approximately
two meters from the ceiling. Throughout the test, all
detectors, pipe layouts and smoke transport time requirements remained
in accordance with AS1670, local fire safety codes.
To monitor stability, the test proceeded using the existing settings
on the standard detectors and factory default settings on the
ultra-sensitive detector, despite its ultra-high sensitivity capabilities.
Final commissioning, including smoke testing of the system
was completed with the fire contractor, and after two months,
data was obtained from the VEU for evaluation. Despite the
background obscuration level remaining extremely low—between
0.0002% Obs/m and 0.008% Obs/m—the detector remained very
stable during the test with no issues.
While fire is a concern for any warehouse, another vulnerability
for Cook Medical is smoke contamination. The high sensitivity capability
of the VEU detector would detect any potential smoldering
fire at the very earliest possible stage—a feature that required
deviating from the factory settings to fully test the technology.
Customizing the System
With enhanced sensitivity of up to 15 times greater than current
VESDA detectors, the VEU’s advanced detection chamber is able
to more accurately monitor and detect smoke and fire threats.
By reviewing the event log, facilities managers are able to manually
adjust alert levels based on unique situations. For instance,
opening the loading dock doors at the Cook Medical warehouse
impacted VUE readings, so the alert level was adjusted to 0.0400
“This unique detector clearly demonstrated that our warehouse
was maintaining a very high standard of cleanliness,” said
Kelly Francis Grieg, Cook Medical Facilities Manager. “We were
very impressed with the capability of the VEU to chart the background
environment within the warehouse.”
Beyond using background environment data to inform smoke
and fire detection, facilities managers are able to prove their organizations
meet or exceed the strict cleanliness standards required
by government or health organizations.
Following the test, Cook Medical tapped Creative Fire and replaced
the remaining FastSense Plus detectors with an additional
VESDA-E VEU detector.
As high tech manufacturing facilities become even cleaner
warehouse environments, the technology for monitoring fire safety
threats will be forced to become even more sensitive to minute
dust and debris. A challenge that new age ultra-sensitive detectors
are taking head
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Security Today.