Q & A From the Product Manager's POV

The unsung hero of the security industry may well be the smoke detector. System Sensor recently launched a new product designed to save lives. But one of its most interesting aspects is the ability of the housing to convert from a rectangle to square shape, all based on need. We wanted to know more, so we sat down with product manager Andy Kuester to learn more about InnovairFlex.

Q.System Sensor recently introduced a new duct smoke detector. What brought this about?

A.We understand that our customers face various mounting or environmental constraints during installation. What differs in every building is the HVAC footprint. Most duct smoke detectors are similar in shape and do not accommodate varying airduct systems. InnovairFlex™, the next generation of duct smoke detectors from System Sensor, incorporates a versatile housing design that provides installers with never before seen flexibility in a duct smoke detector. The housing can be converted from a rectangular to a square footprint or anything in between to accommodate mounting constraints in the widest range of applications.

Q.How does InnovairFlex differ from current duct smoke detector products?

A.InnovairFlex has a completely new platform that includes two-wire, four-wire and NEMA-4 watertight conventional models as well as intelligent variations. The line offers installation flexibility and test and maintenance ease. Furthermore, InnovairFlex enhances our legacy Innovair product lines with newly added features.

As previously mentioned, the versatile mounting options in square or rectangular configuration with modular construction can accommodate virtually any HVAC footprint. All conventional InnovairFlex models, including the NEMA-4 version, are designed to operate at broader operating temperatures, ranging from -4 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit, and humidities ranging from 0 to 95 percent non-condensing. In addition, the 2:1 sensor-topower capability allows a power board to monitor both supply and return side detectors. New sampling tubes permit installation or removal of tubes from either the front or back of the detector without tools. And, a newly added 3/4-inch conduit knockout can accommodate the need for increased wiring space.

For even more compact applications, the four-wire conventional models will be available as separate sensoronly and power board components. This 2:1 sensor-topower feature allows installers to mount supply and/or return sensor-only components on the duct, while the power board component can be mounted remotely where more space is available. In fact, each four-wire power board is capable of supporting up to two sensors, making it ideal for applications that require both supply and return duct smoke detectors.

Q.How can an operator enable 2:1 sensor-topower capability?

A.There are two ways to implement the capabilityby connecting a sensor-only component to the power board of the standard four-wire conventional detector and by connecting two sensor-only components to a power board-only component.

In both cases, one power board can monitor both the supply- and return-side sensors without having to place a complete detector in each location.

Q.Duct smoke detectors are often installed in dark, concealed, hard-to-reach spaces. How well does the InnovairFlex install in these environments?

A.In these installations, the less hardware, the better. That’s why the new sampling tubes install into the front or back of the detector without the use of any hardware or tools. Designers also made sure that the sampling tube spaces line up with existing models to ensure installation ease even for retrofit applications.

Q.How does InnovairFlex accommodate test and maintenance requirements for service personnel?

A.The InnovairFlex four-wire power board includes power, alarm, and trouble and maintenance LEDs. These provide real-time status indications so the service personnel can quickly identify the detector’s status and perform any necessary functions.

The power board also includes an onboard test/reset button that allows the units to be put into test or reset locally by the simple push of a button without removing the cover or using magnets or other accessories.

On the sensor side, we have incorporated our latest technology of plug-in photoelectric sensor, which provides superior false alarm immunity.

To make it easier for operators to test and maintain the duct smoke detector, there are cover tamper and shutting- down-on-trouble features that are field selectable to meet application specific requirements. Each model can serve multiple configurations, so customers do not have to carry different SKUs for different mounting options. In addition, there is built-in short-circuit protection that will minimize damaging detectors from mis-wiring.

Q.Explain why a wide temperature range is needed. What are some applications at the extremes of these ranges?

A.Currently, multiple photoelectric and ionization detector variations are needed to meet this broad range of operating temperatures—from -4 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. The broad temperature range of InnovairFlex means that a single, environmentally friendly photoelectric model can meet the widest range of applications. In addition to standard models, the NEMA-4 version is ideal for extreme indoor or outdoor applications where the detector is exposed to not only temperature extremes but also harsh environmental elements such as rain, snow or sleet.

Some examples of applications ideal for the NEMA- 4 model include indoor applications, such as food processing plants, where equipment needs to be capable of being hosed down for cleaning purposes. Common outdoor applications include packaged air-conditioning rooftop installations where the duct smoke detector is subjected to not only extreme high or low temperatures but also rain, sleet or snow.

Q.Are there compatibility issues between the previous version of duct detectors (Innovair) and InnovairFlex?

A.Ensuring a smooth transition is the ultimate goal. To further simply retrofit applications, all InnovairFlex products are compatible with legacy System Sensor products such as Innovair, including all remote accessories. Even the footprint of InnovairFlex (rectangular configuration) is almost identical to the footprint of Innovair. This means that specifiers and installers can take advantage of the benefits of InnovairFlex without having to upgrade their entire system.

This article originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Security Today.

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