Fire-Lite Protects New $35 Million Samsonite Distribution Facility In Florida

Fire-Lite Alarms' MS-9200UDLS system was recently chosen by FCS (Future Computer Systems), a Jacksonville, Fla.-based low-voltage systems dealer, to solve the fire protection challenges of a new, $35 million dollar Samsonite distribution facility.

Known for its vast portfolio of travel-oriented products sold worldwide, Samsonite strategically locates its warehouse facilities for easy distribution. When Samsonite officials decided to construct a one-million square foot distribution facility in Jacksonville, Fla., they turned to local dealer, FCS for a sizable, high-tech fire alarm solution.

Using Fire-Lite's MS-9200UDLS fire alarm control panel at the head end, FCS designed a system capable of supporting a large number of notification devices as well as the power to sustain them.

"What made this panel perfect for this application is that it provides many ways to drive and synchronize power supplies," said FCS' CEO, Robert Olson. "This project required ten auxiliary power supplies to power the 250 plus horn strobe devices in this million square foot facility. And all are driven by that single fire panel."

In compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements, FCS synchronized all strobes to flash within 2/10 of a second of each other to prevent possible epileptic episodes. Each of the control panel's four NAC (notification appliance circuit) ports features programmable synchronization, eliminating the need for external synch modules. An additional port made to support NAC synchronization with other manufacturer's power supplies is also included.

Due to the facility's vast expanse, FCS had to consider the ambient noise created by hundreds of loud conveyors and other machinery when designing its system. All evacuation signals' audio had to be raised above the general sound levels prevalent in the plant.

"It's amazing to hear and see this system when all horn-strobes are activated," said Samsonite's facility manager Matt Dixon.

Per NFPA 72 code, FCS tied the facility's fire alarm to its sprinkler system. Modules on the fire alarm's addressable loop are used to monitor the sprinkler system's ten stand pipes. In the event of water flow through a sprinkler head, a flow switch activates the module triggering an alarm.

According to Olson, the non-proprietary nature of all Fire-Lite products is a strong selling point for these systems. Likewise, certifications from national testing laboratories are critical to acquiring fire marshal approvals for certificates of occupancy.

“This job had to meet FM (Factory Mutual) insurance requirements for a 'full-blown' fire alarm system," Olson said.

Fire-Lite's MS-9200UDLS is listed for both UL (Underwriters Laboratories) 864 Ninth Edition and FM standards. Fire alarm listing information is readily available on both laboratories' websites.

The MS-9200UDLS panel features an addressable loop that permits connection of up to 99 detectors and 99 modules (monitor and control) on a single-pair of wires for the SLC (signaling line circuit). This single pair can be run up to 10,000 feet when 12AWG non-shielded wire is used.

The panel automatically polls all the attached devices to "enroll" them into the system. Any incorrectly addressed devices are identified by the panel, allowing installers to quickly re-address them. Individual points can be programmed with specific text descriptions to help speed emergency response times in applications of this size.

The panel's four separate NAC circuits (Notification Appliance Circuits) supply up to 2.5 amps per circuit to connected devices such as horn-strobes. Each circuit can be programmed for different manufacturer's horn-strobe synchronization signals.

Custom programming capabilities make the MS-9200UDLS panel suitable for almost any stand-alone application. Once all devices are addressed and connected to the SLC, the panel's auto-programming feature can quickly configure the system for basic fire alarm operation with the touch of a button.

Computer-operated software PS-TOOLS allows dealers like FCS to program all system devices off-site. All programming can then be downloaded to the MS-9200UDLS via the panel's USB port. A dial-up port facilitates remote testing.

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