Intelligent fire detection for ESKOM power station

September 2013 Fire & Safety

Eskom generates, transports and distributes approximately 95% of South Africa’s electricity, making Eskom the world’s eleventh-largest power utility in terms of generating capacity. Beginning in December of 2012, Eskom began equipping their coal-fired power station, Arnot, with Fike’s SigniFire video, smoke and flame detection technology. Located in Mpumalanga, the Arnot power station will eventually be protected with 370 of the innovative SigniFire cameras.

C3 Shared Services is installing the camera-based SigniFire detection system, which can visually determine the source of fire or smoke. It can also detect the presence of flames within the field of view of the camera, reflected fire light when flames are obstructed, and the presence of pluming smoke clouds and ambient smoke.

A commitment to safety of not only its facilities but also its employees, contractors, the public and the environment, is what led Arnot and C3SS to the use of SigniFire technology. UL listed, FM approved and CE marked, SigniFire represents a critical advantage for early warning fire detection, identifying and reacting to fire situations in their earliest stages in challenging environments which often can’t be protected with traditional fire protection systems.

“The on-screen display in the system highlights the flame, smoke or reflective heat with either a blue or red line, signalling a warning, while pinpointing the specific location of the fire,” Brendon Cowley, C3SS business development director, explained. “Once a fire has taken place, you need to find out what caused it. With visual-based fire detection, you can go back and use the recording from the system to find the cause of the fire, even if the camera is destroyed in the blaze. As a bonus, it also can be used for the detection of intruders.”

Each SigniFire IP camera can be configured with multiple detection and/or exclusion zones within the field of view. These zones are set to either detect specific events (fire, smoke and motion) within the zone, or detect events outside the zone. The activation of each zone can also be linked to time schedules, so the system won‘t interfere with special events or circumstances.

“The challenge for conventional systems, such as smoke detectors, is that the smoke needs to interface with the device, which can be a major drawback, especially in large-volume areas, such as warehouses with high roofs. High air flow also makes it difficult for sensors to detect smoke in some cases,” notes Cowley. “The SigniFire technology was the perfect solution to get past these issues for the Arnot facility.”


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