Technoswitch recently held a launch event at the FPA College in Boksburg to announce it had added the Rotarex FireDETEC range of pre-engineered fire detection and suppression systems to its product portfolio. The first two pre-engineered systems being made available from Rotarex were also announced on the day, along with a demonstration of their capabilities.
Technoswitch’s Brett Birch was on hand to introduce the attendees to Rotarex and the new products. He explained that although this was the first time Technoswitch was importing Rotarex products, the company has been in operation for over 90 years and its products can be found in over 65 countries.
Rotarex started out in the fire safety market by producing CO2 and gas valves, later expanding to other areas, one of which was Firetec, the division producing the new products. The first new product is a kitchen fire suppression system, the second a vehicle suppression system.
Birch noted that the two Firetec products were chosen because of their quality design and engineering, and because they are pre-engineered systems – meaning they are basically sold in kit form which makes installation faster and easier.
Kitchen fire suppression
The FireDETEC automatic fire suppression system for commercial kitchen fires was the first product announced. Commercial kitchens are often busy and cooking results in a lot of grease and oil being in or around grills, open flames, deep fat fryers and so on. If oil, for example, catches fire, trying to douse it with water will only exacerbate the danger (as was demonstrated at the launch).
These kitchens therefore need a better solution, preferably one that can automatically detect a fire and immediately launch a suppression action. The FireDETEC kit does exactly that without requiring any power supply. The system is installed over a stove or cooking area and protects the area as well as the extraction hood.
The kit consists of a 9-litre cylinder that can protect up to two cooking areas and contains pressurised nitrogen and the extinguishing agent, which cools and smothers the fire. The agent is biodegradable and safe, meaning it can be washed off after a fire has been extinguished and the kitchen can get back to work. The kit also contains the detection and discharge tubes, as well as three nozzles (one for the extraction hood) and all you need to connect everything. A manual actuator is also available to manually start the discharge.
The flexible detection tube is placed over the danger areas and pressurised. The one end is attached to the cylinder and the other to the actuator. When it is exposed to a fire and its temperature rises to 175 degrees Celsius, it ruptures and the loss in pressure releases the valve on the cylinder. The suppression agent is then released through the discharge tube, putting out the fire in seconds.
The length of the discharge depends on the cylinder in use, but the 9-litre device continues for about 40 seconds of continuous discharge. As a modular kit, kitchens can combine two kits to double the area under protection. These kits can be set up independently or they can be interlinked so that a fire will cause both kits to discharge simultaneously.
Birch says different sized cylinders that will be able to protect larger areas are under development and 16-litre and 25-litre cylinders should be available soon. A smaller 3-litre unit for residential applications such as student residences, frail care centres and B&Bs is also in the pipeline.
Vehicle fire suppression
The FireDETEC automatic fire suppression system for vehicles works on a similar principle as the kitchen system, apart from being more rugged and sporting different cylinder sizes. The system needs careful planning however to ensure it covers the engine correctly as engines vary in size and capacity. You can also combine cylinders if required.
The detection tube is more rugged than the kitchen one and ruptures at 110 degrees Celsius. There is also an option for an electronic activation switch, an in-cabin monitoring unit that provides the status of the system at a glance and a manual activation switch. You can also test the system from the monitoring unit.
The vehicle cylinder is vibration and impact resistant, and can be mounted in any orientation. There are two options for the suppression agent: FireDETEC TS-55 which can operate in sub-zero temperatures (to -55°C), or BerkiCold which can’t operate below zero degrees Celsius. Birch says both are as effective and are also biodegradable. The cylinders are available in 4-, 7- and 12-litre sizes depending on the engine size. The 7 litre cylinder currently has the internationally recognised P-Mark (SPCR183 certification) for vehicle suppression systems and all the cylinder sizes are approved for use in commercial buses under UNECE R107.
Technoswitch has sent its staff to the EU for training and is now geared to offer its installers training in the FireDETEC solutions. It also has stock on hand.
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