Protecting quality in the cold

February 2019 Fire & Safety

Woolworths is one of the top 100 companies listed on the JSE. Its core business focus is the provision of retail products and services to upper and middle-income customers in the southern hemisphere. All perishables are stored in a cold storage warehouses, thereby ensuring consumers are offered fresh produce at all times.

The Woolworths Distribution Centre in Montague Gardens, Cape Town, extended its existing freezer store by converting an existing warehouse and FS-Systems was tasked with providing a fire detection solution for their cold storage warehouses.

It might not be easy to imagine a fire starting in a cold store, but if one considers the conveyer belts, forklifts, wooden pallets and highly combustible packaging materials in this area, it becomes more plausible that a fire could actually occur. Cold stores form part of the production and delivery processes and any fire damage could severely disrupt the business supply chain, not to mention the loss in revenue.

After careful investigation, a Vesda Aspirating Smoke Detection System (ASD) was deemed to be the most effective solution for this unique environment. ASD consists of a central detection unit that continuously draws and samples the air through a network of pipes in order to detect smoke. The air in the space being monitored is sucked in for precise analysis by the scattered-light smoke detector located in the sampling chamber. If it detects smoke particles beyond a pre-set threshold, it triggers an immediate alarm, allowing the time needed to deal with the fire before it has time to break out and spread.

Despite the harsh environmental conditions, ASD provides reliable and efficient detection. The ASD units are a central point of maintenance and offer the lowest cost of total ownership. When servicing the ASD units there is no need for additional hosting equipment, and service and maintenance does not interrupt client operations.

A total of 11 Vesda Aspirating Smoke Detection units, connected with over 460 metres of sampling pipe, now protect the cold storage facilities that span more than 4200 m². The Vesda ASD System has become a Woolworths standard for all their cold storage facilities.


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