Fire detection technology in the HDI-Gerling administrative centre

July 2008 Fire & Safety

HDI-Gerling is among the leading providers of property and life insurance in Germany. Top performance is expected not only from the staff here, but also for the fire safety equipment.

At the administrative centre in Hanover, Siemens provides highest safety at the insurer with a comprehensive concept for fire detection and extinguishing.

HDI-Gerling, which was created in the merger of HDI and Gerling, is particularly distinguished by financial strength, capacity for innovation and an outstanding market position. These characteristics make the company one of the leading property and life insurance providers in Germany. For the new construction of the administrative centre, HDI-Gerling relied on Siemens as a strong partner for fire safety issues.

In the course of migrating the fire safety system at the administrative centre, the fire safety systems in the adjacent building with the computing centre were also updated and brought up to code. The system there was obsolete and no longer met the requirements of the VdS, the German testing and certification institution which covers fire prevention and safety technology among other things. In addition to VdS compliance, the client placed particular value on independent operability of the system in the computing centre from the administrative centre as well.

A customised fire protection concept was developed for HDI-Gerling together with the customer as well as in coordination with the VdS. The particular challenge faced was the need to replace the fire alarm and extinguishing system in the computing centre during ongoing operations while at the same time ensuring absolutely reliable fire and intrusion protection during the renovation measures.

Another consideration during the installation was the star-shaped topology of the old fire safety system using stub line technology. This system was to be integrated so that it would be compatible with modern loop line technology. Not only the entire detection technology was modernised, the existing CO2 fire extinguishing system in the computing centre was replaced by a modern Sinorix N2 extinguishing system, which uses nitrogen as extinguishing agent. The decision to replace the carbon dioxide system was made primarily because the modern alternative extinguishing agent nitrogen poses less risk for persons in the extinguishing zone.

The control of the entire detection system takes place at the two locations via a hazard alert manager Topsis Web. The management system is fully redundant. That means that the operation of the system is absolutely ensured, even if a data line between the buildings fails or one of the central control units fails. Each of the locations has a workstation distinguished by a particularly convenient graphical display. The look and feel of the user interface emphasise intuitive operability which can save critical seconds in an emergency situation. The technical provision takes place at further workstations in the technical area.

A digital video codec Sistore CX is used to create a video stream for transmitting the data communication and video images of each building to the other. The hazard alert managers and SISTORE units are synchronised via a video SDC-server (Siemens Display Client). This enables access to the storage system as well as the integration of additional video systems via the data interface.

The existing fire safety system in the main building was replaced by a new Sigmasys/Sinteso system. The existing automated and manual alarms were connected to this and thus could continue to be used. Sigmasys/Sinteso technology as well as Sinteso detectors was chosen for the computing centre, providing highest protection against false alarms with ASAtechnology. Altogether, more than 400 Sinteso fire detectors ensure dependable fire safety at the HDI-Gerling headquarters.

As part of the modernisation measures, the existing carbon dioxide fire extinguishing system was replaced by a modern nitrogen fire extinguishing system. This measure represents a significant improvement in safety for people at the computing centre. The new fire extinguishing system consists of 36 extinguishing agent containers of nitrogen (300 bar technology) as well three area valves for the two electronic equipment rooms as well as for data archive.

The combination of Sigmasys Sinteso fire detection, X100 extinguishing control and Sinorix N2 gas fire extinguishing system now gives the administrative centre of HDI-Gerling in Hanover exactly the fire safety technology it needs to ensure cross-system operation. The system technology was inspected and certified by VdS (Association of Property Insurance Carriers). In addition to the conceptual planning and installation of the system technology, Siemens provides the insurer HDI-Gerling with consulting, support and service from a single source.

For more information contact Siemens Southern Africa, +27 (0)11 652 2412, [email protected],

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