Advanced smoke detection system

February 2003 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

Honeywell has been awarded exclusive distribution rights to market a sophisticated smoke detection system - video smoke detection (VSD) - to its southern African markets.

VSD was developed by UK-based Intelligent Security (ISL) for British Nuclear Fuels some eight years ago and has evolved since then into a user-friendly system that finds application across the board where early fire detection is critical - for example, power stations, cement works, paper mills, tunnels, document storage facilities, on aircraft and in aircraft hangers, chemical and waste plants, buildings and even in forests.

ISL's Andy Marsh, currently in South Africa to support Honeywell's launch of VSD, says the system is ideally suited to warm countries such as South Africa, where fires can ignite as a result of the extreme heat. "VSD is highly sophisticated and can alert an operator within seconds of ignition because it detects at the source of the fire," he says.

VSD detects smoke particles before they are even visible to the human eye and detects all types of smoke so no fire is unobserved.

The system can be retrofitted to an existing CCTV system and if a large area is being protected by one camera, the area can be split up into manageable zones to enhance response time to the problem area. Each zone can be individually programmed to give uniform response throughout the area of detection. VSD displays the visual image of the area giving the alarm so that the extent of the problem can be seen to assess what action must be taken.

Sophisticated computer analysis

VSD is based on sophisticated computer analysis of the video image seen by the CCTV camera acting as the sensor. Using advanced image-processing technology and extensive detection (and known false alarm phenomena) algorithms, the VSD automatically identifies the distinct characteristics of smoke patterns.

The VSD system uses standard CCTV equipment linked to a self contained processing system which is capable of recognising small amounts of smoke within the video image and alerting the system operator both at the processor and by a variety of remote outputs.

System architecture

The VSD system comprises a high-grade industrial computer, mouse, keyboard and VGA monitor. Proprietary high performance video grabbers are housed within the computer. The VGA monitor will display the digitised video image from any one of the eight cameras in detection mode, all control and set-up graphics, zonal layout information, pre-alarm and full alarm information, zone and camera identification in alarm.


Key global installations of VSD at present include the Palace of Westminster, Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, Stratford Market Train Depot and the Houses of Parliament in the UK. In the USA, NASA has installed the system in its space shuttle hangar.

For more information contact Frank Fowles, Honeywell, 011 695 8000.

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