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Fire Detection and Suppression Sytems Fire Alarm Systems and Smoke Detection
ORR Protection posted this on July 31, 2018
As a complement to our 2018 seminar series, Fire Protection Playbook: Winning Maintenance Strategies for Buildings that Don't Quit, ORR Protection is hosting a summer webinar series covering ITM and..Read More

Water Mist Systems: Fike

Lee Kaiser posted this on January 29, 2018

Fike water mist systems can be used to replace traditional sprinkler systems, but can also protect up to 163,000 cubic feet, making them one of the largest systems of this type. Some of the major benefits of Fike Micromist and Duraquench systems are the non-proprietary pipes and the ability to use common parts and pieces to fire pump systems, keeping costs down compared to other water mist systems. In this video, fire protection expert Lee Kaiser explains the features and applications of the Fike water mist systems.



Lee: "Fike is another company that offers water mist systems in the United States, and they have two systems that they sell. Their small system is called Micromist and it's all self-contained, and then they have the Duraquench system which is a fairly new product. It's an electrically driven water mist system and we'll talk about that. So on the top of this slide, we show a Micromist unit and their nozzle and down here, the Duraquench pump unit and their open head nozzles. Micromist self-contained skid, again pressured by nitrogen cylinders, intermediate pressure, pre-engineered so there's no special calculations needed. We just install via the manual. Used for machinery space protection up to around 9200 cubic feet, and then installed in copper tubes or stainless steel pipes.

Duraquench Features

Duraquench, again that is a newer system, intermediate pressure. It uses a multi-stage centrifugal pump on a skid. So what's that mean? Well, like fire pumps are centrifugal pumps, so there's a motor spinning a shaft which then spins an impeller and that centrifugal action of the impeller going around is what builds the pressure. Well in a multi-stage centrifugal, we change that: we put the motor at the top, spinning a shaft down and then in this stack, this stainless steel casing, there are multiple impellers and each time you go through that impeller, you bump the pressure. Again, to get to the pressures required for this system, the piping used off this can be either Schedule 40 stainless, I think Type L copper or even CPVC for building sprinkler replacement applications.

Now the Duraquench system produces droplets around 300 to 400 micron droplets. The Fike Company feels that in development of their system, they wanted to have an intermediate pressure system and have it be able to scale between small fires and large fires pretty well, so they feel that 300 microns is their sweet spot, and that's why they developed their nozzles to be able to do that. Some other unique attributes about the Duraquench system, non-proprietary pipe sourcing, so some of the high pressure water mist systems, like the one we just got done talking about, you have to purchase that piping from the manufacturer along with the pump units. But with a Duraquench system, you can purchase the piping from any pipe supply house and you don't have to source it from the manufacturer, and that helps control the cost of those systems, and then, this is really important, especially for fire marshals, trying to get familiar with the technology, similar parts and pieces to fire pump systems, so the skid, as it's arranged – let's look at some of the pieces here. This big red box is the fire pump controller just like a box that would be normally mounted on the wall. The centrifugal pump, multi-stage centrifugal, you can kind of get that as you look at it, and then a lot of these other things, we can have pressure relief valves. We can have fire-pump testators. We can even have a fire department connection so the pumper can supply the water mist system that the fire department brings. Now you can't do that with the high pressure systems, because the fire department pumpers won't provide enough pressure, but with this intermediate pressure system you can do that.

Building Sprinkler and Machinery Spaces Applications

Used as a sprinkler alternative, it can be applied to light hazard spaces. Okay? So it's limited to light hazard at this point, and uses 50 percent less water than sprinklers. So definitely still more water efficient than a building sprinkler system, but not as efficient as some of the other water mist systems that we can buy, and then in a building sprinkler application we can use plastic pipes, CPVC pipes, and then we space those heads. This is the upper right here, we've got some pictures of the Duraquench automatic nozzles. We can see that red bar here; that's the thermal bulb element that will burst, and then here we've got, you can see the same type of thing here. Here's a picture of one of the pump test connections, for flow-testing the pump and then a fire department connection. A lot of us know what that looks like.

For machinery spaces, the way Fike has listed this, they can protect up to almost 163,000 cubic feet, so the largest of the systems that we'll talk about today and then we'll have to use stainless or copper pipe. We can't use plastic in these applications because we expect a machinery space type fire, a flash fire, very quick buildup of heat, and we don't want to melt the plastic pipe, so that's the reason we can't use it for machinery space applications.

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