New Technology in High Pressure Fire Protection Systems

Posted by Zach Nelson on Nov 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM

During the 2015 Seminar Series titled Trending Now! #FireProtection: Technologies Impacting the Future, Lee Kaiser spoke about trending technology in clean agent fire suppression. In the video excerpt below, you can watch as he talks about new technology in high pressure fire suppression systems. If you would like to register for the 2016 Seminar click here.

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We need, in some cases, high-pressure systems. Sometimes we need high-pressure systems because I want to have remote cylinder placement. I want to actually, instead of having the cylinders in the room, I want to have them outside of the protected hazard in another space. Sometimes I want to gang them all together and group them. And so I typically, to be able to do that, I'm going to wind up with longer pipe runs. That's why I need higher-pressure systems. There are three categories of high-pressure systems out there: 500-PSI systems, 725-PSI systems and then nitrogen-driver systems is sort of a hybrid type of arrangement.

The other thing that we can do with a high-pressure system is build a zoned system. So now we add in valves to the system so we direct where the agent goes. In this case, we've got one cylinder or one bank of cylinders that can protect four different hazards within that building. And at each one of these three locations, there are these three-way zone valves, and through the programming of the panel, we open them up to the correct area before we discharge the gas so that if the fire's in Zone 4, I'll make sure that the gas goes to Zone 4 instead of going to those other units. I can save myself expense when I have multiple hazards I want to protect with clean agent by using that type of system.

So, the 500-PSI system is the first high-pressure system we're going to talk about. There are a couple manufacturers that create these systems. These are limited to only Novek 1230. They still use the construction method, mild steel shells with welds, and there are selector valves  available for these. There's probably three manufacturers that make this type of system.

There's 725-PSI system, it's a little higher pressure. That higher pressure changes the construction type of the pressure vessel, and so there's a little more cost to these types of systems. But, because of the changed construction, I can now use both FM-200 and Novek 1230 in my spun steel cylinder--spun steel versus welded steel are the ways that we make these cylinders. Now, because they're higher pressure, I can compress the gas and the nitrogen agent down farther, and so I can ultimately result with smaller cylinder sizes containing the same amount of agent. And so in really big systems, I can enjoy a smaller footprint because my cylinders are smaller physically. But, in a lot of the systems that get installed, I'll never really see that benefit because we just don't install huge gas systems a lot in the United States. This is another system that allows the use of selector valves.

The last high-pressure system I want to talk about is the Kidde ADS system. It uses both Novek 1230 and FM-200 and so it has a sidecar nitrogen driver. So you can see in this picture here, this black cylinder is the high-pressured nitrogen cylinder that discharges through a flexible hose into the standard-pressure agent cylinder through the use of a small orifice plate which drops the pressure into the standard pressure system. That nitrogen gives it all the extra mode of force to push the gas a long distance through the pipes. It has selector valves available, and again, this is available through Kidde Fire Systems. Its hardware, except for the add-on high pressure nitrogen cylinders, is all similar to the standard pressure cylinders out there using welded steel shells. There is a little cost benefit for the extra nitrogen cylinders out there, but what we get as a benefit is we get the longest possible pipe run. So, we can push agent over 200 feet and we've calculated over 250 foot from the agent cylinders to the first T. Which, in a standard pressure system, you'd never get to 100 feet long. The Kidde system also allows for expanded nozzle coverage. FM-200 has a best-in-class nozzle coverage with their system--up to 56 foot by 46 coverage rectangle.

In Novek, there's one other manufacturer that can go as big as Kidde can go with a 42 foot coverage square. In the Novek 1230 offering they've also done some height improvements which can be useful for system designers where they want to limit the amount of tiered nozzles that they had because the maximum nozzle height for this system is 18 foot, 6 inches and then there's a maximum distance from the nozzle outlet to the highest nozzle now, with a Kidde system, of 40 feet. So that, with this system you might be able to locate the agent cylinders on a different level of the building than where you actually have the hazard.

When should you use high pressure systems? Well, when you have limited space for the cylinders close to the hazard; when you desire centralized agent storage so that you can consolidate those cylinders for inspection and maintenance; when I want to protect multiple rooms from a single cylinder bank and through the use of selector valves. And then in some cases, where I've got a really complex pipe layout, the front-end designer that's specifying the system may not know that complex pipe layout issue. That may be an issue that gets brought up by the installing contractor that's doing the actual flow calculations for the system. They may realize they need to switch over to use a high-pressure system. So it's important for you to write your specifications such that you can be flexible between the two systems.

This is part 6 of the Trending Technology Clean Agent Systems series. Watch the other parts at the links below:

You can also watch our previous series on Dialer and Communicator Technology Changes at the links below:


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Topics: Clean Agent, Technology Changes, Nationwide

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