Smoke Detector Alternative Delivers Earlier Detection; Superior Aesthetics

By drawing in air from individual rooms through flexible tubing and analyzing to detect the presence of smoke particles, Xtralis’ new VESDA-E VEA system affords discreet installment and earlier detection.

For decades, traditional smoke detectors have been used to protect commercial building occupants from the danger of smoke and fire — protection that is mandated by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).

Now, however, a new approach using more sophisticated, established smoke detection technology is contributing substantial benefits to building owners and managers: lower overall costs, earlier fire detection, a smaller footprint, and less disruption during NFPA mandated annual inspection and testing.

University Project

For Bob Pritchard of Convergint Technologies, a company that designs, installs and services integrated building systems including electronic security, fire alarm and life safety systems, a high-profile project for a new state-of-the-art sports performance center at a prominent Pac 12 university required a smoke detector that was less obvious, even concealable. Ideally the system would also provide advanced smoke detection and be addressable so that the exact location of the alarm could be quickly identified for quick response.

According to Pritchard, traditional smoke detectors tend to be large, often seven inches or more in diameter, making them an eyesore when placed in every room. For commercial spaces where aesthetics are critical, spot smoke detectors can compete with the overall vision for the space.

“The designers and the architects responsible for this remodel didn’t want to see any safety devices sticking out of the ceilings,” explains Pritchard. “It was very important for them to see as minimal impact as possible.”

Fortunately, Pritchard had experience installing Xtralis’ new VESDA-E VEA system and felt it would meet the architects’ requirements. Due to the VEA system’s aspirating smoke detection technology, the sampling points are much smaller than regular smoke detectors, so appear less obtrusive. They can even be fully concealed, for instance behind ventilation covers or within fixtures, making their presence visually unnoticeable to building occupants and visitors.

Aspirating Technology

In smoke detection, more advanced technologies that provide earlier warning detection exist. These systems work by aspirating — or drawing in air — from each room through small, flexible tubing. The air is then analyzed to identify the presence of minute smoke particles in a continuous process.

This is in stark contrast with the way traditional smoke detectors are designed. These devices are installed in each room or common space and connected to a central fire alarm panel by low voltage electrical wiring. When a significant amount of smoke accumulates in the chamber of the smoke detector, the alarm sounds.

“The VEA aspirating system is able to detect minor particles in the air much faster than a spot smoke detector, even before a fire even starts to flame and burn,” Pritchard explains. “In many instances, this ability to get a very early warning of a fire in one area can help prevent it from spreading to other areas.”

For almost 40 years, aspirating smoke detectors have been used for the most sensitive applications where early detection of smoke or gas is critical, such as in cleanrooms, data centers and telecom facilities.

The technology was first introduced in the early 1980s by Xtralis as the VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) system.

The company now offers a VEA model that consists of small, flexible tubes that draw air through small, unobtrusive sample points in each room. The air is analyzed using sophisticated laser-based technology at the central unit located within 300 feet.

As a multi-channel, addressable system, the central unit can pinpoint the exact location of the alarm. A single system supports up to 40 sample points and can be extended to 120.

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Posted by on Aug 1st, 2017 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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