Electrical malfunction and auto-ignition of combustible materials due to exposed heat are two of the most common causes of fires. This threat has resulted in the development of the innovative I-PROTECT low-pressure automatic fire detection and suppression system by the Fire Division of I-CAT, a leading environmental solutions company.
Electrical equipment most often involved in auto-ignition comprises electrical wiring, panel and switchboards, transformers, generators, lighting, and cords or plugs. The most significant aspect of combating electrical fires in confined spaces is early detection, not only to mitigate the risk of injuries and fatalities, but also to minimise equipment damage and system downtime.
However, the restricted and congested nature of most small rooms or enclosures with electrical equipment or other ignition sources means that early detection is both difficult and unlikely. I-CAT has found a solution to this perennial problem with the development of its I-PROTECT direct, quick-response system.
Typical applications include HT, MV and LT switchgear, MCC electrical panels, wind turbines, data centres and server rooms, and telecommunications environments. “The system is ideal for any enclosure containing high-value electronic equipment,” I-CAT Business Development and Marketing Director Lourens Jansen van Rensburg comments.
The system consists of I-PROTECT fire-detection tubing that is pressurised with a fire-extinguishing agent from a fire-suppression cylinder. The heat-sensitive tubing activates when exposed to specific elevated temperatures, and then suppresses the source of the fire virtually instantaneously. The system activation results in minimal to no property damage, due to the non-conductive and extinguishing properties of the CLEAVOS 1230 suppression agent used.
The I-PROTECT tubing acts as a trigger mechanism and directed discharge method for the suppression agent at the source of the fire. The tubing is purely pneumatic in its functionality, and does not rely on a power source. This translates into high system reliability, and a reduction in the number of false alarms.
“The low-pressure design also means a safer working environment for personnel. This is such a simple system to operate that the servicing and installation costs are equally minimal,” Jansen van Rensburg highlights.
The I-PROTECT system consists of a cylinder, tube and accessories kit. The cylinder kit includes a supply unit in the form of a fire-suppression cylinder (1 kg, 2 kg and 5 kg capacities). The cylinder is filled with the CLEAVOS 1230 suppression agent, which is non-flammable, non-conductive, non-hazardous, and environment-friendly, and pressurised with nitrogen up to 15 bar.
The tube kit consists of linear fire-detection tubing (in 5 m, 10 m and 30 m lengths) and associated pneumatic fittings. “The required capacities and tube lengths are calculated on a case-by-case basis by means of a risk assessment conducted on the equipment and environment to be protected,” Jansen van Rensburg concludes.
I-CAT is a leading environmental solutions company with a primary focus on supplying products and services that assist industrial clients in various aspects of environmental compliance. The company is well positioned to assist all its clients’ needs in environmental management regarding; dust suppression solutions, water solutions, environmental management services, carbon solutions, agro-forestry products and fire solutions.