Oliver Burstall, managing director from FFE, explains how the world of optical smoke beam detection is evolving to provide solutions for both historic and modern architecture, to provide both optimum fire protection whilst maintaining aesthetics


ver the past 10 years, there have been real advancements in the fire prevention and

protection industry, reflecting emerging technologies and the changing requirements in the marketplace. This progress in innovation is now emerging in the fire alarm industry too, particularly within beam detection solutions. Fire alarms have been falling behind the technological times with limited adoption of new technologies. Modern building design has also provided a challenge for those innovating in this area of fire protection.

WHAT IS CHANGING? Traditionally, beam detector systems- which work by detecting light obstruction to identify a fire - are used within large buildings such as warehouses, factories, atriums or venues. This is due to standard spot smoke detection units having a limitation to the height in which they can detect smoke and, therefore, not being suitable for buildings with high ceilings. However, there are other benefits beam detection units boast compared to traditional systems including accuracy, the area coverage, their compact size and the ease of installation. Even though these innovative devices have many benefits, there were restrictions on the type of building in which they could be installed, due to an array of design difficulties. These include buildings with glass ceilings and large skylights or areas that use strong artificial lights, such as a laboratories and classrooms, due to light obstruction causing false alarms. As the design and aesthetics of a building are

now just as important as the function it was first intended for, modern buildings are being designed with irregular features and impressive glass atriums, so it is imperative that the safety features installed are able to work reliably in the new era of buildings, both operationally and artistically. In addition, as technology develops, society’s

requirements for quick, seamless and simple systems is increasing and workers, including facility managers and maintenance staff, want easy installation. Complicated systems that

require endless wiring, time-consuming maintenance processes and lengthy set up are becoming a thing of the past.

THE SOLUTION As the design of buildings becomes more and more important to organisations, FFE experts recognised that traditional beam and spot detection units could not offer sufficient fire protection to a range of infrastructures, so they designed a system that could combat these common issues, the Fireray One. Utilising FFE’s patented Light Cancellation Technology and One Minute Auto-Alignment Technology, buildings that traditionally were not suitable for smoke beam detection units due to increased light, can incorporate this technology without fear of false alarm. The detector is also favoured by architects due to its compact design, allowing it to discretely fit into its surroundings and maintain the building’s aesthetics. Additionally, the product allows for a far

simpler instalment process, as it self-aligns in just one minute and, due to the sophisticated technology that has been engineered into the product, it only requires one person to install it.

EXAMPLES There have been a number of cases where buildings across the globe have now been able to utilise beam detectors due to technological advancements including the Los Angeles Federal Courthouse. With the height of the atrium causing difficulties for conventional smoke detectors due to both detection and maintenance issues, fire officers turned to FFE to install the Fireray. Additionally, FFE also came to the assistance of the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, as again, due


to the design of the building, the architect’s desire to preserve the aesthetics and the nature of displaying artwork, proved challenging for conventional spot detectors to be installed. To modernise the building and to showcase the artwork in the best possible light, the gallery installed skylights along the length of the building. This type of design would have normally prohibited beam detection systems to be fitted due to the natural light obstruction, however, FFE’s Light Cancellation Technology continuously monitors and compensates for ambient light meaning false alarms are no longer triggered. As a result of the compact nature of FFE’s beam detector, the gallery was able to achieve optimum protection whilst not compromising on design aesthetics.

FUTURE PREVENTION Fire prevention has come a long way in recent years, with more choice being offered to architecturally focused buildings. However, manufacturers of fire detection units are still working to develop products that go further to offer optimum protection. The fire industry, like many, is faced with ongoing advances in connectivity and new technologies and so must continually look to evolve and change to meet the needs of tomorrow. Society is driven by legislative change and by

the need for high standards and, following a rise in health and safety awareness, people’s expectations and attitudes have evolved. This has ultimately changed how the industry operates by holding more people accountable, resulting in an increase in care being taken when installing protective devices.

FFE 

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32