requires technologies to drive lower running and maintenance costs. The megatrend of greener buildings, zero emissions, and a lower carbon footprint requires more modalities to be monitored and controlled within a building. Some of these solutions and measurements are to enhance worker comfort and productivity. However, buildings also require solutions and measurements for safety, which are being driven by increasingly stringent regulations. In safety, smoke detection has the

ng driven by increasingly

biggest challenge: saving lives. The smoke detection market has innovated due to some key factors, including:

• Growth in industrial

buildings: The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts growth in global buildings’ floor area at approximately three per cent per year. This is driven by increasing

urbanisation and improved access to energy in developing countries.

• The increasing use of synthetic material within buildings.

That’s why, where the value proposition is as basic as human life, smoke detection regulations are critically important. The challenge is that false evacuations can cause downtime and panic, particularly as buildings are now designed to hold thousands of people (for example, the Boeing Everett Factory in Washington was designed to hold approximately 40,000 people). Kitchens that generate cooking vapors or steam can cause false alarms in precisely the locations where smoke detectors should not be disabled due to nuisance alerts. In a genuine emergency, there is now less time to evacuate a building due to synthetic materials that may be smoldering and where fumes can quickly kill. New fire regulations now specify there should be minimal false alarms and an increasingly faster alert time for real fire incidents. This article will examine some of the pending and current global standards and what it means for smoke detection technology and its market. There are two predominant smoke detection technologies used in smoke detector systems: • Ionisation systems have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically

6 MARCH 2020 | FA

Figure 1. Examples of the importance of accurate smoke detection.

have banned the use of ionisation detectors because they have not always detected early state fires. • Photoelectric smoke detectors use light to detect fire. Inside the alarm, there’s a light-sensing chamber that uses light to detect smoke. When smoke is present, it deflects the LED light into a photodetector. As soon as light beams hit this sensor, the alarm is activated.

detectors - Point detectors using a combination of smoke and heat sensors


• ISO 7240: Fire detection and alarm systems (2018) • Part 7 Point-type smoke detectors using

Part 7: Point-type smoke detectors using: scattered light, transmitted light, or ionisation • Ch nese standard for point-type smoke detectors

Chinese standard for point-type smoke detectorsi follows 2003 edition of this standard

UL 268 and UL 217 cover U.S. and Canadian regulations and are the standards that effectively require technologies (and algorithms) to differentiate between a specified concentration of smoke from a flaming polyurethane foam pad and a specified concentration of smoke from burning hamburger.

Note: Canadian regulations require a different smoke test chamber setup. The other three standards are EN 14604, which is a European standard

published in 2006; BS EN 54, which is the British interpretation of the European EN 54 standard published in 2015 (part 29 of this standard refers

A SUMMARY OF GLOBAL STANDARDS to smoke detection); and ISO 7240, which is an There are basically five main global standards to compare with different requirements to pass respective certification. Smoke detector systems need to be fully tested as an end product, but there is also testing that can happen at the subsystem level of smoke detection technology. This does not substitute for the full certification, but can give peace of mind before costly end system certification.


There are two aspects to each standard that we will discuss next: the tests and the requirements for test set up. The following example uses the UL standards.


• UL 268: Smoke Detectors for Fire Alarm Systems - 7th edition: due to come into effect in May 29, 2020, although it may be delayed until June 30, 2021 • UL 217: Smoke Alarms

- 8th edition: due to come into effect in May 29, 2020, although it may be delayed until June 30, 2021 These standards include updates to the polyurethane flaming and

smoldering and cooking nuisance (hamburger) test.


The typical dimensions of d = 5ft or 2m and ai beam diameter 4” to 6” (10.2cm to 15.2cm) uses a sodium vapor lamp (589 nm). d is the distance from the light source to the photodetector.

• The typ cal dimensions of d = 5ft or 2m and a Figure 2. Sample diagram of UL standard testing.

international standard published in 2018 (part 7 of this standard is relevant for smoke). The current Chinese standard for point-type smoke detectors follows the 2003 version of ISO 7240.

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