Apollo Intrinsically Safe Fire Detection Protects Major Defence Manufacturer

Apollo intrinsically safe (IS) fire detection technology has been specified to protect a new manufacturing facility at Wallop Defence Systems Ltd site near Stockbridge, Hampshire. A division of Esterline Technologies, Wallop Defence Systems is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of defence pyrotechnics for air, sea and land applications.

The contract to design, supply, install and commission the IS fire system was won by Canon Fire Protection1 based in nearby Midhurst. John Barfoot, the company’s Fire Systems Manager, explains the rigorous selection process and how Apollo helped to meet the client’s requirements.

Apollo Intrinsically Safe (IS) Fire Detection Protects Major Defence Manufacturer

Apollo Intrinsically Safe (IS) Fire Detection Protects Major Defence Manufacturer

“Wallop Defence Systems was a key contract for our company, and is the largest project we have secured to date. Apollo was very supportive of our bid. We must make special mention of our Apollo sales manager, Sam Ward, who was truly exceptional. He worked closely with us throughout this project to ensure its success and has become an integral part of our team.”

Apollo helped in two key areas. Firstly, its fire detection products meet all key international standards, including the European ATEX Directive requirements for equipment used in areas with potentially explosive atmospheres. Secondly, Canon Fire Protection was able to use Apollo’s extensive in-house testing facilities to demonstrate its fire detection technology to the client.
Says John: “With Apollo’s support, we were not only able to meet the specification for ATEX approved intrinsically safe fire detection, but could also demonstrate to Wallop Defence Systems how the Apollo IS devices would work in practice.”

Among the products manufactured at Wallop Defence Systems’ site in Hampshire are infrared flares to counter air-to-air and ground-to-air missiles, decoy systems for naval protection and missile tracking flares. The assembly of these essential defensive products involves the use of potentially flammable and explosive materials, so fire protection is a key priority to ensure personnel safety and protect valuable assets.

Electrical equipment for use in these areas needs to be designed so that it cannot ignite an explosive mixture. There are a number of methods available to achieve this, but one of the most common is intrinsic safety. Intrinsically safe equipment operates at such low power and with such small amounts of stored energy that it is incapable of causing ignition, not only in normal operation but also in fault conditions. Apollo offers intrinsically safe versions of its XP95 intelligent range and its Orbis conventional range of fire detectors.

Fire system specification
Canon Fire Protection supplied and installed a fire system based around Apollo XP95 IS fire detectors and a four-loop Kentec Syncro control panel. The system features a modem link so that fire system performance can be monitored remotely 24/7. The entire system is wired using mineral-insulated (MICC) cabling. This is an additional precaution against any part of the system causing an electrical spark.

Around 100 Apollo IS devices provide comprehensive fire detection in the manufacturing areas. Where flame detection was required, devices were used in conjunction with IS-rated enclosures to meet the requirements for intrinsic safety. Due to high ambient noise levels, visual indicators are used in the administrative areas, while Vimpex IS sounders are fitted in the transfer corridors between manufacturing processes.

In the event of an alarm being raised, the entire premises are evacuated immediately. The site has its own firefighters, who are trained to tackle minor incidents. In addition, a repeater panel in the main gatehouse alerts security staff to any incident, so that they can summon the appropriate external fire services as required.

In conclusion, John Barfoot says: “This was an unusual project which, due to the nature of the business, placed very stringent demands on the fire protection system. We were confident that Apollo was the right choice for this application, but we needed to prove this to the customer. With Apollo’s help, we were able to go that extra mile and give the customer reassurance that the proposed fire detection solution would work reliably, which was invaluable.”

Wallop Defence Systems’ new manufacturing premises are due to be completed early in 2010.

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Apollo Protects New £35 Million College from Fire

Apollo fire detectors have been chosen to protect a new £35 million college campus redevelopment at Cosham, near Portsmouth. The contract to supply and install the fire system for Highbury College was awarded to CHC Systems Limited, based in Ruislip, Middlesex.

Apollo Protects New Highbury College in Portsmouth from Fire Risks

Apollo Protects New Highbury College in Portsmouth from Fire Risks

The Site
Highbury College Portsmouth is one of the most dynamic educational establishments in the South East and has undergone extensive redevelopment across its main sites to provide some of the most modern learning facilities in Europe. The College offers collegiate, corporate and community courses for 14-19 year olds and adults, and attracts some 12,000 students locally, nationally and internationally.

The £35 million development at Cosham provides a vocational training-focused campus. The new building is four storeys high and features a glazed ‘street’ with views into a number of departments. Training facilities include specialist computer rooms, a fully equipped library and the latest e-enabled classrooms. Other features include an Internet café and a full-size sports hall and fitness centre.

In addition to state-of-the-art training facilities, the new building also features the latest ‘green’ technology, including one of the largest heat pump installations of its kind in the UK. This will help to reduce the College’s carbon footprint by more than 25 per cent. The building is also equipped with solar panels on the roof, which will produce 13,600kW of electricity per year. Any power not used by the College will be fed back into the national grid.

Other environmental features include high-tech blinds on the windows to reduce solar glare, auto shutdown on all the computers when they are not in use and PIR (expand) movement sensors in the classrooms that automatically turn lights on and off.

Fire System Requirements
The specification for the fire detection system was equally high. In addition to providing 24-hour protection for the new building, its occupants and its contents, the fire system needed to meet a number of ‘cause and effect’ scenarios.

Denis Foley, Managing Director of CHC Systems, comments: “Initially, we used the client’s fire strategy to determine the cause and effects required for the new fire system. With a building of this sophistication this does not just involve raising an alarm in the event of fire: we also needed to interface with numerous building management system functions. These included activating air dampers and returning lifts safely to the ground floor in the event of an emergency. There was also a requirement to interface the new fire system with existing fire systems in other buildings on the site.

“The sheer diversity involved led us to recommend Apollo fire detection technology. Apollo products are compatible between different ranges, which allowed us to choose exactly the right detector or device for the local situation, whether a classroom or an open communal area. The wide selection of audible and visual devices in the Apollo range was also invaluable in this regard, enabling us to select sounder bases, beacon bases and open area sounders as the situation demanded.”

System Specification
The new fire detection system is based around two Morley ZX control panels, with a ten-loop panel controlling the main building and a two-loop panel in the sports building. In total, CHC Systems installed more than 1350 Apollo XP95 and Discovery intelligent devices, including around 600 bases, base sounders and sounder beacon bases. Intrinsically safe (IS) Apollo fire detectors have been fitted in the building’s oil delivery area and paint stores.

The ability to mix and match across different intelligent Apollo ranges is due to the use of an open digital protocol which has remained consistent over time. As all Apollo products effectively speak the same language, the fire system will also be future-proofed, making maintenance and system extension or modification at a later date much easier.

Although the cause and effect sequences between the fire system and the building management functions are quite complex, the evacuation procedures are simple. If a manual call point is activated, the system allows a four-minute window in which the reason for the alarm can be investigated. If the system is not reset within that period, then a full alarm will be raised and the building will be evacuated.

If an individual smoke or heat detector registers a change from the normal state, the four-minute investigation delay also applies. If more than one detector raises an alert, the fire system goes into alarm immediately and the building is again evacuated on a ‘one out, all out’ basis.

The fire system also interfaces with the building management system to release controlled doors and send all lifts to the ground floor, deactivating them until the alarm is over.  It also shuts down the ventilation system and other plant, as well as turning on the emergency lighting.

Up and Running
It was critical for the client that the new Highbury Campus was up and running in time for the start of term on 7 September 2009. Despite some delays in the construction phase, which reduced the amount of time that CHC Systems had to fit the fire system, the project was completed on time.

Denis Foley concludes: “A modern learning facility like Highbury College represents a whole series of challenges from a fire protection perspective, ranging from wide open spaces like the ‘street’, to high risk confined areas like the paint stores. Apollo’s fire detection technology was equal to every task and it enabled us to supply the customer with a reliable, flexible fire system that will protect the College’s new asset and the people who use it for many years to come.”

Highbury College was officially opened by HRH Princess Anne on 22 October 2009.

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