Smoke Detection for Automated Manufacturing Plants

17th September 2015

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An automated manufacturing plant can fabricate, assemble and package products with little or no human interaction. They use sophisticated control systems to automate the operation of machinery and, in some cases, can even package products for shipment, along with invoices and mailing labels, and load them into delivery vehicles, straight off the track.

Automation is commonly used in processes such as machining and welding. These processes are carried out by complex, high-energy robotic systems - this is immensely valuable equipment, manufacturing high value parts in their thousands.

During the manufacturing process, operations such as machining and welding can produce arcing (a luminous discharge of current that is formed when a strong current jumps a gap in a circuit or between two electrodes), fumes, fine dust particles and smoke, all of which present a high risk of fire and a number of unique challenges when it comes to employing a suitable fire detection system.

What are the Challenges?

There are a number of challenges involved when providing suitable fire detection for an automated manufacturing facility:

  • Smoke
    It is likely that smoke will be produced by processes such as welding, causing a high risk of false alarm and/or increased detection time.
  • Dust
    High levels of dust and other contaminants in the air can interfere with the detection process, cause nuisance alarms and increase maintenance frequency. On top of this, dust particles may burn, resulting in flash fire, and, in some cases, explosion when exposed to welding arcs or sparks.
  • Burning wire
    Burning wire events in the manufacturing process can cause intense bursts of smoke and heat.
  • Human intelligence
    Ultimately, reduced human presence means that any fire alarm system must act intelligently to avoid the risk of false alarm, disruption to the manufacturing process and unnecessary deployment of emergency services.

With the high value of the robotic equipment and products within the facility it is imperative that an early warning fire detection system that is able to contend with the challenges that are presented without the risk of false alarm and unnecessary business downtime.

What is the Solution?

The solution is the VESDA-E range from Xtralis. Combined with VESDA Anlaytics, this range of revolutionary aspirating smoke detection systems have the ability to accurately detect the threat of fire, even in already smoky environments, providing fast and reliable detection.

In environments where background levels of smoke and dust are commonplace, previously the only practical solution was to reduce detector sensitivity which ultimately reduced detection time. By using the optional VESDA Analytics software, detectors in the VESDA-E range are able to differentiate between different smoke and particles, thus eliminating the risk of false alarm caused by the smoke and dust generated from manufacturing processes.

Key Features

  • VESDA Analytics can provide targeted detection of the most prevalent fire risks:
    • VESDA WireTrace™ provides targeted detection of burning wire at higher sensitivities without risk of false alarms.
    • VESDA DustTrace™ enables targeted detection of dust in the air that is sampled and can provide warning of contaminants in the air.
  • VESDA Flair™ technology uses the equivalent of 330,000 sensors and sophisticated algorithms for smoke detection and particle classification that allows for higher sensitivity detection.
  • StaX hardware expansion modules for additional capabilities such as the automated pipe cleaning module that ensures continuous airflow to the detector, making certain that the sampling technology always operates at maximum efficiency and keeping scheduled maintenance to a minimum.
  • Field replaceable parts mean that in the rare event that a component needs replacing, it can be done so quickly, easily and at low cost.

VESDA-E provides up to 80% greater coverage in high ceiling applications, accessible servicing and is backwards compatible with existing VESDA systems, all contributing to capital expenditure saving and reduced operating expense, while providing the perfect solution for protecting automated manufacturing plants from fire.


For more information on the VESDA-E range or to discuss any of the other products that Eurofyre have to offer please feel free to get in touch either by phone on +44 (0) 1329 835 024, by email to sales@eurofyre.co.uk or via the online enquiry form situated on our contact page.

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Mark Redfearn

Posted by Mark Redfearn

Mark is the technical services manager at Eurofyre.

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