IFSJ Exclusive: Investing in the future of detection

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IFSJ looks at Global Fire Equipment’s new fire safety system manufacturing plant, its recent work in Istanbul and its plans for Intersec 2023

Just ahead of Intersec 2023, leading European-based fire safety system manufacturer, Global Fire Equipment (GFE), announced the opening of its new manufacturing facility in the Algarve region of Portugal. The new facility represents an investment of €7.5 million by GSS Group, creating a new home for two of the group’s companies – GFE and CREATECH Emergency Lighting.

One of the largest fire safety system manufacturing plants in Europe

At 7,500-sq m, the facility is more than twice the size of GFE’s previous plant, and the land purchased spans 16,0000 sq m so there is plenty of scope for further expansion should this be required as the company works towards its ambitious future growth targets. GFE has sustained impressive growth over the last 10 years, including double digit growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CREATECH Emergency Lighting has also achieved strong growth and will need the increased manufacturing capacity to help deliver its international sales ambitions. GSS Group sees a significant market advantage of integrating both its fire safety and emergency lighting divisions under one roof, with space to expand in the coming years.

Initially the new facility will operate a single 8-hour shift pattern, but GFE could triple production capacity as there is the option to add two further 8-hour shifts thus allowing the facility to operate 24/7.

A number of dedicated manufacturing zones are incorporated into the new facility, including on-site injection moulding and PCB SMD/THT assembly. The new assembly lines have been designed to maximise efficiency in the manufacturing process and, with the additional space, GFE has been able to increase stock storage and dispatch areas by 400% compared to its previous plant. Other areas include product testing, general assembly and management, sales and administration.

All manufacturing and office support are scheduled to be in place by the end of January 2023, with the remaining services moving in by the end of February. The new facility is located within 2km of the former site so all employees will retain their positions and GFE will continue to have good access to the labour market within the Algarve.

Building a sustainable and energy-efficient manufacturing facility was one of GFE’s key pre-requisites for the new plant. The Algarve is one of the sunniest places in Europe which allows GFE to maximise on[1]site solar energy generation. By installing a large number of solar carports, GFE’s on[1]site solar energy generation has jumped an 600% compared to the former plant which means that almost 90% of the facility’s energy needs can be supplied by solar power.

Paul Pope, GFE’s Global Business Development Manager, comments: “Our new manufacturing facility reflects the vast amount of work and investment every member of the GFE team has put into the company over the past few years. Our drive to deliver high quality and affordable fire safety systems is at the forefront of our operations and is clearly evident in the design of this facility. We are also delighted that we have been able to invest in energy efficiencies which will undoubtedly make our business more sustainable.”

Joao Paulo, GFE’s Founder and Managing Director, adds: “Building on our years of manufacturing experience and technical developments, this facility will ensure that we not only continue supporting our existing customers with industry-leading products and technical support, but also that we will be able to expand further into new markets around the world.

“We have always been focused on ways to improve efficiencies in our manufacturing process and have been able to develop sophisticated automated production lines in our new facility to increase our manufacturing capacity. While these productions lines will carry forward GFE’s drive for automation, we will also be looking to expand our team to ensure we continue to meet the high quality standards our customers know they can rely on.”

Intersec 2023

The opening of GFE’s new manufacturing facility coincides with the company’s launch of a number of new products which will be showcased on GFE’s stand (F10 in Hall 3) at Intersec 2023 in Dubai. The new manufacturing facility will be vital in ensuring GFE can meet the anticipated high market demand for these new products which include a new ZEOS 2 range of detectors and new panels.

Commenting on the products on show at Intersec, Paul Pope, says: “Intersec is widely regarded as one of the most important industry exhibitions in the Middle East, and as it’s such a strategically important market for us, we’re delighted to have a strong presence again at this year’s show. We are also particularly pleased to have Intersec as a platform to showcase our new ZEOS 2 range of detectors which we believe will generate a lot of interest in the market.

“Innovation is at the heart of GFE, with further new products expected later this year. The combined impact of our new manufacturing facility, new products and the expansion of our international sales teams means that 2023 is set to be a very exciting year for GFE and the market as a whole.”

Equipping Istanbul

A strategically important region for Global Fire Equipment, the local team in Turkey has been operating since 2013, completing a vast range of projects. GFE Turkey, was chosen to design, supply and install the fire detection and alarm system for Eston Sehir Mahallem, a prestigious residential development located in the Bahcesehir district of Istanbul, Turkey.

The development comprises 315 flats and villas on 68,000-sq m area, 70% of which is dedicated to green spaces and social and leisure areas, such as pedestrian walkways, bike paths, a children’s park and sports fields.

The design, installation and commissioning of the fire detection system for the development was undertaken by GFE’s appointed distributor in Turkey, GFE Bina Kontrol Sistemleri. GFE’s fire alarm system was chosen because it is modern and innovative, and also because it meets the legislative requirements set by the Turkish Government for residential developments which have become increasingly stringent in recent years.

The system for Eston Sehir Mahallem comprises eighteen addressable control panels, 500 ZEOS addressable smoke detectors, as well as other addressable devices including manual call points, sounders and Gas detectors.

Feride Cilesun, Site Manager at Eston Sehir Mahallem, comments: “We have been very impressed with the support and expertise of GFE Turkey at every stage in this project. They were able to give us a working system in a very short space of time which offers extensive configuration options and a great range of value-added features. The quality of all the equipment installed throughout the development is very high, and the technical support and expertise of the GFE team has been invaluable.

“We have been particularly impressed with GFE’s remote monitoring and control software, Odyssey, which allows us to manage the development in a preventative failure manner. Odyssey has also enabled us to integrate the fire detection and alarm system with the development’s third-party public address system and voice alarm system so that in the event of a fire, we are able to quickly and easily notify residents in the affected areas to evacuate their properties. The finished system is very user friendly and reliable, and we now have an ongoing maintenance contract with GFE which we have also been very happy with.”

Murat Efir, Regional Director (Turkey and Balcans) at GFE, who operates out of GFE Turkey’s headquarters in Istanbul and has worked for GFE since 2013, adds: “There was strong competition during the tender process, GFE was chosen because of our bespoke approach to the project and our extensive expertise in large[1]scale projects in the region, including hospitals, hotels, schools and other residential developments. GFE’s reputation in Turkey is very strong and we have experienced significant sales growth over the past 8 years. We have stepped up our presence in the region and are continuing to strengthen our customer offering. We are also looking forward to launching a number of new products in the coming year, including products that have been designed specifically for the Turkish market such as a detector which is capable of detecting both LPG and PNG leaks.”

This article was originally published in the January edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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