The future of fire detection: greener and smarter


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Over three days, from the 17th to the 19th May, FIREX International brought together the entire fire safety supply chain for a unique opportunity to explore innovative products and solutions available for the first time since the pandemic.

Greener life safety products and protecting the UK’s commitment to low carbon energy

For building owners looking to improve their energy consumption or installers looking to offer more environmentally friendly and cost-effective solutions, the Hochiki team will be providing live demonstrations of their power saving and environmentally friendly products they manufacture. Visitors to the Hochiki stand will also get a chance to hear about a recent customer life safety project at one of the UK’s largest offshore windfarms.

FIREscape+ combined fire detection and emergency lighting system, features LED downlighters consuming only 0.1W once fully charged. This low energy consumption directly correlates with lower CO2 emissions, providing building owners with a greener solution.

The system helps improve energy efficiency, as unlike traditional emergency lighting systems, each luminaire and exit sign is only ‘trickle charged’ until the integral batteries are at full capacity.  But the system also helps building owners to reduce costs in other ways.  Because both fire and lighting devices run on low voltage cables from the control panel, a qualified electrician is not required to wire each device, thus drastically reducing labour costs during install and during any ongoing maintenance visits.

Visitors also learned how Hochiki are helping to protect and keep operational one of the UK’s largest offshore windfarms at Margate, critical as thoughts turn to how the UK can start to produce more of its own energy and rely less on foreign sources. For a country once solely reliant on coal to power its homes and businesses, the UK is now the leader in offshore wind energy. Encouragingly, today 44% of the UK’s electricity comes from renewable sources – a figure expected to accelerate given the Government’s April 2022 announcement, committing to “supercharge” clean energy deployment, which would see 95% of Great Britain’s electricity set to be low carbon by 2030.

Operated by London Array and generating about £1million worth of electricity a day when all 175 turbines are in operation, Margate wind farm produces enough electricity to power half a million UK homes a year and reduces harmful CO2 emissions by around 925,000 tons per year.

Hochiki were thrilled to be appointed as the manufacturer of the life safety devices on board the offshore and onshore substations.

Dan Smith, Technical Services Manager for KM Security Solutions explains: “The constant change in weather combined with sea-salt spray makes offshore wind farms an incredibly hostile environment to work in, not only for people but also for the systems, cabling and devices that help to run it and keep it safe. Therefore, it is imperative we install life safety devices that won’t let the teams and premises down in an emergency. We have been using Hochiki products for well over a decade now. Not only do we trust them to work, but we also trust the devices to last.”

Visitors to FIREX will be able to find out more about this exciting and complex project when they visit the Hochiki stand.

Sophisticated design combined with powerful customer insight

Consumer insight can provide a business with the opportunity to better personalise and tailor products to the needs, wants, and demands of their customers. Organisations that leverage their customer behaviour to generate insights outperform their peers by 85% in sales growth, according to Microsoft.

Over the last two years the teams at Hochiki Europe have focused a lot of time and attention into customer insight which in turn has driven product development. The team are excited to be able to demo the new and improved L@titude system. With huge investments made in the research and development of this product, led by customer feedback, this latest model combines the very latest in hardware and software and is the company’s market leading control and indication system.

Sophisticated enough to operate anywhere in the world, in multiple languages, across all manner of applications – from schools and hospitals, city skyscrapers filled with thousands of office workers, apartment blocks and entertainment venues, cultural and commercial spaces as well as international travel ports, manufacturing warehouses and logistics hubs. The system has been designed to be simple to configure and easy to use, utilising touchscreen technology with a graphical user interface to help display vital information in a user-friendly manner. The L@titude system is EN approved and recently DBI certified for the Danish market following its EN54 Part 13 BRE approval.

Hochiki Customer, Jardine Motor Group, commented: “We were absolutely blown away with the professionalism and levels of support shown by Hochiki Europe; both of which were demonstrated from our tour of the manufacturing facility and their ongoing liaison. Having the chance to see the production and design process gave us reassurance in their ability to provide state-of-the-art life safety systems which would meet our needs as a business. This end-to-end support was a truly personalised experience, with Hochiki Europe even taking onboard our suggestions for improvements. Taking such an interest in our needs confirmed our decision in choosing them as our manufacturer and ultimately our trust in their products”.

Demonstrations of the system will be available on the Hochiki stand.

A new generation of Hybrid Wireless Fire Detection is the Waking Watch alternative.

Following the Grenfell Tower disaster, Waking Watch schemes have been used to monitor buildings identified as fire risks, until dangerous cladding is removed. However, these schemes come at a high operational cost, and sadly, human error. Building owners and local authorities are looking to life safety manufacturers, installers, and innovative technology to help with a more cost-effective and more importantly more reliable alternative to these schemes.

One such piece of technology is Hochiki’s next generation of hybrid wireless fire detection product, Ekho. At the core of the system is the wireless Translator module, hard-wired to the existing fire alarm control panel loop which communicates continuously with the wireless devices. Wireless Expander modules are then used to extend the self-healing radio mesh network, increasing the reach and capacity of the overall system. The Expander mesh network guarantees an “always on” connection between the wireless devices and the Translator/fire control panel.

The system can be installed as a temporary solution to continuously monitor individual apartments within a building, as it is easily removed without damage to the structure.  Alternatively, can be installed as a permanent extension of the house fire system. Customers are saying that this hybrid life safety technology helps residents feel safer and building owners reassured, due to the self-configuring mesh network which keeps the devices connected and communicating with the fire panel 24/7.

Commenting on a recent install in a London Borough one Hochiki customer said: “This was an incredibly complex and highly involved project across six buildings each with 16 floors. We worked closely with the team at Hochiki who recommended the Ekho range as it offered a hybrid wireless solution which allowed us to work around issues such as cabling inside private spaces. Ekho being wireless still allowed for early detection but most importantly, detection at windows to monitor for any incident outside of the building, within the problem cladding, for example.

Using the Hochiki technology gave the residents peace of mind that the new system was ‘always on.’  The Ekho range is ultra-dependable, and much more cost effective than the existing Waking Watch scheme.”

Hochiki’s Sales Director, Nathan Hudson said, “I am immensely proud of our teams and how they have continued to develop and bring to market leading products as well as serve our customers especially over the last two years. There is a reason we are the trusted as the leader in fire detection, it is our people and their passion to ensure our customers get the best.”

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

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