A huge fire at recycling facility which contained 100,000 tonnes of paper and plastics sent a plume of smoke 1800 metres into the air in Smethwick, UK last year Credit: West Midlands Fire Service
Honeywell has launched next generation Fire Alarm Aspiration Sensing Technology (FAAST) smoke detection solution to help reduce the significant risks posed by fire at recycling facilities.
The company noted that in the UK alone there were some 360 fires at recycling facilities last year, while a single facility in East London suffered 11 incidents in just two years – requiring some 2000 hours of firefighter’s time.
According to Honeywell the threat of fire is ever present in recycling plants; stored paper, plastic materials and glass pellet processing all have high associated risks.
Fire events incur considerable costs. Contracted waste coming onto the site must be redirected and stored materials moved to safety, causing process downtime and insurance reclamation administration costs. Honeywell also noted the impact of total asset loss and the threat to safety, urban disruption and pollution.
However, while fires can be devastating and costly, the company explained that developments in aspiration smoke detection technology are helping to enhance plant safety, whilst limiting false fire alarms.
Dust-rich environments cause a high frequency of false alarms - according to Honeywell as many as one per week or more in some cases. Just one nuisance alarm can result in 30 minutes of unplanned downtime and resources to investigate (26 or more lost work hours every year).
This is said to create an increased need for onsite device maintenance (such as optics cleaning), leading many facilities to implement solutions designed to meet regulation minimums.
According to Honeywell, this trend has put many plants at an increased risk as they work hard to balance business efficiency with site safety needs, leading to the emergence of new Environmental Agency guidance.
The company said that its next generation FAAST solutions address these issues, and that many recycling facilities have turned to aspiration detection as a technique as it allows air to be drawn via a pipe network for analysis of smoke particles.
However, the company noted that whilst an improvement on traditional methods, these systems can still cause false alarms.
Honeywell’s next generation FAAST system is claimed to combine the earliest and most accurate fire detection with false alarm immunity.
“FAAST uses a sophisticated three-stage filtration technique, dual-optics particle analysis and intelligent algorithms that effectively distinguish smoke from dust particles,” explained Tim Checketts, business development manager at Honeywell Fire Safety.
“This is vital in plants which are recycling large volumes of fibre rich materials such as paper around the clock. FAAST is able to withstand temperature and humidity variations as it is able to auto learn its environment,” he continued.
“Integral replaceable components minimise device failure and improves maintenance which can be costly in hostile environments,” added Checketts.
According to Gintare Budriunaite, marketing manager for Honeywell Fire Safety, the company is seeing an increasing number of waste recycling plants opting for next generation aspiration detection technologies to provide accurate and robust smoke detection.
“Additional benefits such as the ability to cope with high levels of dust and humidity, as well as easy device installation and maintenance makes it an ideal choice for any facility manager under pressure to guarantee undisrupted and safe operation,” commented Budriunaite.
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