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Aspirating Smoke Detection for Aerospace Manufacturing Plants

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The term aerospace refers to the research, design, manufacturing, and operation of anything that is intended to fly in the atmosphere of earth (aeronautics) and surrounding space (astronautics). 

The aerospace industry is responsible for manufacturing aircraft such as private jets, passenger planes and spacecraft as well as propulsion units, engines and missiles. As such, the manufacturing process requires precise engineering, relies heavily on technology and uses complex and expensive machinery.

Aerospace manufacturing is an expensive process. Products can take years to produce, are labour intensive and can cost billions of pounds. The materials involved are very expensive, as is the machinery required to produce the finished product. Therefore, fast and reliable fire detection is essential to ensure that all elements of the manufacturing process, including human life, are kept safe from fire.

What are the Risks?

As with any manufacturing process, aerospace manufacturing plants contain a number of fire risks:

Faulty Machinery
The aerospace manufacturing process uses machinery such as conveyors and robotic arms. If this machinery is not properly maintained or becomes faulty, it can cause a fire.
Sparks
Sparks generated by welding, friction or machinery can easily start a fire if they were to come into contact with flammable materials.
Chemicals and Fuels
Chemicals such as paints, thinners, cleaning products, fuels and gases used in machinery can be extremely volatile and cause a fire to start if not treated or stored correctly.
Dust
Dust and dirt created by the manufacturing process can also be very flammable and cause a fire to spread very quickly.

What are the Challenges?

There are many processes involved in aerospace manufacturing. These are often divided across multiple facilities. These may include conventional machine shops for mechanical components, clean rooms for electrical parts and large final assembly facilities. Each of these areas can present unique challenges. However, challenges that are  typically presented by this type of facility include:

Unpredictable Airflows
Air-conditioning systems, ventilation systems and large open spaces that are present in most aerospace manufacturing facilities can cause problems for traditional detection types and render them ineffective.
Hazardous Chemicals
Fumes produced by hazardous and flammable chemicals can also have a negative impact on the reliability of some detection types.
Dust and Dirt
Dust and dirt present in the environment can cause nuisance alarms and affect the performance of some detectors.

What is the Solution?

Aspirating smoke detection (ASD) can provide the ideal overall protection for this type of application. ASD provides a very early warning of fire and is capable of detecting smoke even before it is visible to the human eye. It can discriminate between dust, fumes and smoke particles, reducing nuisance alarms, and is not affected by unpredictable air flows or high ceilings.

Aspirating smoke detectors use powerful aspirators to draw air from the protected area through a series of pipes and into the detection chamber. Before the smoke enters the chamber, any dust or dirt is filtered out. This protects the detection element from harmful contaminants. This helps to ensure that the detector continues to operate efficiently, reduces maintenance and prolongs the life of the detector.

VESDA-E

The VESDA-E range of detectors was introduced in 2014 to succeed the highly acclaimed VESDA detectors, setting new benchmarks for performance, reliability and stability. 

With the new VESDA-E collection comes a host of groundbreaking features, including:

  • VESDA Smoke+
    VESDA Smoke+ provides up to fifteen times more sensitivity, at least three times better dust rejection and up to twice the longevity, all while maintaining consistent sensitivity over time. Each unit area consumes up to 8% less power.
  • VESDA Point Addressability With VEA
    This provides situational awareness to improve response times, efficiency and effectiveness through pin-point addressability for up to 40 locations.
  • VESDA Connect
    This gives extensive connectivity options to reduce installation, commissioning, monitoring and maintenance costs. Connection options include Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, VESDAnet and relays.
  • VESDA TCO
    With VESDA-E you can reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) by up to 15% for non-addressable products and up to 60% for point addressable products. It reduces operational and capital expenditure by providing plug-and-play installation, designless pipe and microbore tube networks, multiple monitoring options and backwards compatibility.

There are several products in the VESDA-E range that are well suited to aerospace manufacturing applications:

VESDA-E VEP

VESDA-E VEP detectors are built on Xtralis’ FlairTM detection technology, a revolutionary detection chamber, to deliver very early warning of fire, increased nuisance alarm rejection, higher stability and increased longevity. They deliver consistent performance over their lifetime via absolution calibration and are backward compatible with VESDA VLP which makes upgrading existing VEP installations easy.

VESDA-E VEU

These detectors are the premium detector in the VESDA-E range. They have an ultrawide sensitivity range that is fifteen times greater than VESDA VLP and the option for more sampling holes provides increased coverage in high-airflow applications by at least 40%. They can be configured for longer linear pipe runs and extended branched pipe networks to cater for applications with higher ceilings delivering increased coverage of up to 80%. 

VESDA-E VES

VESDA-E VES detectors are similar to VEP detectors. However, they also include a valve mechanism in the inlet manifold that allows a single zone to be divided into four separate sectors. Each sector has four individually configurable alarm levels: alert, action, fire 1 and fire 2, allowing the user to quickly locate the source of the smoke. Once smoke has been detected in one sector, it continues to sample from the others to monitor fire growth.

VESDA-E VEA

VESDA-E VEA detectors bring a new approach to point addressable smoke detection. They use a network of VEA sampling points located in the protected area to draw air to a centralised detector to provide pinpoint addressability. These detectors have end-to-end system integrity monitoring to provide assured detection and support flexible and fast installation. VEA detectors support up to 40 sampling points, all managed from the detector which can be installed in an accessible location. Centralised maintenance can also be carried out to reduce servicing time by up to 90%.

Why Choose Eurofyre?

Complete System Supplier
Eurofyre is a complete system supplier and has been a major Xtralis technical wholesaler since 2007. This means we can offer expert advice and supply all aspects of fire detection including aspirating smoke detection systems, conventional and addressable fire alarm control panels and linear heat detection.
Pipework Design
Eurofyre can also provide assistance with aspirating pipe network design to ensure optimum network performance and installation quality.
Demonstration and Training
We have a sophisticated training facility where we offer demonstrations and expert training on a range of systems, including VESDA-E aspirating smoke detection systems.
After-Sales Support
Eurofyre prides itself on providing after-sales care and support that is second to none. We offer both on-site and telephone assistance to help you ensure that your system is fully operational and working at its best.

For more information about VESDA aspirating smoke detection, 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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