Aspirating Smoke Detection for Portable Electrical Substations and Switchrooms


A substation is part of an electrical generation, transmission and distribution system. They use electrical transformers to convert voltage from high to low, or vice versa, and perform a number of other important functions. Electrical power may flow through several substations at different voltage levels on its way from a generating station to the consumer.

A switching station is similar to a substation but does not use transformers and operates only at a single voltage level. They are most commonly used for switching the current to back-up lines or for parallelising circuits in case of failure. 

Portable substations and switchrooms are designed to be quickly and easily moved from one location to another with as little downtime as possible. 

Portable electrical substations and switch rooms are an integral part of an industrial sites’ business continuity plan. Without power, the site can not operate, leading to a loss in productivity and, ultimately, revenue.

What are the Risks?

The components within electrical substations and switchrooms are vulnerable to fire. Naturally, fire itself can cause extensive damage to the components but even the smallest amount of smoke released through electrical equipment can cause latent contamination and failure. This smoke contains chloride and sulphur particles that react with humidity and initiate the corrosion process. According to the USA Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 95% of all fire damage inside facilities housing electronic equipment is caused by corrosion.

Therefore, it is essential that any fires in electrical substations and switch stations are detected and dealt with as quickly as possible before irreversible damage is caused and the business suffers costly downtime.

Dust and Dirt
Dust and dirt present in substations and switchrooms can influence the performance of conventional detection types. This will not only result in decreased performance but would also increase the risk of nuisance alarms.
Unmanned Sites
These sites are often unmanned. This means that response to a fire will be difficult and slow. Therefore, it is imperative that fires are detected as quickly and efficiently as possible to avoid further delays.
High Airflows
High airflows caused by air conditioning and cooling systems can dilute smoke. This makes fires difficult to detect, particularly in their incipient stages.
Nuisance Alarms
Nuisance alarms caused by contamination could lead to unnecessary activation of suppression systems causing severe damage and cost implications.

What is the Solution?

VESDA aspirating smoke detection provides the perfect solution for protecting portable electrical substations and switchrooms from fire. Aspirating smoke detectors actively draw air samples from the protected location through a network of pipes and into the detection chamber. 

Sampling points can be installed near the equipment that is most likely to cause a fire and along the path that the smoke is likely to travel to ensure the fastest possible detection of smoke. 

VESDA smoke detectors have a built in replaceable filter that prevents dust from entering the detection chamber and a filtered clean air wash ensures the optics are always clean. This protects the detection element and ensures continued optimum detection performance. Prefiltering can also be added for extra harsh environments.

VESDA detectors can be monitored and managed remotely to ensure a quick response to any fires. The system also has multiple programmable alarms allowing for staged and planned responses to a fire. This also means that early warning alarms can trigger an investigation, while other thresholds can be used to trigger a suppression system. This allows for potential fires to be investigated before the suppression system is activated


VESDA-E detectors set the benchmark for ASD performance, reliability and stability. VESDA-E detectors are easy to install and maintain, cost-effective and extremely reliable. They can detect the presence of smoke even before it is visible to the human eye. 

VESDA-E detectors all include a variety 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 of other ASD systems. Along with this, they maintain consistent sensitivity over time and each unit area consumes up to 8% less power.
  • VESDA Point Addressability With VEA
    They offer pinpoint addressability for up to 40 locations. This improves response times, efficiency and effectiveness of the system.
  • VESDA Connect
    VESDA Connect provides extensive connectivity options to reduce installation, commissioning, monitoring and maintenance costs. Connection options include Ethernet, Wi-Fi, USB, VESDAnet and relays.
    VESDA-E can reduce your 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 a variety of different detectors in the VESDA-E range, delivering fast and reliable detection for every environment.

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 [email protected] or via the online enquiry form situated on our contact page.

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