Engineered vs Pre-Engineered Fire Suppression Systems
Fire suppression systems are generally divided into two main categories – engineered fire suppression systems and pre-engineered fire suppression systems. Both systems aim to control and extinguish fires. However, these two systems are different in design and application, as seen in this blog.
What Is An Engineered Fire Suppression System?
Engineered fire suppression systems, also known as total flooding systems, function to extinguish fires in an enclosure by flooding the entire room with a clean agent gas. Clean agent gases are able to suppress and extinguish fires without harming people, or damaging property and equipment when discharged.
These systems are recommended for use in larger areas that cover fire risks across multiple rooms. Engineered fire suppression systems are designed to make use of distribution pipework and precise nozzle placements in various zones throughout a protected area.
The NFPA defines engineered fire suppression systems as specialised systems requiring individual calculation and design to determine the flow rates, nozzle pressures, pipe size, area or volume protected by each nozzle, quantity of suppression agent, number and types of nozzles and their placement in a specific system.
The Benefits Of Engineered Fire Suppression Systems
Engineered fire suppression systems are often used as a fire protection solution for larger environments, and offer the following benefits.
Minimal Collateral Damage
Engineered fire suppression systems use clean agent gases that are non-corrosive and electrically non-conductive. Total flooding systems are safe to use in rooms containing electronics and mechanical equipment, as the extinguishing agent can be discharged without damaging these sensitive assets.
Engineered systems provide a rapid response to fires by flooding a room with a gaseous extinguishing agent, reaching required concentration levels within seconds of activation. Ventilation systems provide pressure relief in rooms where the extinguishing agent has been discharged.
Leaves No Residue
Total flooding systems fill a room with a clean agent gas that evaporates without leaving any residue behind. Gaseous extinguishing agents therefore avoid the problem of costly clean-ups once activated, allowing your business to resume operations more easily.
Multi-Zone Fire Protection
Engineered fire suppression systems allow a single stock of the extinguishing agent to cover several protected zones. These systems offer a cost effective fire protection solution for larger areas by supplying one common cylinder bank to cover multiple rooms, thus minimising the amount of cylinders used.
FST’s selector valve system makes use of distributed pipework and nozzle placements to direct the flow of an Inergen® agent to the correct zone.
What Is A Pre-Engineered Fire Suppression System?
Unlike engineered systems that flood an entire room with an extinguishing agent, pre-engineered systems are rather designed for use in micro-environments. These systems are designed to provide fire protection in smaller enclosures such as electrical panels, server rack cabinets, and engine compartments.
Pre-engineered fire suppression systems are available as direct or indirect release systems. Direct release systems make use of fire detection tubing that bursts at the source of a fire and discharges an extinguishing agent directly through the hole in the tube. Indirect release systems discharge an extinguishing agent via connected pipes and nozzles mounted on a cylinder.
Pre-engineered systems consist of ready-made components that have been tested and proven to deliver a predetermined level of performance. The NFPA defines pre-engineered fire suppression systems as having predetermined flow rates, nozzle pressures, and quantities of extinguishing agent, as well as having specific pipe size, maximum and minimum pipe lengths, flexible-hose specifications, number or fittings, and number and types of nozzles.
The Benefits Of Pre-Engineered Fire Suppression Systems
Pre-engineered fire suppression systems are different in operation to engineered fire suppression systems, and offer the following benefits.
Early Detection and Quick Response
Fire suppression systems aim to take action on a fire before it gets a chance to grow and spread out of control. Pre-engineered systems provide fast, onsite protection at the earliest stages of a fire’s development. These systems respond to a fire within seconds of detection.
Safe and Easy To Use
Pre-engineered systems activate automatically and do not require any human intervention to combat fires. These systems require significantly less pipework than engineered fire suppression systems, making them easy to use and simple to install.
Tested To Ensure Success
Pre-engineered systems consist of components that have been pre-tested to ensure reliable performance levels. These systems have been designed in accordance with NFPA standards and rigorously tested to stringent Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) testing protocols to ensure effective extinguishment of specific types of fires.
Eliminates The Fuel Source
Pre-engineered fire suppression systems are designed to protect assets and equipment contained in smaller areas. These systems target a fire’s fuel source to extinguish a fire directly at the source of ignition.
FST Engineered and Pre-Engineered Fire Suppression Systems
FST is a leading supplier of automatic fire suppression systems in Southern Africa and throughout the rest of Africa. We specialise in providing both engineered fire suppression systems and pre-engineered fire suppression systems.
Contact us to get a tailored fire protection plan to ensure your facility is sufficiently protected against all fire hazards. Our technicians will advise on the various engineered and pre-engineered systems available, suited to your unique application needs.