Thermal Fire Detection
An overview of Thermal Fire Detection in the Waste Industry Application
One of the main problems facing fire detection systems in the UK is exposed/external environments is the unpredictable British weather. Almost every detection system (Smoke, Heat and even some Flame Detectors) can suffer from reduced effectiveness in varying weather conditions. Common issues can include smoke stratification, temperature fluctuations and false alarms through direct sunlight on a detector lens.
One exception to this rule is Thermal Fire Detection. This system stays effective almost regardless of the weather conditions. This makes it especially useful for waste management sites with significant operations/storage space in open buildings, or uncovered areas.
How does it work?
All particles produce a certain amount of infra-red radiation, but as the heat rises, so the concentration of radiation increases. The camera identifies this increase in radiation, reading it as a rise in heat levels. The system can then be set to activate the alarm when radiation reaches a certain threshold.
- Detection Method
Detects hot-spots via infra-red radiation as opposed to optical sight and so is not effected by low-visibility conditions. In addition, it doesn’t require 24-7 lighting like Video Smoke Detection, meaning there is less long-term running costs.
- Detection Speed
A sudden rate-of-rise in temperature (as well as a fixed alarm temperature being met) can be identified, giving the operator a chance to act before a small risk can develop into a large fire. To facilitate rapid response times, footage is streamed back to central monitor where operators can assess the situation and act accordingly
- Installation Options
Whereas all other forms of detection method have to be mounted in a static positon, the thermal heat detection camers con be mounted on a pan and tilt mechanism, allowing the camera to rotate and cover a huge 360° field of view. this significantly reduces the number of cameras required to cover large areas.
- Surface-risk Detection Method
Deep-seated fires can build up heat energy without being detected. Also, large stock piles and/or bunker walls can obstruct the camera view reducing it’s effectiveness if mounted at a diagonal angle.
- Type of Analytics
Un-intelligent software, thereby site processes (eg. vehicle exhausts, hot waste piles) may trigger false alarms. Heat maps streamed beck to the central monitor can sometimes be hard for operators to read, possibly creating confusion and maybe resulting in incorrect action.
Despite the drawbacks listed above, Blazequel regards thermal fire detection to be the most effective fire protection system for external environments, as it is reliable, effective most weather conditions, and gives you the opportunity to achieve a pre-emptive alarm before a fire can even break out. Careful system design can largely overcome the ‘blind spot’ issue, with wide-lens cameras or a scanning camera system.