Vienna, September 21, 2016
Mattias Eggert and Roger James of Unifire AB of Sweden jointly presented the company’s new FlameRanger technology to a packed and captivated audience at the 16th Annual International Water Mist Conference, held in Vienna September 21-22, 2016, organized by the International Water Mist Association (IWMA).
Unifire’s FlameRanger is a cutting-edge, fully automatic fire detection and extinguishing system, which combines sophisticated flame detectors with Unifire’s advanced electronics, software and high-flow robotic nozzles. While not a water mist technology, the system was nevertheless selected by the IWMA as an innovative fire suppression system worthy of presentation to the industry.
According to the presentation by Eggert and James, the FlameRanger has been designed to automatically and very rapidly (within seconds) detect and extinguish fires in large, open spaces, both indoors and outdoors. “In fact, the system operates essentially just as a human firefighter would, yet, unlike human firefighters, it remains on active duty around the clock, 24/7/365,” explained Mr Eggert.
Applications include, among others, fire protection in tunnels, aircraft hangars, large volume spaces (LSV’s) on naval vessels and ships, oil and gas facilities and tank farms, atria, warehouses and manufacturing facilities, and even high-rise building exteriors.
Unlike traditional fire sprinklers and other suppression technologies, Unifire’s FlameRanger is designed to bring to an absolute minimum the time required to detect a fire and then to immediately attack it with a high volume of agent, directly onto the fire. The goal is to detect and fully extinguish a fire within seconds of it breaking out, right at its source. By doing so, according to Unifire, the chances of successful extinguishing are highest because the fire is fought before it grows exponentially out of control.
As soon as flames are no longer detected, the system shuts off the water/foam supply, yet remains detecting and ready to react should any new fires break out. By attacking a fire immediately and only directly at its source, until extinguished, the system minimizes the total amount of water required to extinguish the fire, and minimizes damage to the surrounding environment.
The robotic nozzles move dynamically to follow the flames and can simultaneously detect and track up to four separate fires, and suppresses them in order of detection.
Mr James provided an overview of results from full-scale testing conducted by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Jensen Hughes. According to James, the tests of the system established FlameRanger’s ability to detect, locate in three-dimensional space, and begin accurately suppressing fire in as few as 5 seconds, and all fires of the automatic system test were extinguished in 20 seconds or less.
Another aspect of the system presented is the system’s graphical interface, called Unifire InterAct™, which allows human operators to remotely monitor and take control of the robotic nozzles, from anywhere in the world, over a standard computer or other device with a secure connection. InterAct alerts operators to any problems or errors on the system, as well as any fire detected anywhere on the network. The operator can even view the situation through the system’s CCTV cameras and use a virtual joystick to manually control the robotic nozzles, if desired.
The event organizer, the International Water Mist Association, is a global association dedicated to water mist firefighting and related technologies, and the Conference drew a crowd of 100 fire safety and water mist industry leaders.