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370 advanced fire, smoke detection systems for Arnot

State-owned power utility Eskom will equip its Arnot power station, in Mpumalanga, with 370 SigniFire flame, smoke and reflective-heat detection systems by December.
Turnkey intelligent video, fire and perimeter security specialist C3 Shared Services (C3SS) is installing the camera-based detection system, which can visually determine the source of a fire or smoke.

The installation of the cameras began in December last year and C3SS business development director Brendon Cowley says this is the biggest installation undertaken by the company to date.
C3SS and Eskom’s fire engi- neering team are discussing the possibility of including the SigniFire system in the design of future power stations.

The SigniFire system is a product of US-based solutions provider Fike and was launched in South Africa about four years ago. C3SS is the sole distributor of the SigniFire system in the country.
The system visually detects the presence of fire or smoke at its source, independent of airflow in the area.
The early-warning detection system indicates fire or smoke by displaying a colour-coded line around the flame or smoke plume on a screen and sounds an alarm, depending on the configuration.
The on-screen display highlights the flame, smoke or reflective heat with either a blue or red line, signalling a warning, while pinpointing the specific location of the fire.

“Once a fire has taken place, you need to find out what caused it. “With visual-based fire detection, you can go back and use the recording from the system to find the cause of the fire, even if the camera is destroyed in the blaze,” Cowley says.
He adds that C3SS has been involved in intelligent video analytics for eight years and also uses the product for the detection of intruders, especially in harsh, outdoor environments.
The scaleable SigniFire system can also be used as a standalone recording device and smoke, fire and reflective-flame detector for new installations, or it can be integrated into an existing video management system.
The video is analysed by intelligent processing devices with specific algorithms that detect plumes of smoke or the frequencies of flames, while the SigniFire Internet Protocol network camera detects and recognises smoke and flames from great distances, says Cowley.

A 1-m-high fire can usually be detected from a distance of 100 m, depending on the camera lens, which is available in 2.8 mm and 8 mm, he explains. The smoke or flame can be detected in its earliest stages, unlike smoke or heat detec- tors that rely on the flame or smoke to reach the detector before it sets off an alarm.

“The challenge for conven- tional systems, such as smoke detectors, is that the smoke needs to interface with the device, which can be a major drawback, especially in large-volume areas, such as warehouses with high roofs. “High air flow also makes it difficult for sensors to detect smoke in some cases,” notes Cowley. 


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Alan Jevon, Signals & Communications for Bombela Maintenance (Pty) Ltd
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