LPCB APPROVED Electrical Cabinet Fire Protection

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Protecting mission critical processes and services has never been more important. Downtime, delay or destruction of equipment that keeps your business operational dramatically impacts your ability to deliver a service, an order or a process upon which the future health of your business, staff, customers and clients depend.

EQUIPRO PAFSS systems are approved to LPCB Fire Standard LPS1666 specifically for the protection of energised equipment such as control panels, switchgear and server racks. The LPS1666 standard developed over many years by BRE in the UK is the world's first dedicated scientific standard describing a stringent fire test methodology for Pneumatic Activated Fire Suppression Systems (PAFSS) which are used specifically to detect and extinguish fires at an early stage inside energised equipment .

Consultants and specifiers worldwide can now confidently add this technology to their arsenal of fire protection solutions when guiding their clients on fire protection for energised equipment.

Equipro PAFSS systems are the only systems currently approved to LPS1666 for energised compartments which also have openings or are naturally or force ventilated. 

Protecting energised equipment and enclosures from fire has traditionally been solved by deploying conventional room protection systems such as gas total flooding, sprinklers or watermist or even worse, leaving the equipment unprotected or reliant on manual intervention. The challenge with these methods is that whilst the fire develops inside an enclosure the fire detection and suppression technology is located outside which delays activation and extinguishing. Activating a room suppression system is also costly and inconvenient as these are "untargeted" meaning they need to create an extinguishing environment for the entire room even if the fire is relatively small and located at a speciifc individual location.

Allowing a fire to develop sufficient heat energy output that activates a ceiling mounted sprinkler bulb means that the room and surrounding equipment is vulnerable to severe damage before the sprinkler activates and when it does the water discharged is unable to penetrate to the seat of the fire. The associated water damage, downtime and clean up is avoided where the approved and tested fire system detects and discharges inside the individual piece of equipment. For example a fire starts in an electrical cabinet at a retail outlet full of expensive stock. Detecting and extinguishing the fire where it starts - inside the equipment - avoids the associated damage and loss caused by the activation of the building's sprinkler system.

High IP rated enclosures such as switchgear and electrical cabinets create a barrier between the enclosure and any gas system discharge into the room from ceiling mounted nozzles. This means that whilst sufficient extinguishing agent must be discharged to fill the entire room volume for an emerging fire located inside a small energised compartment, the extinguishing gas requires additional time to penetrate the enclosure, if it can, and then to reach an extinguishing concentration inside the equipment to finally put out the fire.

For example, a smouldering fire starts inside a UPS or Switchgear in a Telecom or Datacentre facility. The fault and fire continues to develop until the smoke is being generated in such quantity that it is able to escape the confined enclosure and find its way to a ceiling mounted detector (and in the case of double-knock systems to find its way to two smoke detectors). If the fire detection system requires heat and smoke before the extinguishing system is activated then the fault and fire inside the equipment needs to develop further still before the activation of the automatic fire protection system occurs allowing potential consequential damage and danger to grow. This is exacerbated in facilities with hot and cold aisles and controlled airflow where the fire signatures are diverted away from the ceiling mounted smoke and heat detectors.

Designing a fire protection solution to detect and extinguish the fire inside the compartment reduces the requirement for the main building/room fire system to activate in the first place. Limiting the fire event to within the confines of the equipment by detecting and extinguishing it early at its source reduces damage, minimalises loss and avoids the inconvenience and cost of replacing and refilling a room gas total flood system, or cleaning up water from wet systems.


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