Case Study - Stat-X System Protects CNC Machines
An industry-leading manufacturer turned to F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems for a fire protection solution that would protect their valuable equipment. When a fire occurred, the robust suppression system extinguished the fire before the delicate machinery could be damaged.
Seeking an Effective Fire Protection Solution for a High-Risk Environment
One of the industry's most established providers of specialized precision machined parts is headquartered in the Midwest, providing products to a worldwide customer base from their head office and manufacturing facility. Through the use of Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machines, they provide parts and pieces from bar stock that are machined to exacting tolerances. Their manufacturing methods are highly efficient but there are also high-risk fire hazards associated with the process.
Because of the hazardous nature of their machinery, the manufacturer decided to implement a robust, cost-effective fire protection system that would protect lives and assets without causing damage to valuable electrical equipment. The manufacturer reached out to F.E. Moran Special Hazard systems to implement a comprehensive fire protection system, which included Stat-X aerosol fire protection systems, manufactured by FireAway, Inc.
Robust Protection without Damage to Sensitive Equipment
After performing a thorough analysis of the facility's fire protection needs, F.E. Moran Special Hazard Systems designed a comprehensive system that consisted of a dedicated, stand alone Stat-X Fire Protection Aerosol Generator and bracket, accompanied with a local fire alarm/releasing control panel with a local detection and release system. The Stat-X generator releases a fine potassium based aerosol that attacks a flame's free radicals, effectively slowing and extinguishing the fire. This was an ideal system for the application because the facility was afforded the peace of mind that their equipment would not only be safeguarded in the event of a fire, but additionally would not suffer any damage as a result of system discharge.
Overcoming Installation Challenges through Expertise and Experience
During the installation of the system, F. E. Moran encountered an obstacle that was related to the wiring of the CNC machines. Synchronizing the CNC shutdown wiring from the fire protection system's control to the point of interface was an intricate process, but F.E. Moran's experienced installers were able to navigate the wiring for an effective result. Upon completion of the installation, F.E. Moran performed thorough testing of the equipment to ensure that every aspect of the system would be fully operational in the event of a fire.
When Put to the Test, F.E. Moran's Systems Kept Equipment and Personnel Safe
In less than a year after the installation, the fire protection system was activated when a fire started in one of the CNC machines. The system's advanced detection system, which included sensitive Protectowire linear heat detection cable, sent a signal to the control panel at the first sign of the fire, which subsequently triggered the Stat-X system's discharge.
It was critical that the detection system sensed the fire as soon as it ignited and it was essential that the control panel activated the system without delay because of the potential risks involved with the CNC machines. A key element to the manufacturing process is the cutting oil that CNC machines use to lubricate and cool the cutters and transport waste. These oils create an elevated risk for high intensity fires because of their flammability.
Beyond the hazards associated with the CNC machines, there were many intricate components of the equipment that were highly susceptible to fire damage. Within the machines there is control wiring to the internal parts of the system as well as an abundance of flexible plastic hoses that support the drilling and carving operations, carry cooling substances and lubrication elements.
Remarkably, the CNC machines endured the fire unscathed because of the effectiveness of the alarm/detection system and the Stat-X suppression system. Employees who were in the vicinity of the fire when it began indicate that it was a substantial event that had the potential for severe consequences. However, damage to the equipment was nonexistent because of the efficiency of the fire protection system. F. E. Moran Special Hazard Systems was able to replace the Stat-X generator and Protectowire cable within less than two working days, resulting in minimal downtime for the manufacturer.