Cold stores present their own challenges in terms of fire protectionThe Securiton aspirating smoke detection (ASD) system has been selected as the fire protection method for a new cold store to be operated by one of the UK’s major supermarket retailers.
The new 68-truck bay, 30,000 square metre hub in Pineham, near Milton Keynes, is providing a state-of-the-art facility and has been built alongside an existing 58,000 square metre distribution centre to which it will be linked via interconnecting yards. Located next to Junction 15a of the M1 at the heart of the UK motorway network, it will operate as a dedicated national frozen food distribution point.
As a pivotal new cog in the multiple retailer’s distribution operation, it is vital that the fire detection for the new facility is fast and reliable. Patol is the UK distributor for the Securiton range of ASD systems and has extensive experience in meeting the specific challenges presented by cold stores. This knowledge and expertise proved invaluable in this particular project, with the company extensively involved in developing a solution. One of the prime challenges was to ensure that the ASD system could cope with temperatures as low as -30°C. The design involved the inclusion of heated sampling points to prevent any ice build-up. When fork lift trucks enter and leave a refrigerated storage area, warm air enters which contains more moisture than the refrigerated air is able to absorb. This results in condensation and the formation of ice which can cover the sampling points of the ASD and prevent air samples from being drawn in. In the event of this occurring, the heated sampling points are automatically activated to keep them free from ice and therefore operating at optimum performance.
Given the low temperatures, access to the cold store in which the detectors are located is limited to a maximum of 20 minutes, while laptops required for any maintenance work struggle to operate in such conditions. However, this is not an issue as maintenance can be carried out from a remote location via the network capability of the control panels.
The ASD system offers early detection of fires in a range of applications, with different detectors providing the capacity for scalable and cost-effective solutions.