The conception of innovative time saving fire alarm products
Protec has seen field engineers and production engineers alike work their way up into our R&D Department through our ‘promote from within’ philosophy. By doing this, it enables us to add a hands-on experience of products into our system design. It gives an edge in the conception of our products, as we feel nobody knows what an installer wants better than someone who has spent time working with fire alarm products day in day out. The engineers no doubt felt that if a job could be installed quicker, it was less time spent on those cold, wet building sites in the middle of winter. So, with that in mind, Protec has developed lots of quick and practical money-saving subtle design implications which help reduce time at various stages throughout the project procurement process.
Let us start at the beginning of the building procurement when the project is being costed. A well-designed system should be easily put together with as little thinking as possible. Nothing fits this better than a Protec 6000 fire alarm system. The system uses a two-wire addressable loop configuration. By using this method, it means that it negates the need for splitting zones or having to wire separate A & B sounders along with detection loop circuits.
The 6000PLUS system doesn’t stop there as the 6000PLUS range detectors incorporate sounders and visual alarm devices (VAD) into the sensor head itself. It means a standard base throughout the fire alarm system. By doing this, you don’t lose any valuable loop addresses. For example, by using a detector and a separate sounder base on some other systems, they are addressed separately, which takes up valuable space on the loop circuit. With the Protec system, this isn’t the case as it only takes up one address which leaves a dedicated 200 addresses a loop to populate with point-type detectors and other loop driven devices.
After the design stage and the project gets the go-ahead, the installation team will attend the site. The installation stage is where time becomes ever more critical, as every working hour on-site is another pound, dollar or euro out of your pocket. Completion deadlines with financial penalties which are in place on projects are only made worse with the initial cost for labour hours. It means anything which can reduce time on site will reduce the overall cost of the project. With that in mind, and when you look for the most time-efficient installation procedures, Protec has developed quite a few products through the years which reduce the installation time on site. It has become a staple part of the Protec installation practices today.
Being a fire alarm company, the most time spent out in the field is no doubt installing point type detection. Any time saved here is going to be mean a massive saving in labour costs on the overall project. A majority of buildings contain false ceilings, and with building aesthetics being pushed more and more by the architects, Protec found a gap in the market in 2009 and developed what is known as the fast fix base. The fast-fix base is simply a junction box and detector base combined. Installation time is saved during the installation as it negates the need to install both a junction box and a detector base. The fast fix base sits semi-flush into the suspended ceiling. The ingenious design makes for a more discrete aesthetically pleasing solution to mounting a point detection.
The fast fix base is as simple as 1,2,3
Protec Fast-Fix installation
Speaking of bases who wants to be stripping solid drawn cable to make links to put into a detector base? You just want to screw a base to the ceiling, terminate the two-loop wires and plug in the detector. Well with all the Protec range of bases this is what happens no need for additional links. It might only seem like one or two minutes saved but over 60 detectors this is one or two hours!
The commission of a fire alarm system is towards the end of the building procurement storey. In this article, we have come to the conclusion being ‘FAST’ reduces time in carrying out a job and with that the cost on the project. Since the introduction of the Protec 6000 series, we have always used our FAST (Firmware Addressed Secure Technology) way of commissioning devices. Each device comes out of the factory with its designated code and associated removable barcodes. Come commission time the commission engineer scans both addressable barcodes attached to the fire device, one stays on the detector, and the next is placed in the loop commissioning manual. This simple but useful task reduces any need for fiddly switches which are now outdated or any address cards and more importantly, reduces the time spent commissioning.
From our engineer’s experience in the field from the initial design stage to the final commission, we have learnt what is desired by specifiers and installers alike. These lessons have then been implemented at the product design stage to make a fire alarm system that is quick and efficient to install. By the reduction of labour on-site, this has led to reduced project cost keeping both contractors and clients happy.
These cost and labour reducing can be seen in real-world applications through various case studies on our website, such as: