Our company carries out the design, installation and maintenance of IG 55, IG 100, IG 01 and IG 541 automatic inert gas extinguishing systems.
These types of systems are particularly suited to protecting sensitive areas such as electrical or electronic control units, telecommunications or control rooms for air and rail signalling, control rooms, Data Processing Centres, marine equipment, pharmaceutical industries and laboratories, banks and money deposits, universities, libraries and archives of all kinds, along with museums, art galleries and theatres.
Inert gases for use in fire-fighting are typically utilised in the form of normed gas mixtures of Argon (Ar), Nitrogen (N2) and Carbon Dioxide (CO₂), in particular:
• IG‑01: 100% Ar;
• IG‑100: 100% N2;
• IG‑55: 50% N 2 , 50% Ar;
• IG‑ 541: 50% N2, 42% Ar, 8% CO2.
COMPONENTS OF AN INERT GAS EXTINGUISHING SYSTEM
Automatic inert gas extinguishing systems essentially consist of:
- A 200–300 bar high-pressure cylinder battery with an 80–140 litre capacity, firmly secured to the wall or floor;
- A manifold to which the cylinders are connected via hoses;
- A pressure reducer, being a calibrated orifice capable of lowering the pressure downstream of the manifold to values with a peak of around 50–60 bar;
- A distribution network with metal pipes connecting to the area to be protected;
- Discharge nozzles evenly positioned throughout the protected space.
Typically, the gas system is enslaved by a duly configured and installed fire-detection system.
HOW INERT GAS WORKS
The inert gases work via the total saturation of the environment (Total Flooding), reducing the concentration of oxygen in the protected room to the point where combustion can no longer be sustained (typically around 10-12%).
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
- Zero environmental impact, since they are already present in the atmosphere (ODP, GWP, ALT equal to 0);
- After discharge, they do not give rise to harmful decomposition substances when in contact with fire, unlike chemical gases;
- They do not leave residues after discharge, allowing for an immediate resumption of activities;
- They do not cause thermal shocks or fog during discharge, unlike pure carbon dioxide;
- They are electrically non-conductive, hence are suitable for the protection of data processing centres, control rooms, etc.;
- They effectively penetrate every corner of the area;
- Inert gases do not damage the materials with which they come into contact;
- They are quite cheap gases, compared to chemical gases.
- They sometimes produce considerable overpressures in the room in which they are discharged, hence they necessitate the installation of an overpressure damper;
- The environment must be closed and well sealed to ensure the rapid and correct extinguishing of the fire, thus closing devices on doors, windows and ventilation channels must be installed;
- It is necessary to carry out a Volume Integrity Test (Door Fan Test) at the end of the installation and each time work is carried out in the room that could affect permeability;
- Since they lower the oxygen concentration, the presence of people in the environment during discharge must be limited, even though exposure at normal design concentrations is considered safe for a few minutes.
The system design phase is probably the most important. We at Esseci S.r.l. carry this out in compliance with good technical practice, following a series of expedients developed through experience and taking into consideration the specific needs of the client. Furthermore, the hydraulic calculation of the pipes is conducted with software that has been approved and validated with practical testing, as required by the standard.
The activation of a gas extinguishing system is generally controlled by a Fire Detection System that is configured with dual consent activation, to prevent unnecessary extinguishing discharges and to guarantee maximum safety for the personnel.
An inert gas fire-suppression system requires particular testing upon completion of the installation and at predetermined frequencies, in order to verify the air-tightness of the room in which the gas is discharged, being the Door Fan Test.
Furthermore, since the correct maintenance of gas extinguishing systems is of vital importance in order to guarantee their efficiency over time and the maintenance of safety conditions, our company is responsible for providing customers with the complete package of products and services for the professional commissioning and maintenance of fire-suppression systems of this type.
Types of fire-fighting systems
Extinguishing systems designed for the protection of large industrial and civil areas.
Our Aerosol extinguishing systems are efficient, free from environmental impact and competitive on the market due to their swift design, installation and maintenance.
Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) systems are simple, reliable and effective. Being easy to manage and maintain, they offer total safety even in large industrial production spaces.
Our inert gas systems use Argon and Nitrogen which, due to their nature, offer complete safety even on particularly delicate and precious materials.
Dry powder extinguishing systems, in particular with Sodium Bicarbonate, are ideal for extensive sites in the petrochemical industry.
Water Mist extinguishing systems are efficient, having no environmental impact and being non-toxic, offering a high extinguishing power thanks to the elevated pressurisation of the water that is not released as a “deluge” but is sprayed.
In the event of fire, these active safety systems guarantee the escape of any smoke from the safeguarded rooms, produced by the combustion in the areas at risk. With this mode, the SistemOpen90°™ ensures the areas are safe and smoke-free, guaranteeing the area leading to the escape routes is protected.
Foam Systems avail of a mixture of water and foam to extinguish fires and are particularly appropriate in the presence of flammable liquids.
For all systems using water as an extinguishing agent, these guarantee that the flow rate is exact so as to ensure perfect efficiency and reliability.
ESSECI S.r.l. offers an instrumentation rental service and performs tests directly with its own qualified technicians. On request, a Test Report signed by a Fire Prevention Expert can also be issued.
In the event of a fire, active safety systems guarantee a higher pressure in the safeguarded premises than in the other environments. In this way, they keep the safeguarded areas constantly free from smoke, creating a protected area leading towards the escape routes.
Our smoke and gas detection systems, with the relative alarm signalling systems and any extinguishing units, guarantee full protection against the risk of fire.
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