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Multi-Zone Protection via High-Pressure Total Flooding

Multi-Zone Protection via High-Pressure Total Flooding

Imagine a clean agent fire suppression system that offers a high margin of safety suitable for both equipment and people; together with the ability to be discharged at a high pressure, offers the benefits of a cost effective implementation, as well as the ability to accommodate a wide variety of room configurations.

The VSN 1230 Multi-Zone System is a new high-pressure system developed by Viking GmbH & Co KG, part of the Minimax Viking Group. It utilizes 3M Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid that is able to be safely pressurised at 50 bar, a high pressure capability that is unique in the market and the key to optimised delivery.

The VSN 1230 system fully leverages the properties and superior flow characteristics of 3M Novec 1230 fluid, to create a cost effective, environmentally sustainable fire protection solution for valuable assets where continuity of operation is paramount.

Multi-Zone Protection via High-Pressure Total Flooding

Cost & Space Efficiency with a Multi-Zone System
Compared with standard 25 bar stand-alone systems, the VSN 1230 high-pressure 50 bar system enables the use of multi-zone capabilities to protect numerous areas within vicinity of up to 50 metres radius from one clean agent supply. A multi-zone system typically incorporates selector valves to automatically direct the agent to the needed area. This dramatically reduces the installation costs, as a multi-zone system requires only enough agent to protect the largest area, as opposed to the combined volume of all areas. There are also ongoing benefits for service and maintenance of multi-zone clean agent systems compared to standard systems.

Viking’s 50 bar system can move up to 75 percent more agent through the same size pipe and can run almost three times the pipe length compared to a 25 bar system in the maximum ten-second agent discharge time. Such superior characteristics allow for greater configurability of piping, such as being able to store the extinguishing agent outside the protected area; utilising longer pipe runs and even smaller pipe sizes. All these could result in more efficient use of space and cost savings.

Smaller Tanks, with Greater Piping Efficiency
Specially designed seamless tanks that can be safely pressurized at 50 bar are employed by Viking, and the economically optimised design ensures that the cylinder size optimises the ratio of agent to volume. A cylinder will contain both 3M Novec 1230 fluid as a suppression agent and nitrogen gas as a propellant. When pressurised to 50 bar, the nitrogen propellant occupies a lower volume, greatly increasing the usable space for the Novec 1230 agent. At the same time, the system enables the use of smaller tanks, achieving greater space efficiency in a cost effective manner.

Greater piping efficiency is also an advantage of a high-pressure system. A 50 bar system provides almost three times the available pressure than a 25 bar system, allowing longer pipe runs and ensures a homogeneous distribution of agent in the protected area. The high pressure compensates for friction losses in pipes, valves and hoses; ensuring a pressure drop would not affect the critical minimum nozzle discharge pressure.

Highest Margin of Safety in Market Enables Flexible Room Configurations
The margin of safety is the relative comparison of the design concentration of the agent with the no observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) of the agent. With a design concentration for Novec 1230 at 4.2 percent to 5.9 percent, and a NOAEL at 10 percent, the margin of safety could be calculated from the following formula:

Margin of Safety (%) = (NOAEL ÷ Agent Concentration) – 1

Very often, the amount of agent used for a facility is calculated based on the empty structural volume. Space occupied by non-structural components such as equipment, electrical and mechanical fixtures and storage cabinets are usually not considered. The space occupied by non-structural components is difficult to determine and might be subject to changes over time. This might lead to the effective concentration of the agent being much higher than the intended design concentration. The risk of the effective concentration being higher than the NOAEL thus becomes apparent.

For example, consider an engine room using HFC227ea for class B fire protection. The design concentration is 8.7 percent and the NOAEL of the agent is 9 percent. Assuming that only 10 percent of the room volume is occupied by non-structural components, the effective concentration will increase from 8.7 percent to 9.7 percent using the following formula:

Effective Concentration % = Designed Agent Concentration ÷ (1 – Non Structural Volume %)

As a result, the effective concentration for HFC227ea in the engine room is higher than the agent’s NOAEL (refer to Fig. 1). If the given engine room is protected by 3M Novec 1230 fluid, the effective concentration will be 6.6 (Fig.1), leaving the room with a margin of safety at 52 percent. In fact, a system using 3M Novec 1230 fluid will enable to room to be occupied up to 41 percent by non-structural components before breaching its NOAEL at 10 percent.

Such characteristics of 3M Novec 1230 fluid enable it to be used in both large and small rooms without exceeding the NOAEL of the smallest room protected. In particular, the Viking 50 bar system leverages it to deliver multi-zone protection using the same cylinder of agent, reducing hardware cost and cylinder storage space.

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A Safe & Sustainable Future with 3M Novec 1230 Fluid
3M Novec 1230 fluid has the greatest margin of safety when compared with other fire protection agents in the market, and is a highly efficient alternative to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and Halon. The engineered fluid is stored in liquid form at ambient conditions but changes into a gas when discharged. 3M Novec fluid is non-conductive, non-corrosive, non-wet and leaves no residue, rendering it safe for protecting electronics, sensitive components, paper documents and other critical assets. Ease of shipping is also a key advantage, addressing refilling considerations even in remote locations.

It is also environmentally friendly – with zero ozone depletion potential, an atmospheric lifetime of five days and a global warming potential of less than one. The European Union and United States Environmental Protection Agency has recently introduced policies that indicate an eventual restriction in HFCs sold into fire suppressions. To assure customers, 3M Novec 1230 is covered by a Blue Sky warranty that assures that the agent will not be restricted in its use, for 20 years after original installation of an approved fire suppression system such as a VSN 1230 system.

For more information, go to www.3m.com and www.minimax-viking.com

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