For many people, the advent and growth of addressable fire detection indicated the end of the conventional detector market. As microcontrollers took off in the 1980s, the advanced computing power resulted in a greater capacity to handle information and more flexibility in the control of a system, meaning customers could buy fewer panels and reduce installation costs. The next major advancement of fire detection was upon us.
As we reached the turn of the century, roadmaps being drawn up by product-management teams at many of the major fire-detection manufacturers were considering a final iteration of conventional panels and detectors, to capture the last of a mature market and provide lifetime support for previously installed systems.
Yet, while addressable fire detection continues to grow as predicted, conventional fire detection has carved out its own niche in the market. Walk into any small retail outlet, restaurant or coffee shop, where a large, complex system is not typically required, and the chances are you will find a simple conventional panel neatly tucked away in a corner somewhere near the door. The decline has not been as pronounced as expected. In fact, quite the opposite.
The 2018 IHS market report1 predicted that while the EMEA conventional panel market would decline by 0.8% between 2017 and 2022, it was forecasted to grow by 1.8% in the APAC region and 0.1% in the Americas. Globally, this translates to a forecasted growth of 0.1% or $0.8m, indicating a market that is still in the maturity phase of its life cycle, rather than the decline phase.
And of course, where there is demand for conventional panels, there is demand for conventional detectors.
Introducing the 700 series
Johnson Controls’ 600 series range of conventional detectors, sold in EMEA and APAC with variants for Marine and ANZ markets, have been on the market for more than 20 years. Despite the issues that typically accompany products of such an age driving up costs, for example component obsolescence and aging manufacturing processes resulting in uncompetitive pricing, the 600-series detectors still sold significantly across the Zettler and Fireclass brands in 2018. Added to this, new approval standards meant a rethink of the UL-approved detectors in the Simplex and Autocall branded SSD range.
To combat some of the aforementioned issues, Johnson Controls launched the 700 series of EN54 and Marine-approved intelligent, conventional detectors in 2021 and were recently pleased to announce an expansion of the range to include UL approvals.
These launches have meant that the 600 series and SSD detectors are now being phased out with an obsolescence plan. The good news, however, is that the 700 series of detectors will replace these detectors in such a way that they are backward compatible, meaning they can act as a drop-in replacement should a single detector need to be swapped in an installed system.
Regional compliance and approvals
Introducing a range of detectors suitable for all markets and which replaces four different brands is by no means an easy task and requires compliance with a lot of different, sometimes conflicting, approvals standards.
In Europe and some APAC markets where EN compliance is required, detectors are available with EN54-5, EN54-7 and, for the first time ever, in the Photo & Heat model Johnson Controls also have a conventional detector approved to EN54-29. Introduced in 2015, EN54-29 is a non-harmonised standard for multi-sensor detectors which is gradually being adopted by more and more EU countries instead of CEA4021 and is a more difficult standard to attain.
For the Americas and the remaining APAC and Middle East markets, which require compliance with UL standards, the detectors are approved to UL268, 7th Edition, and UL521. As well as EN54 and UL, the 700-series detectors are also available with Marine approvals. The Marine detectors are based on the EN54 range with some additional features to achieve MED and IACS compliance.
To combat the issue of how to introduce a single range of products across four different brands, the 700-series detectors are completely unbranded and the only marking to differentiate them is the legal entity address on the label found on the rear of the detectors.
So, what are the features of the 700 series? What is new? And what makes the 700 series ‘intelligent’?
Designing a new detector to replace a product that has been around for so long and already has such a large installed base meant extensive Voice of Customer research was needed. It quickly became apparent that any new detector must be backward compatible, that is to say it must have the same functionality as the 600 series and SSD detectors, as a minimum, and be compatible with the same panels and systems, including those that are no longer available. This benefits the customer, who won’t need to rip out an entire system when only one or two detectors need replacing.
As with the 600 series, the new 700 series have been designed for a fast and easy installation and will utilise the same extensive range of bases and accessories to help distributors and engineers minimise the time on site installing the system.
The 700 series is referred to as ‘intelligent’ as every detector has been designed with a microchip on board, unlocking the performance potential of conventional detectors and breathing new life into a well-established technology. The result of this inclusion of the microchip is improved reliability, with detection algorithms offering the same detection performance and false-alarm rejection rates as the addressable Gen6 detectors from Johnson Controls.
The on-board microchip also means that Johnson Controls can offer another first for their conventional detectors: Threshold Compensation. Unlike addressable technology, which can send some information back to the panel and alert a user when the detector head is dirty, conventional systems do not have this option. In the 600 series, when the dirt in a detector reached a certain threshold, it would need to be replaced to prevent an increase in false alarms and a decline in performance. Now, with threshold compensation, the 700-series detectors will automatically adjust the sensitivity to account for this dirt, resulting in an extended detector life expectancy and improved cost of ownership for the end user.
The different detectors
There are six models in the 700 series to cover a range of fire-detection needs: optical, optical & heat, two types of fixed heat and two types of rate-of-rise heat.
The 701P (EN), 711P (Marine) and 721P (UL), smoke detectors operate by sensing the optical scatter from smoke particles generated in a fire. These detectors are suitable for general applications and areas where cable overheating may occur, for example in electrical services areas. The 711P has a conformal coating on the PCBA and along with the 721P, comes with additional environmental protections such as an insect mesh and IP44 rating to meet approvals standards. The 711P is also EN54 approved, as well as MED and IACS, so can be used in land applications in EN markets where the extra weather protection is required. All three variants include the threshold compensation.
Optical & heat
For normal, ambient conditions, the 701PH (EN), 711PH (Marine) and 721PH (UL) behave as normal optical detectors. Only when a rapid rise in temperature is detected does the sensitivity of the detector increase and the condition change. The detector will not operate on a rate of rise of temperature alone. As with the smoke detectors above, the 711PH and 721PH come with the same additional environmental protections and the 711PH can also be used in land applications in EN54 markets. The 701PH and 711PH are also approved to EN54-29, a first for Johnson Controls conventional detectors and all three include the threshold compensation.
The 701H (EN), 711H (Marine) and 721H (UL) use both rate-of-rise and fixed temperature sensing, where the fixed element provides a backstop for situations when the temperature builds gradually. The fixed element in the 701H and 711H is 60°C and 135°F for the 721H. The 711H and 721H again include the additional environmental protections, this time with an IP55 rating, and the 711H is also EN54 approved. These detectors do not include threshold compensation and are suitable for general use and where ambient temperatures may be low.
The 702H (EN), 712H (Marine) and 722H (UL) use fixed temperature sensing and will not respond at a lower temperature, even where a high rate of rise in temperature is detected. The alarm will trigger when the temperature reaches the range of 54°C to 65°C in the 702H and 712H and 135°F for the 722H. The 712PH and 722PH again include the additional environmental protections with IP55, and the 711PH is also EN54 approved.
The 703H (EN), 713H (Marine) and 723H (UL) are exactly the same but with a trigger temperature range of 84°C to 100°C for the 703H and 713H and 200°F for the 723H.
Both fixed heat detectors are suitable in environments where a sudden change in temperature is normal, such as a kitchen or canteen.
Rate-of-rise heat (UL only)
The final detector in the range is the 724H. This detector works in the same way as the 721H but uses a backstop temperature of 200°F and is only available with UL approvals.
In aspiring to produce one single range of conventional detectors to be suitable for all markets the 700 series promises to be a truly global detector.
For more information, go to zettlerfire.com
1. 2018 IHS Market Report