Experts in fire protection

Overview

More than one third of all large-scale fire damage in commercial operations and industry occurs in storage and logistics areas. Logistics businesses characteristically store large amounts of goods - and thus a high volume of assets - in a comparatively small area. The total sum of fire loads and the rapid spreading of fire combine to form extreme hazard potentials. As a result, a fire can quickly threaten the survival of an entire business. Especially in the field of storage and logistics there are numerous crucial criteria for the selection of the best type of fire protection. The first step is to differentiate between the various storage types, from high rack storage to vertical rotary racks. The type of goods moved and stored also plays a significant role, since these may differ greatly in their composition and characteristics. Special risks, such as the storage of paper rolls or tires, often require specific fire protection solutions. And finally, the commissioning area, the server room and other peripheral areas have to be taken into consideration.

Flames, smoke, gas emissions, heat – fire has many facets. Minimax has the right fire detectors for the various areas within logistics centers. Their signals converge in the fire detection and extinguishing control panel, which issues an alarm to the people at risk and the fire brigade. In addition, the Minimax panel monitors the installed fire protection system for proper functioning and electrically triggers the extinguishing systems that are not equipped with their own triggering elements, e.g. sprinkler systems.

A sprinkler system ensures overall building protection in a logistics center. Minimax offers a broad range of sprinkler types and special sprinklers that allow for ideal adaptation of the sprinkler system to the respective installation situation in the various protected areas.

Areas with special fire risks or deployment conditions require - either in addition to or instead of the sprinkler system - a tailored volume or equipment protection system. For this reason, deluge systems, foam extinguishing systems, Minifog water mist extinguishing systems, Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems, halocarbon extinguishing systems and Oxeo Prevent fire prevention systems are used.

The alarm and condition reports issued by the fire protection systems installed by Minimax, as well as by other suppliers, can be visualized on screens by the Inveron hazard management system.

Structural fire protection, as well as technical systems by Minimax Mobile Services, such as fire extinguishers, wall hydrants and smoke and heat extraction systems, complete fire protection in logistics centers.

Protected areas

1
Emergency power generators
2
Refrigerated storage
3
Storage of hazardous substances
4
Server rooms
5
Offices
6
Small & heavy load carriers
7
Block storage
8
Commissioning
9
Tire depot
10
Paper roll depots
11
High rack storage
12
Vertical rotary racks
  1. Emergency power generators
    1 Emergency power generators

    Protection zone

    Emergency generators are often housed in separate premises. During a power failure, these generators secure the power supply, maintain business operation and prevent financial loss due to an operational interruption.

    Risks

    • Diesel fuel, which ignites on hot surfaces
    • Leaking lubrication oil

    Fire Protection

    For local protection of the emergency generator, Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing systems are ideal. These can be connected to the sprinkler systems installed for building protection purposes and fight fires quickly and effectively through open water mist nozzles. Minifog ProCon water mist extinguishing systems are triggered by a fire detection system that uses UniVario flame or heat detectors to detect fires.

  2. Refrigerated storage
    2 Refrigerated storage

    Protection zone

    Refrigerated storage is widespread especially in the food industry and in the related, downstream commercial operations. The goods and products are stored for purpose at temperatures of up to -40 °C. The necessary heat insulation often consists of non-flammable or flammable insulation materials with varying fire performance, often in the form of sandwich elements. Rack storage is predominant in refrigerated storage facilities

    Risks

    • Dry air promotes the rapid spread of fire
    • Additional fire loads when using flammable insulation material
    • Extinguishing water without antifreeze additives will freeze over very quickly.

    Fire Protection

    Oxeo Prevent fire prevention systems are the ideal solution for refrigerated storage facilities, since the conditions for their use — no permanent presence of people in the storage facility, a well-sealed building shell and very low infiltration of fresh air caused by bringing in and removing goods — are also required to maintain the desired temperature level. Moreover, they offer perfect protection for the storage of foodstuff that is sensitive to smoke and temperatures. Oxeo Prevent fire prevention systems are mostly used in combination with HELIOS AMX5000 aspirating smoke detectors with a highly sensitive setting to ensure earliest fire detection. Heated aspirating outlets ensure their proper operation in refrigerated areas. Though Oxeo Prevent can only prevent a smoldering fire from turning into an open fire, the fire and the cause of fire would remain permanently undetected in the absence of an earliest fire detection system. Alternatively, sprinkler systems can be installed in such conditions — here ideally fitted with ESFR sprinklers. If there is a sufficiently spaced, frost-free intermediate area above the ceiling available, we recommend pendent Viking ESFR dry sprinklers. Combined with a Minimax PipeGuard Antifreeze system, sprinkler systems can be used in refrigerated storage facilities at a temperature of up to -40 °C.

  3. Storage of hazardous substances
    3 Storage of hazardous substances

    Protection zone

    Hazardous substances are materials or mixtures that are explosive, combustible or harmful to human health or the environment. Warehouses where such substances are stored have a great variety of typical designs, subject, however, to specific laws and regulations applicable to their construction. Such provisions require e.g., fall-safe storage, soil protection in the form of collecting reservoirs and extinguishing water retention systems as well as the prevention of operational sources of ignition.

    Risks

    • Rapid spread of fire
    • Devastating effects of fire on people and the environment

    Fire Protection

    As a rule, the planned fire protection system for hazardous substance storage is determined in particular by the characteristics of the stored goods. Accordingly, nearly the full range of fire extinguishing systems is used in such facilities. For this type of storage, Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems are often the preferred solution: they extinguish fires quickly without leaving residue, and reactions between the burnt materials and extinguishing agents are precluded. Alternatives are Oxeo Prevent oxygen reduction systems or foam extinguishing systems. A fire detection system triggers Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems and Oxeo Prevent oxygen reduction systems. UniVario flame and heat detectors are used for detection purposes.

  4. Server rooms
    4 Server rooms

    Protection zone

    Server rooms are important, sensitive areas. In these rooms, data of high importance for business operations is stored, managed and exchanged over the network. The irretrievable loss of this data through a fire may have considerable economic consequences for productivity or even the future of a company.

    Risks

    • Overheating of technical equipment
    • Defects such as short circuits
    • Considerable damage even in the case of small fires

    Fire Protection

    For small and medium-sized server rooms, the MX 1230 extinguishing system is the ideal solution. It gives residue-free extinguishing using the innovative Novec™ 1230 extinguishing agents and requires very little space. Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems are ideal for large server rooms. The MX 1230 extinguishing system and Oxeo inert gas extinguishing systems are triggered, and fires are detected, by a fire detection system using a HELIOS AMX5000 smoke aspirating system.

  5. Offices
    5 Offices

    Protection zone

    Offices, conference rooms and dining rooms are generally used by staff and guests. In addition, staff members may also retire to break rooms or smoking rooms and to kitchens during work. Corridors run through the entire building, serving as a main traffic route.

    Risks

    • Defective electrical devices such as projectors and computers
    • Overheating of the lighting
    • Short circuits at vending machines

    Fire Protection

    Minifog EconAqua water mist extinguishing systems offer space- and water-saving protection and can be connected to an existing sprinkler system. In areas with higher ceilings, sprinkler systems provide reliable fire protection. 

  6. Small & heavy load carriers
    6 Small & heavy load carriers

    Protection zone

    Very often the small and heavy load carriers used to store and transport goods for industrial purposes are made of plastic. While small load carriers (SLC) are very often used in automatic high rack storage facilities, heavy load carriers (HLC) are tend to be used more in block storage facilities.

    Risks

    • Chimney effect: the air ducts formed by stacking the stored goods draw the flames and gas emission upwards like a chimney.
    • Minimal water wettability due to the shielding effect of storage and transport containers stacked on top of each other
    • High fire load due to great density of stored goods in a confined space

    Fire Protection

    In principle, the same fire protection systems described for high rack and block storage facilities can be used
    in these cases too. However, if a sprinkler system is used, we recommend using a film-forming foaming additive to enhance the dampening effect on SLCs and/or HLCs. When using SLCs in automated high storage facilities, Oxeo Prevent fire prevention systems are often an interesting alternative. A fire detection system triggers the Oxeo Prevent fire prevention system, while fire detection is provided via HELIOS AMX5000 aspirating smoke detectors.

  7. Block storage
    7 Block storage

    Protection zone

    In block storage facilities, goods and products are stored in crates, boxes or pallets on top of each other and next to each other, piled up in blocks without using shelves. The individual blocks of a storage facility are often subdivided into smaller units - so-called cells. This in turn ensures a very dense arrangement of the storage units, and thus a very high degree of space and volume usage.

    Risks

    • Technical defects in the storage equipment
    • Very high fire loads, since the goods and assets are stored in a particularly dense manner.

    Fire Protection

    As a rule, fire protection in block storage facilities can be ensured by using a sprinkler system. In this case, the sprinklers — either conventional sprinklers or ESFR sprinklers, depending on the type of stored goods, packaging and the height of the building — are installed only in the ceiling. For block storage facilities, this system is supplemented by a HELIOS AMX5000 aspirating smoke detector system for early fire detection. The suction lines of the aspirating smoke detectors are installed under the ceiling, with sections descending down to evaluation units in easily accessible locations to facilitate maintenance works. A further advantage of the HELIOS AMX5000: due to very sensitive settings it is possible to compensate — at least in part — the fact that it is not possible to monitor the intermediate levels in block storage as in the case of high rack storage facilities.

  8. Commissioning
    8 Commissioning

    Protection zone

    The commissioning area includes storage spaces required to prepare the removal of goods from storage or to prepare goods for shipping. This means that essentially the same goods and products are stored here – often in block storage – as in the actual storage area.

    Risks

    • Defective electrical appliances
    • High fire load

    Fire Protection

    In principle, the same fire protection solutions as those used for the corresponding main storage area can be used for the commissioning area. However, since commissioning mainly takes place
    in large, open areas with many people being present on a permanent basis, water-based extinguishing systems are used as a rule in these areas.

  9. Tire depot
    9 Tire depot

    Protection zone

    Tires are generally stored in bulk storage on specially designed transport pallets. Those depots are directly connected with production plants through transport facilities.

    Risks

    • Defective storage equipment or small appliances
    • High fire load due to high density of many tires in a confined space.

    Fire Protection

    In view of the limited ability to wet the tires and the risk of a very fast development and spreading of the fire, this fire risk is best addressed with a deluge system with a film-forming foaming additive or, alternatively, a foam extinguishing system. In this regard, Minimax offers a variety of protection concepts tailored to the individual storage conditions in place, e.g. using open large-drop sprinklers. The extinguishing system is triggered by a fire detection system using UniVario flame and heat detectors.

  10. Paper roll depots
    10 Paper roll depots

    Protection zone

    As a rule, paper rolls are stored in block storage facilities. Some warehouses are equipped with mechanical gripping systems - in other words, automatic paper roll depots.

    Risks

    • Chimney effect through shafts between the paper rolls
    • The use of water as an extinguishing agent is impeded in cases where absorbent sanitary paper is stored.

    Fire Protection

    In principle, the same fire protection systems described for block storage facilities can be used in these cases too. Protection concepts based on ESFR sprinklers or – in the case of warehouses with greater heights – a carbon dioxide extinguishing system are viable alternatives for situations where the storage of absorbent sanitary paper prevents the use of water-based fire extinguishing systems. In this case, too, carbon dioxide has the advantage – compared to other extinguishing gases – that it is also suitable for fighting deep seated smoldering fires. In large-dimension storage areas that require large quantities of carbon dioxide, we recommend storing the extinguishing agent in low-pressure containers for reasons of cost. For automated paper roll depots, Oxeo Prevent fire prevention systems are a viable alternative. The system is triggered by a fire detection system, HELIOS AMX5000 aspirating smoke detector, to allow for early detection.

  11. High rack storage
    11 High rack storage

    Protection zone

    High rack storage shelves are up to 50m high and are mostly designed for the intake of Europallets. Their capacity ranges from a few thousand to several hundred thousand pallet storage positions. On a very small surface area they offer space for extremely large quantities of goods and products. Between every two rows of storage shelves there is an alley in which rack feeders move up and down.

    Risks

    • Rapid spreading of fire in a vertical direction due to stacked pallets
    • Chimney effect, i.e. flames and fire gases are drawn upward through the shafts

    Fire Protection

    Sprinkler systems have been proven to work well in high rack storage facilities. In the conventional version, sprinklers are installed both under the ceiling and in the shelves. However, the installation of shelf sprinklers is rendered unnecessary if ESFR (Early Suppression Fast Response) sprinklers, which are installed only in the ceiling, can be deployed. Fire detection systems for the early detection of fires are also used to supplement sprinkler systems in high rack storage facilities. In these cases, Minimax recommends the use of HELIOS AMX5000 aspirating smoke detectors with a vertical installation of the suction lines in the shelves and mounting the evaluation units in easily accessible locations. The advantage of such a solution over punctiform smoke detectors is, for example, that they can be serviced very easily without having to interrupt business operations.

  12. Vertical rotary racks
    12 Vertical rotary racks

    Protection zone

    Vertical rotary racks are vertical; fully metal-plate encased rotating racks of up to 30 m in height, where all goods are typically moved over a single outlet for inserting or removing goods. Thus an ideal form of storage for small parts. They also offer the ergonomic advantage of moving the stored goods towards the operator, and not vice versa.

    Risks

    • Friction in the integrated technical drive devices
    • Introduced ignition sources
    • Rapid spreading of the fire, since it is a closed system with a density of stored goods.

    Fire Protection

    For automated closed storage systems, a water spray with special extinguishing nozzles is ideal. These can be connected to an already existing sprinkler system protecting the building. Alternatively, if the vertical rotary rack is particularly high, if particularly sensitive goods are stored in the racks or if the use of water may lead to extended business interruptions, an Oxeo inert gas extinguishing system may be more appropriate. Using nitrogen, as opposed to other extinguishing gases, has the advantage that it is somewhat lighter than air and therefore escapes — in the event of a fire – gradually via the low-lying outlet for inserting or removing goods after the rack system has been flooded. If extinguishing systems are triggered by a fire alarm system, we recommend a combination with HELIOS AMX5000 aspirating smoke detectors. 

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Fire protection solutions for warehouses and logistics centres
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