Quality Engineered Structures Fire Suppression Image 1

Cleanroom Fire Suppression Systems
Clean Agent Fire Suppression Systems , Water Fire Suppression Systems

Quality Engineered Structures Fire Suppression Image 2No matter where cleanrooms are being used, in medical device, healthcare, pharmaceutical, or microelectronic industries, contamination by smoke and dust can interrupt production processes and thus cause excessive damage and unnecessary costs. That’s why it’s important to provide your cleanroom with a high level of fire safety protection.

The cleanroom is the heart of a corporation’s production and belongs to the group of mission-critical facilities (MCFs). MCFs comprise a collection of high value assets, typically electronics and pharmaceuticals, which have significant monetary value. On the other hand, if the production process is disrupted, the company can suffer severely. A fire in a cleanroom can cause much damage to major assets. Typical causes of a fire include: short circuit, spontaneous combustion of depositions in the air ducts, or leakages of easily flammable or self combustible liquids and gases. Fire damages of equipment and assets can cause losses of several millions within minutes, but that’s only the beginning. Because the high airflow (the air exchange rate can be up to 600 changes per hour) fans out the smoke, even far off sensitive and expensive equipment can be contaminated. In a worst case scenario, assets will be so severely damaged that they have to be completely replaced. Even a small fire can cause a multi million damage.

In clean rooms, the preferred extinguishing agents are generally inert gases. Typically Carbon Dioxide (CO₂), Argon (Ar) and Nitrogen (N₂). They offer fast and reliable extinguishing for all three essential fire classes: Class A (solids), Class B (flammable liquids) and Class C (combustible gases).

Cleanroom Fire Suppression Systems:
  • Clean Agent Fire Suppression Typically Carbon Dioxide (CO₂), Argon (Ar) and Nitrogen (N₂), are governed by the NFPA Standard for Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems - NFPA 2001, 2004 edition. The system typically consists of the agent, agent storage containers, agent release valves, fire detectors, fire detection system (wiring control panel, actuation signaling), agent delivery piping, and agent dispersion nozzles. Less typically, the agent may be delivered by means of solid propellant gas generators that produce either inert or chemically active gas.

  • Water Fire Suppression Systems, though not recommended for cleanroom use, should be of a fine mist type system. A Water Mist fire suppression system is an effective, environmentally-friendly fire protection option for a multitude of fire hazards. Water mist systems split up water into very small droplets, creating a large reaction surface and, therefore, efficiently absorbing the heat of the fire. Because only small amounts of water are required, water damage is reduced to a minimum. The combination of rapid cooling and effective smoke level reduction makes a Water Mist system an ideal solution in occupied spaces. To minimize loss and down time, water mist system nozzles use very fine droplets for fighting fires, washing out acids and scrubbing out smoke particles. They should be designed and engineered to NFPA 750 standards.

Cleanroom Fire Suppression Components:

  • Cleanroom Fire Suppression Discharge Heads should have an FM approved sprinkler head assembly with a adjustable concealed pendent sprinkler that has a low profile, flush design. It should be used advisedly and under the direction of approving authorities having jurisdiction. The cover plate requires a gasket seal assembly for dust-free environments.

  • Flexible Cleanroom Sprinkler Connection Systems are highly recommended as the one-piece system is 100% factory tested and is designed to eliminate particulation and contaminants. FM-approved and ready for use with all major ceiling grid manufacturers' products, each connection comes complete with flexible, stainless-steel hose connected to a one-piece stainless-steel sprinkler drop with grid attachment, and your choice of FM-approved sprinkler head. Every unit is pressure-tested and certified prior to shipping, and requires neither painting nor epoxy coating. Initial cost may be the same as or less than alternative choices, but installation and the ongoing cost of ownership are significantly less as they allow for relocation of HEPA filters, cleanroom lights, and ceiling devices without the need for costly pipe fitting.

  • Aspirating Smoke Detector Systems are suitable for environments where a highly sensitive rapid smoke detection capability is required. This makes them suitable in clean rooms; areas which contain goods easily damaged by fire.

In order to centrally control and monitor the fire safety system, it is recommended to integrate the cleanrooms fire detection system and other systems into a management station. This allows the control room to monitor fire alarms and system faults. It also permits uniform operation of all integrated systems.

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