System Integration & Control Systems Design


AST’s automated fire extinguishing systems

October 2018 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Alien Systems & Technologies designs and supplies automatic fire extinguishing systems for customers that want to protect rooms containing valuable company assets or key processes that the business relies on. Such systems include the Pyroshield gaseous automatic fire extinguishing systems, designed for applications like server rooms and datacentres, substations, UPS rooms, archive rooms, sensitive document stores, museums, flammable liquid stores, flammable gas stores and other intrinsically safe areas.

Customers usually select products on performance and price, but sometimes overlook what actually happens when a fire does occur. In recent months AST has had to deal with three fire events. Firstly, there was a fire at a large international insurance company. The fire occurred within the main datacentre, where a UPS malfunctioned and caught alight. The Pyroshield System operated and extinguished the fire within 30 seconds limiting damage and reducing the event to a ‘minor incident’.

The second incident occurred within weeks on Johannesburg’s East Rand. The fire again occurred in a server room, and as in the first incident, the Pyroshield System operated and rapidly extinguished the fire.

A month later there was another incident in the East Rand area, this time it occurred in an intrinsically safe area, extremely high-risk because of its potentially explosive atmosphere. A fire in this room, if not checked, could have resulted in a catastrophic explosion. Once the fire started, the Pyroshield System operated and extinguished a very high energy fire.

But what happened after the fires?

On each occasion, the Pyroshield System worked 100%, saving customers from potentially severe incidents that could have yielded substantial losses, damage and possibly loss of life. Nevertheless, after the fires were extinguished, the customers had to deal with investigations, restoration of the protected area, claims and disruption. One of the key priorities is always to restore fire protection, and this is where AST offers a superior service.

The company has invested significantly in infrastructure to ensure that customers receive fast response and the highest levels of service. This includes a dedicated cylinder transport service, rapid refilling and our SANAS and DOL approved hydrostatic pressure testing facility – all done in-house. Should cylinders require hydrostatic pressure testing, the test is free. Should customers have a fire, AST does not charge for the refill.

In the case of the first fire, AST had replacement Pyroshield Cylinders, onsite, within six hours, leading to full protection cover restored in nine hours. The customer was extremely satisfied. In the case of the second fire, AST had full Pyroshield Cylinders onsite within five hours. The customer was again extremely satisfied. The third fire occurred on a Friday evening after hours. AST was notified at 6.45 pm and the response team reacted immediately and fire protection had been restored by the following morning. The customer was extremely satisfied.

These are just a few real-world examples of where AST has demonstrated its commitment to service after a customer experiences a fire. It also serves to demonstrate that purchasing a fire protection system not only involves decision criteria such as quality and price, but indeed the fire protection engineering company itself, its capabilities, and its commitment to customers when things go wrong. This is where a dedicated fire protection engineering company can make things right quickly so that the businesses can continue to operate with minimal disruption – a responsibility that AST is committed to ( www.facebook.com/astafrica/?ref=settings).

For more information contact Grant Wilkinson, Alien Systems & Technologies, +27 11 949 1157, sales@astafrica.com, www.astafrica.com


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