Ducting in the manufacturing sector is abundant. It is used to remove heat, noxious fumes, dust, and other contaminants. It is also a central component in HVAC systems. The food production industry uses ducts to ventilate the smoke and odors produced during the cooking process.
Ducts travel all over the facility. They are like a miniature super-highway that lets air move with the least resistance to its final destination. This style of construction is what makes them so efficient.
It is in this super-highway style of construction where the fire risk lies. Unless it is stopped by some device, a fire in a duct has a clear path to spread throughout the building. It can also easily spread from the burning duct to nearby combustibles.
All ducts accumulate dusts which can be highly flammable. In some applications, there may be an array of other combustible materials collected in the ducts. Ducts in the food production industry notoriously collect flammable greases and oils.
In proximity to all this fuel, there is also a lot of electrical equipment used in ducted systems. Any arc or short is a potential ignition source. Additionally, if the ducts are exposed to radiated or convected heat, there is a much higher possibility of the combustibles inside igniting.
A fire in ductwork can be disastrous on several fronts. First, there is the threat to life safety. By design, most ducts are installed where people work, so the exposure can be significant.
Secondly, the ducts can spread the fire to areas remote from the origin. In addition to spreading the damage, this makes it difficult for fire crews to locate and extinguish.
The potentially catastrophic outcome notwithstanding, even a non-catastrophic fire can be a costly, disruptive affair. There is the obvious expense of the ductwork and associated equipment that is damaged, contaminated, or has to be replaced. Additionally, there is the damage to nearby surfaces that have been impacted by the fire.
The biggest loss, however, most likely will be from business interruption. Most likely, all areas that were serviced by the ducting will be taken offline. If the duct spread fire to any other areas, they will be disrupted as well.
Ducts expose so much of a facility and its personnel to rapid and easy fire spread that it is only prudent to protect these spaces. Their small, enclosed, unmanned environments are ideal for a Stat-X® electrically operated fire suppression system. The Stat-X total flooding system quickly extinguishes non-explosive duct fires and extends its protection throughout the ductwork by remaining airborne for up to twenty minutes.
The compact units are easily installed in locations where they will not interfere with the operation of the duct system while still providing complete coverage of the space. The Stat-X electrical fire suppression system can be connected to a fire detection system for activation.
The rapid response of the Stat-X system acts to suppress duct fires while they are still manageable, thereby reducing spread and damage and minimizing business disruption. And also of tremendous importance, discharge of a Stat-X unit does not damage equipment and requires minimal cleanup.