Risks to people and premises
The fundamental purpose of manufacturers is the efficient output of parts and products for delivery to partners or consumers. These vast work environments, however, pose huge challenges to safety managers. They not only accommodate a large workforce whose occupational safety must be protected from identified hazards. The sites typically store valuable materials and facilities for business operations in outdoor depots on site, some of which are highly flammable. A severe lack of effective solutions which include outdoor fire detection means innovative, reliable fire detection cameras with state-of-the-art technology are a welcome development for safety managers responsible for reducing risks to personnel and business continuity.
What’s on site?
Manufacturing storage space may house large stocks of flammable or combustible substances, like solvents, or materials which kindle rapidly, like wooden pallets or wood chips. In addition, combined waste from diverse production activities may be stored nearby in large quantities, creating a high fire load.
Materials and equipment typically stored, and for how long, depends on the specific industry and operations, for instance
- Pulp and paper - timber, wood chips, paper, solvents
- Agriculture – fertilizers, pesticides, hay, animal feed
- Automotive – tires, benz, welding materials
- Recycling – card, paper, plastics, residues of substances in discarded materials
Many storage areas for manufacturers are sheltered, but open, outdoor perimeter areas, rather than locked warehouses with fire-proof exteriors. This makes them vulnerable to vandalism, theft or arson by intruders, so additional security measures are essential for protection of premises. Another danger is that strong sunlight, wind speeds or the storage of a hazardous mix of materials and substances means fires or explosions could occur spontaneously.
What happens if a fire breaks out undetected?
An industrial building is usually open plan. Flames could be fanned by breezes through open windows or movement, and fabrics, paper, chemicals and dust could accelerate the spread of fire to a wider area, including adjacent structures and outdoor storage. Similarly, a fire that started outside could rapidly blaze through to adjoining buildings.
The safety of employees still on site during a fire are immediately at risk from explosions, burns or collapsing structures. Inhalation of smoke or toxic vapors from burning substances could have a detrimental short- or long-term impact on health.
Business costs of fire damage to manufacturing complexes and their local vicinity can run into hundreds of millions¹. Production can be halted abruptly or site shutdowns may be necessary for repairs, reconstruction or relocation to alternative sites. A large-scale industrial fire could have a dramatic negative impact on the environment as well.
Few solutions for challenges of the great outdoors
Whereas standard fire detection systems function well to protect people and property indoors, these typical smoke detectors are not effective in outdoor settings. The high ceilings and open structure of outdoor storage shelters often do not offer a practical set-up for positioning devices for a suitable fire detection range so they can function reliably.
The open area and fresh air environment will dilute the concentration of the smoke, or the wind can redirect smoke away from the position of the detector so it goes unnoticed, giving the impression of no imminent threat of fire.
Cigarette or chimney smoke may drift upwards, so it is picked up by a smoke detector which signals frequent false alarms interrupting production.
There is a serious deficit of solutions which address challenging outdoor conditions, thus increasing hazards on the properties storing materials with a high fire load in open-air constructions. Safety managers may feel a false sense of security by installing fire detectors indoors and consider their entire premises as well-equipped for fire safety – but if something ignites outside, near flammable storage facilities, indoor fire alarms may be triggered too late.
AVIOTEC keeps watching – even outside and overnight!
For comprehensive fire safety on a large manufacturing complex, a detection and monitoring system must be
- rapid in detection and triggering prompt alerts
- robust against false alarms and poor weather conditions
- reliable, even in low lighting and overnight
A flame or smoke detection camera which monitors an area and recognizes even the first signs of smoldering offers an ideal solution. AVIOTEC IP Starlight 8000 provides rapid fire and smoke detection through video surveillance, which functions effectively both indoors and on sheltered outdoor premises. The video smoke detection can be installed where CCTV cameras are already positioned – so safety and security of the entire premises can be covered from the same fixture points, making installation and maintenance easy. Bosch intelligent video analytics are integrated into the AVIOTEC camera in addition to its flame and smoke detection algorithms. This means this smart video can provide surveillance for premises security as well as monitoring for any signs of fire.
How can algorithms identify a fire?
A combination of technologies create a winning formula for fire safety. AVIOTEC
- uses an unique approach of cutting-edge AI alarm decision in combination with hand crafted algorithms
- works reliably in low-lighting conditions as infrared illuminators provide a light source for the camera, enabling it to capture a clear image of an area and identify smoke and flames, even at night
- is extremely reliable – whereas traditional smoke alarms depend on smoke rising in close range to the device to activate it, AVIOTEC detects signs of fire through video analytics and activates alerts much sooner. As the camera is more sensitive in identifying a fire than smoke detectors, it is also robust against false alarms, so production downtime is reduced.
AVIOTEC is therefore the all-round solution for fire safety and efficient business operations.