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Burning Issue: Fire protection: where speed is of the essence

Didier Vassal, managing director and vice-president of Victaulic in Europe, explains why the UK's fire protection industry is the first to receive its latest fire protection device
Burning Issue: Fire protection: where speed is of the essence
THE fire protection industry has always had to be fast moving. Often one of the last on the job site, the fire team is expected to turn around installation at break-neck speed and have the system pressurised, tested and functioning within ever-increasingly tight time frames.

With this kind of pressure the industry has always been a leader in accepting new technologies that favour speed of installation. With this in mind, the UK's fire protection industry is the first to receive Victaulic's full range of FireLock NXT devices. In fact, the Firelock NXT alternate valve takes wet and dry fire protection to the next level. Not only does it provide both wet and dry functionality in a single valve but also requires the adjustment of only three valves to convert the system for warm or cold weather.

Fast and furious

With fast and furious being the best description of installation timescales on today's commercial jobs, ensuring the fire protection system is installed in time while meeting or exceeding design standards is increasingly a challenge. Victaulic, which specialises in the provision of grooved-end joining systems, has seen a dramatic increase in the use of its non-weld systems in the fire protection sector in the UK during the last few years because of the demand to save even more time on-site.

A grooved-end approach has also proved popular in the fire protection industry as it ultimately saves money on the job as compared with welding. Grooved end piping systems have been shown to be as much as three times faster to install than welded piping and, in addition, the normal procedure of shutting down areas where welding is in progress is unnecessary when using a non-weld system, ensuring that all areas of the site are kept operational throughout the working day.

New Fire Protection Range

Victaulic is a leader in providing innovative grooved fire protection systems. Since the introduction of the Victaulic Style 005 Firelock Rigid Coupling in the UK in 1994, the company has continued to work closely with designers, installers and facilities managers to develop and fine-tune its fire protection range. The latest product to be brought to the UK market is the FireLock NXT line of dry, alternate (wet/dry), wet, deluge and pre-action devices. This new range of fire protection devices is not only quick and easy to fit but offers installers one of the smallest installation footprints in the industry today.

FireLock NXT devices are rated to 20.65bar/300psi (Series 764 alternate valves rated to 16bar/232psi by LPCB) and are available in sizes ranging from 40mm to 200mm. With an integral, Victaulic-patented, low-pressure actuator, FireLock NXT devices all operate at a common 0.89bar/13psi pressure, regardless of application, because of an eliminated air-to-water differential, ensuring faster water delivery to sprinkler systems. In addition, each valve has a pre-set air supervisory switch, speeding up the installation process and eliminating the potential for human error.

The innovative diaphragm design, along with the one-piece design of the air feed manifold, the combined check valve, strainer and restrictor, as well as the reduced size of the air compressor, all give Victaulic FireLock NXT devices the smallest footprint in the industry. In addition, attention to design detail has ensured fewer moving parts and easy-to-access components make for a sleek and simple system to install and maintain. For speedy installation, the valve (weighing as little as 43kg) can also be shipped pre-trimmed with the need for only a pressure gauge connection on arrival.

The addition of Firelock NXT to the existing Victaulic Firelock range ensures designers and installers now have bottom line advantages built into the entire Victaulic fire protection system. With the simple wet and dry functionality of the NXT devices and the built-in ease of maintenance, the system looks to be a winner with designers, installers and facilities managers alike and continues to ensure that the fire protection industry can meet the ever more demanding installation schedules being placed on it.

Victaulic T: 01438 741100

1 February 2007


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