Fire protection systems have historically utilized pyrotechnic devices to help protect people and property. The device was used to release energy to propel a pin through a disc located on the end of a high pressure gas charged cylinder once a fire was detected. The output gas would ultimately open a larger vessel containing fire suppressant gas without damaging liquid sensitive materials (i.e. computers, libraries, chemicals, etc.). Due to the high force required to burst the stainless cylinder end cap and the fast response time needed, the pyrotechnic device or squib was a good solution for the application.
Unfortunately, events of the past decade made shipping restrictions on these pyrotechnic devices increasingly more difficult to navigate. A fire suppression equipment manufacturer was faced with the challenge of finding a solution to replace the pyrotechnic device. Essential features of the new solution continued to be the high force requirements and fast response times that the pyrotechnic devices had provided.
TLX was faced with the challenge of replacing the pyrotechnic device with an electro-mechanical solution while matching the high force requirement previously generated by the violent explosion of the pyrotechnic device. In order to accomplish the design objectives, TLX redesigned the method in which the cylinders were activated in order to minimize the force requirements. The solution developed by TLX utilized a latching solenoid with stored energy that would on command “launch” the pin through the cylinder burst disc. To accomplish this, a specialized hollow pin was designed which pierced the steel sealing disc and allowed the gas to exit the cylinder. The hollow pin was actuated by a compressed spring which was held in the loaded position by a permanent magnet. This process eliminated the risks inherent in an explosive device such as accidental discharge or electrostatic discharge.
The manufacturer found that this new design by TLX had several performance benefits over the original pyrotechnic actuator. The latching solenoid could puncture up to 200 cylinders before it needed to be replaced. In addition, the actuator could be operated either electrically or mechanically and the increased shelf life of 15 years reduced the required maintenance on the device. The latching solenoid by TLX could be used to replace both pyrotechnic and mechanical actuated systems used to pierce the sealing disc of pneumatic cylinders.
This latching solenoid works at a lower current, has higher latching forces and is lower in cost than traditional solutions. Based on the cylinder being acted upon, strokes, latching force and port size/locations could be adjusted as needed.