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Actuators Provide Additional System Intelligence

July 29, 2016

Protection of life and property has always been the primary purpose of fire suppression systems developed by manufacturers globally. While configuration of these systems can differ based on the system components, the extinguishing agent and the environment in which the system is used, the objective remains the same.

One of the key components in a fire suppression system is the releasing device that mechanically initiates the discharge of the extinguishing agent that will combat the fire. Many systems utilize an electric actuator as the system’s releasing device. Two common forms of this electric actuator are a latching solenoid actuator and a direct-acting solenoid. The releasing device is attached to the discharge valve on the cylinder storing the suppressant and is electrically connected to the fire alarm control panel. Once the actuator or solenoid receives an electrical signal, it will deploy, causing the release valve to dispense the extinguishing agent into the system.

Fire suppression systems are highly effective for extinguishing fires but are also open to potential failures due to human error during installation, routine maintenance or functional testing of the system’s releasing devices. If an actuator is not properly installed onto the discharge valve, it will not operate correctly to dispense the extinguishing agent, resulting in a system failure. Without an installation supervisory signal between the releasing device and fire panel there is no indication of proper installation leaving the responsibility of accurate installment solely on the technician who removed the actuator for maintenance or testing purposes. Industry regulators quickly recognized that adding supervisory requirements to the releasing device would provide for the necessary alarm (both visually and audibly) to alert the technician on whether the actuator was correctly installed and in the right position for proper system functionality.

TLX Technologies is excited to introduce our next generation of supervised fire suppression actuators at the 2016 NFPA Expo in Las Vegas this month. TLX’s supervised latching solenoid actuator as well as our newly developed pneumatic actuator and supervised direct-acting solenoid for fire suppression systems will be showcased.

Supervised Latching Solenoid Actuator
Supervised latching solenoid actuator with factory-wired leads

All of the releasing devices developed by TLX Technologies for fire suppression systems meet required UL and NFPA wiring codes and standards. An internal supervisory mechanism has been designed into each actuator to ensure that it is properly installed on the appropriate discharge valve of the extinguishing agent storage container. Integration of the supervision mechanism in our actuators eliminates the need for additional components, connections and wire paths; resulting in a streamlined, NFPA-compliant solution.

Both the supervised latching solenoid actuator and the direct-acting solenoid come standard with six wires. Two wires are used for activation and four are used for supervision of both the releasing device’s proper placement as well as electric connection to the fire panel. The pneumatic actuator is also available with the integrated supervision option providing peace of mind that all actuating devices on the suppression system are supervised for correct installation and connection. Factory-wired leads fed through an integrated conduit port in the housing are on every TLX developed actuator to meet the UL and NFPA wire codes required on all fire suppression actuators. Choosing a TLX actuating device for your fire-suppression system ensures a faster, more durable, reusable solution—expertly tailored to your exact needs. Each device rotates for easy installation on fixed systems and can be custom configured for your specific system requirements. All of our fire suppression actuators are designed for compliance to UL, FM, CE, PCB and VDE.

For over 15 years, TLX Technologies has worked with system manufacturers to develop and manufacture custom actuators and valves to meet the challenging demands of active fire suppression systems.

This article was originally published by International Fire Protection in June 2016

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