(19)
(11)EP 2 919 863 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
18.03.2020 Bulletin 2020/12

(21)Application number: 12795487.3

(22)Date of filing:  13.11.2012
(51)Int. Cl.: 
A62C 35/62  (2006.01)
G08B 17/06  (2006.01)
A62C 35/68  (2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/FI2012/051103
(87)International publication number:
WO 2014/076348 (22.05.2014 Gazette  2014/21)

(54)

TEMPERATURE DERIVATIVE BASED LAUNCH METHOD FOR FIRE SUPPRESSION SYSTEMS

AUF TEMPERATURDERIVATEN BASIERENDES VERFAHREN ZUM STARTEN VON FEUERUNTERDRÜCKUNGSSYSTEMEN

PROCÉDÉ D'EXCITATION BASÉ SUR UN DÉRIVÉ DE TEMPÉRATURE POUR SYSTÈMES D'EXTINCTION D'INCENDIE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.09.2015 Bulletin 2015/39

(73)Proprietor: Marioff Corporation Oy
01300 Vantaa (FI)

(72)Inventor:
  • NIKKARILA, Juha-Pekka
    11311 Riihimäki (FI)

(74)Representative: Dehns 
St. Bride's House 10 Salisbury Square
London EC4Y 8JD
London EC4Y 8JD (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 0 443 240
US-A- 4 428 434
GB-A- 2 262 444
US-A1- 2007 221 388
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The invention relates generally to fire suppression systems and, more particularly, to the detection of the location of a fire by a fire suppression system.

    [0002] Conventional fire suppression systems typically include sprinklers or nozzles positioned strategically within an area where fire protection is desired, such as inside a building. The sprinklers remain inactive most of the time. In some fire suppression systems, such as dry pipe systems, methods of detecting a fire may be based on the air flow or rate of change in pressure in the system. In other systems, a fire may be detected using flame or smoke detection, or alternatively, the sprinklers may detect a fire and activate as a direct result of the heat.

    [0003] Fire suppression systems that activate in response to air flow are quick to activate, however, these systems are unreliable and frequently generate false alarms. Fire suppression systems responsive to the rate of change of a pressure within the system are quick to activate, but have problems with measurement reliability due to the high pressure in the system. Conventional fire suppression systems fail to quickly and accurately detect the location of a fire. As a result, systems are over-designed to combat larger fires to compensate for the slowness and inaccuracy of the system. Such over-designing adds significant cost to the system because additional components and more costly components, such as larger diameter pipe for example, are included in the system.
    GB2262444 discloses apparatus for controlling fires in an aircraft cargo bay using short duration water bursts to control a fire until the aircraft lands.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0004] According to one aspect, the invention provides a dry-pipe fire suppression system comprising: at least one spray head; a drive source coupled to the at least one spray head by a supply line that delivers an extinguishing medium thereto; a plurality of temperature indicators for measuring a surrounding temperature, the temperature indicators disposed within a portion of the supply line between a control valve and the spray head; and a control unit operably coupled to the drive source and the plurality of temperature indicators, wherein the control unit monitors a rate of change of the temperature measured by each of the plurality of temperature indicators to determine a location of a fire.

    [0005] According to a second aspect, the invention provides a method of activating a dry-pipe fire suppression system having a plurality of temperature indicators positioned within a portion of a supply line between a control valve and a spray head, the method comprising: measuring a surrounding temperature at each of the plurality of temperature indicators; calculating a change in temperature at each of the plurality of temperature indicators over time; determining a location of a fire based on a rate of temperature change of each of the plurality of temperature indicators; and activating the fire suppression system.

    [0006] These and other advantages and features will become more apparent from the following description taken in conjunction with the drawings.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] The subject matter, which is regarded as the invention, is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of the specification. The foregoing and other features, and advantages of the invention are apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

    FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a fire suppression system according to an embodiment of the invention; and

    FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of another fire suppression system according to an embodiment of the invention.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



    [0008] Referring now to FIG. 1, an exemplary fire suppression system 10 including a drive source 20 and a plurality of spray heads 40 is illustrated. In one embodiment, the spray heads 40 include nozzles with small openings arranged to spray an aqueous liquid mist. The spray heads 40 of the fire suppression system 10 may be positioned in the same general area of a building as the drive source 20, or alternatively, may be separated from the drive source 20 by a barrier, such as a wall for example. A supply line 15 extends from the drive source 20 to the plurality of spray heads 40 to supply an extinguishing medium thereto. In one embodiment, the extinguishing medium used in the system 10 is water. The drive source 20 may include a pump and a motor for operating the pump and is connected to an extinguishing medium source 25, such as a pipeline network or a tank. A control unit 50 is operably coupled to the drive source 20 to activate the drive source 20 when a fire has been detected.

    [0009] The supply line 15, including branch supply lines 15a and 15b leading to the spray heads 40, may be filled with a gas, for example an incombustible gas such as nitrogen or air. The gas prevents the supply line 15 and the branch supply lines 15a, 15b from freezing. Instead of filling the entire supply line 15 including the branch supply lines 15a and 15b with gas, it is possible to fill only the portion of the supply line 15 closest to the spray heads 40. In such instances, the end of the supply line 15 adjacent the drive source 20 includes a liquid. The portion of the supply line 15 that includes a gas is separated from the portion of the supply line 15 having a liquid by a control valve 17 to prevent mixing of the gas and the liquid. The control valve 17 may be a solenoid control valve, a pilot valve, or any other type of valve having a control mechanism for opening the valve. The control valve 17 may be located at any position along supply line 15 between the drive source 20 and the spray heads 40. The control valve 17 is operably coupled to the control unit 50, such that when the drive source 20 is active, the control unit 50 opens the control valve 17 to allow extinguishing medium to flow to the spray heads 40.

    [0010] As illustrated, the system 10 may include a gas compressor 30 connected to the supply line 15 by an output pipe 37. The gas compressor 30 is used to initially fill the supply line 15 and to refill the supply line to a desired pressure when necessary. The gas compressor 30 is also used to maintain a standby pressure in the supply line 15 when the drive source 20 is inoperative. If the standby pressure decreases with time to a level below a predetermined threshold, such as due to leaks in the system 10 for example, the gas compressor 30 increases the pressure by refilling the supply line 15. The fire suppression system 10 may also include one or more fire sensors 45, located in the vicinity of the spray heads 40 to detect a fire condition. Exemplary fire sensors 45 include smoke detectors, temperature sensors, infrared or other light detectors which are used to sense a fire condition and generate an electrical signal indicative thereof. Such signals are transmitted to the control unit 50 to activate the fire suppression system 10. The above described fire suppression system 10 is exemplary and other fire suppression systems are within the scope of this invention.

    [0011] The fire suppression system 10 includes a plurality of temperature indicators. Exemplary temperature indicators 60 include thermocouples and other temperature sensors. In dry pipe fire suppression systems, the temperature indicators 60 are disposed within a portion of the supply line 15 between the control valve 17 and the spray heads 40. In one embodiment, the temperature indicators 60 are positioned in the branch supply lines 15a, 15b adjacent each of the spray heads 40. In another embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 2, the one or more temperature indicators 60 may be used to measure the ambient temperature adjacent the exterior of the spray heads 40. Each temperature indicator 60 may be located in the vicinity of a spray head 40 outside of the supply line 15 or alternately, may be mounted to a portion of each spray head 40. In embodiments where the temperature indicators 60 are located external to the supply line 15, the fire suppression system 10 may be either a dry pipe or a wet pipe system.

    [0012] The temperature indicators 60 may continuously measure, or alternately, may sample at intervals the surrounding temperature. The temperatures measured by each of the temperature indicators 60 are communicated to the control unit 50, where they are monitored over time to determine the rate of change of the temperature at each device 60. In embodiments where the temperature indicators 60 are located in the supply line 15, a rate of temperature change greater than a predetermined threshold indicates that an adjacent spray head is open. Thus, the temperature indicator 60 measuring the fastest change in temperature over time identifies which spray heads 40 in the system are open, and therefore the general location of a fire. In embodiments where the temperature indicators 60 are attached to or adjacent the exterior of the spray heads 40, a temperature indicator 60 having a rate of change greater than a predetermined threshold indicates the presence of a fire near that temperature indicator 60.

    [0013] In embodiments where the temperature indicators 60 are disposed within the supply line 15, the rate of temperature change measured at each device 60 may also be used to detect and identify the location of a gas leak. In addition, the fire suppression system 10 can easily identify and generate an alarm to indicate that a temperature indicator 60 has malfunctioned. If the control unit 50 does not receive a signal from a temperature indicator 60 but does receive signals from the surrounding temperature indicators 60, the system 10 can determine that the temperature indicator 60 not providing a signal to the control unit 50 has failed.

    [0014] When the fire suppression system 10 is in a "detection mode," the drive source 20 is inactive, but the temperature indicators 60 are actively measuring the surrounding temperature. If the control unit 50 determines that the rate of temperature change at any of the temperature indicators 60 is greater than a predetermined threshold, the control unit 50 will identify those temperature indicators 60 as the location of a fire. The control unit 50 will activate the drive source 20 and open the control valve 17 so that extinguishing medium may be supplied to the open spray heads 40.

    [0015] In another embodiment, during a normal detection mode, both the drive source and the temperature indicators 60 are inactive; only the fire sensors 45 are operative. When one of the fire sensors 45 detects the presence of a fire, the fire sensor 45 sends a signal to the control unit 50. The fire sensors 45 act as a general alarm, indicating to the fire suppression system 10 a need to determine the location of the fire. In response to the signal from the fire sensor 45, the control unit 50 starts the drive source 20 and activates the temperature indicators 60 connected to the fire suppression system 10. The control unit 50 will monitor the change in temperature over time measured by each temperature indicator 60. If the control unit 50 determines that the rate of temperature change at any of the temperature indicators 60 is above a predetermined threshold, the control unit 50 will identify those temperature indicators 60 as adjacent the general location of a fire. Alternatively, the control unit 50 may identify the temperature indicators 60 having the greatest rate of temperature change as adjacent the general location of the fire. The control unit 50 will activate the drive source 20 and open the control valve 17 so that extinguishing medium may be supplied to the open spray heads 40.

    [0016] A fire suppression system 10 responsive to a temperature rate of change or temperature derivative will more efficiently and accurately determine the location of a fire. By quickly providing exact information to a building owner about the location of a fire, it may be possible to manually combat the fire at an earlier stage. The system 10 may also be capable of manually or automatically sharing the fire location information with an external group responsive to fire alarms, such as a nearby fire department for example. In addition, the improved fire detection accuracy allows the system to be more appropriately dimensioned for a space, such that additional components, and therefore cost, may be removed from the system 10.

    [0017] While the invention has been described in detail in connection with only a limited number of embodiments, it should be readily understood that the invention is not limited to such disclosed embodiments. Rather, the invention can be modified to incorporate any number of variations, alterations, substitutions or equivalent arrangements not heretofore described, but which are commensurate with the scope of the invention. Additionally, while various embodiments of the invention have been described, it is to be understood that aspects of the invention may include only some of the described embodiments. Accordingly, the invention is not to be seen as limited by the foregoing description, but is only limited by the scope of the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A dry-pipe fire suppression system (10) comprising:

    at least one spray head (40);

    a drive source (20) coupled to the at least one spray head by a supply line (15, 15a, 15b) that delivers an extinguishing medium thereto;

    a plurality of temperature indicators (60) for measuring a surrounding temperature, the temperature indicators disposed within a portion of the supply line between a control valve (17) and the spray head (40); and

    a control unit (50) operably coupled to the drive source and the plurality of temperature indicators, wherein the control unit monitors a rate of change of the temperature measured by each of the plurality of temperature indicators to determine a location of a fire.


     
    2. The fire suppression system according to claim 1, wherein the control unit identifies which temperature indicators have a highest rate of temperature change to determine the location of the fire.
     
    3. The fire suppression system according to claim 1, wherein the control unit identifies which temperature indicators have a rate of temperature change above a predetermined threshold to determine the location of the fire.
     
    4. The fire suppression system according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of temperature indicators are disposed within the supply line adjacent the at least one spray head.
     
    5. The fire suppression system according to claim 4, wherein the control valve (17) is connected to the supply line between the drive source and the at least one spray head, wherein a portion of the supply line extending from the control valve to the at least one spray head is filled with a gas.
     
    6. The fire suppression system according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of temperature indicators measure an ambient temperature adjacent the at least one spray head.
     
    7. The fire suppression system according to claim 6, wherein the plurality of temperature indicators are mounted to a portion of the at least one spray head.
     
    8. The fire suppression system according to claim 1, further comprising:
    a plurality of fire sensors (45) operably coupled to the control unit, wherein activation of one of the plurality of fire sensors provides a general alarm to the fire suppression system.
     
    9. The fire suppression system according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of temperature indicators are thermocouples.
     
    10. A method of activating a dry-pipe fire suppression system (10) having a plurality of temperature indicators (60) positioned within a portion of a supply line (15, 15a, 15b) between a control valve (17) and a spray head (40), the method comprising:

    measuring a surrounding temperature at each of the plurality of temperature indicators;

    calculating a change in temperature at each of the plurality of temperature indicators over time;

    determining a location of a fire based on a rate of temperature change of each of the plurality of temperature indicators; and

    activating the fire suppression system.


     
    11. The method according to claim 10, wherein a control unit operably coupled to the plurality of temperature indicators calculates the change in temperature at each of the plurality of temperature indicators over time.
     
    12. The method according to claim 10, wherein the temperature indicators having a rate of temperature change greater than a predetermined threshold indicate the location of the fire.
     
    13. The method according to claim 10, wherein the temperature indicators having a fastest rate of temperature change indicate the location of the fire.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Trocken-Feuerunterdrückungssystem (10), umfassend:

    mindestens einen Sprinklerkopf (40);

    eine Antriebsquelle (20), die mit dem mindestens einen Sprinklerkopf durch eine Versorgungsleitung (15, 15a, 15b), welche diesem ein Löschmedium liefert, gekoppelt ist;

    eine Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern (60) zum Messen einer Umgebungstemperatur, wobei die Temperaturanzeiger in einem Abschnitt der Versorgungsleitung zwischen einem Steuerventil (17) und dem Sprinklerkopf (40) angeordnet sind; und

    eine Steuereinheit (50), die funktionsfähig mit der Antriebsquelle und der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern gekoppelt ist, wobei die Steuereinheit eine Temperaturänderungsrate überwacht, die von jedem der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern gemessen wird, um eine Position eines Feuers zu bestimmen.


     
    2. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Steuereinheit identifiziert, welche Temperaturanzeiger die höchste Temperaturänderungsrate aufweisen, um die Position des Feuers zu bestimmen.
     
    3. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Steuereinheit identifiziert, welche Temperaturanzeiger eine Temperaturänderungsrate über einem vorbestimmten Schwellenwert aufweisen, um die Position des Feuers zu bestimmen.
     
    4. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern in der Versorgungsleitung neben dem mindestens einen Sprinklerkopf angeordnet ist.
     
    5. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 4, wobei das Steuerventil (17) mit der Versorgungsleitung zwischen der Antriebsquelle und dem mindestens einen Sprinklerkopf verbunden ist, wobei ein Abschnitt der Versorgungsleitung, der sich von dem Steuerventil zu dem mindestens einen Sprinklerkopf erstreckt, mit einem Gas gefüllt ist.
     
    6. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei die Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern eine Umgebungstemperatur neben dem mindestens einen Sprinklerkopf misst.
     
    7. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 6, wobei die Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern an einen Abschnitt des mindestens einen Sprinklerkopfs montiert ist.
     
    8. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend:
    eine Vielzahl von Feuersensoren (45), die funktionsfähig an die Steuereinheit gekoppelt ist, wobei die Aktivierung eines der Vielzahl von Feuersensoren dem Feuerunterdrückungssystem einen Generalalarm bereitstellt.
     
    9. Feuerunterdrückungssystem nach Anspruch 1, wobei es sich bei der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern um Thermoelemente handelt.
     
    10. Verfahren zum Aktivieren eines Trocken-Feuerunterdrückungssystems (10) mit einer Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern (60), die in einem Abschnitt einer Versorgungsleitung (15, 15a, 15b) zwischen einem Steuerventil (17) und einem Sprinklerkopf (40) positioniert ist, wobei das Verfahren Folgendes umfasst:

    Messen einer Umgebungstemperatur an jedem der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern;

    Berechnen einer Temperaturänderung an jedem der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern im Laufe der Zeit;

    Bestimmen einer Position eines Feuers basierend auf einer Temperaturänderungsrate von jedem der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern; und

    Aktivieren des Feuerunterdrückungssystems.


     
    11. Verfahren nach Anspruch 10, wobei eine Steuereinheit, die funktionsfähig mit der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern gekoppelt ist, die Temperaturänderung an jedem der Vielzahl von Temperaturanzeigern im Laufe der Zeit berechnet.
     
    12. Verfahren nach Anspruch 10, wobei die Temperaturanzeiger, die eine Temperaturänderungsrate über einem vorbestimmten Schwellenwert aufweisen, die Position des Feuers anzeigen.
     
    13. Verfahren nach Anspruch 10, wobei die Temperaturanzeiger, die eine schnellste Temperaturänderungsrate aufweisen, die Position des Feuers anzeigen.
     


    Revendications

    1. Système d'extinction d'incendie à air comprimé (10) comprenant :

    au moins une tête de pulvérisation (40) ;

    une source d'entraînement (20) couplée à l'au moins une tête de pulvérisation par une conduite d'alimentation (15, 15a, 15b) qui y délivre un milieu d'extinction ;

    une pluralité d'indicateurs de température (60) pour mesurer une température ambiante, les indicateurs de température étant disposés à l'intérieur d'une partie de la conduite d'alimentation entre une soupape de commande (17) et la tête de pulvérisation (40) ; et

    une unité de commande (50) couplée fonctionnellement à la source d'entraînement et à la pluralité d'indicateurs de température, dans lequel l'unité de commande surveille une vitesse de changement de la température mesurée par chacun de la pluralité d'indicateurs de température pour déterminer un emplacement d'un incendie.


     
    2. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'unité de commande identifie les indicateurs de température qui ont la vitesse de changement de température la plus élevée pour déterminer l'emplacement de l'incendie.
     
    3. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 1, dans lequel l'unité de commande identifie les indicateurs de température qui ont une vitesse de changement de température supérieure à un seuil prédéterminé pour déterminer l'emplacement de l'incendie.
     
    4. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la pluralité d'indicateurs de température sont disposés à l'intérieur de la conduite d'alimentation adjacente à l'au moins une tête de pulvérisation.
     
    5. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 4, dans lequel la soupape de commande (17) est reliée à la conduite d'alimentation entre la source d'entraînement et l'au moins une tête de pulvérisation, dans lequel une partie de la conduite d'alimentation s'étendant de la soupape de commande à l'au moins une tête de pulvérisation est remplie d'un gaz.
     
    6. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la pluralité d'indicateurs de température mesurent une température ambiante adjacente à l'au moins une tête de pulvérisation.
     
    7. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 6, dans lequel la pluralité d'indicateurs de température sont montés sur une partie de l'au moins une tête de pulvérisation.
     
    8. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre :
    une pluralité de capteurs d'incendie (45) couplés fonctionnellement à l'unité de commande, dans lequel l'activation de l'un de la pluralité de capteurs d'incendie fournit une alarme générale au système d'extinction d'incendie.
     
    9. Système d'extinction d'incendie selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la pluralité d'indicateurs de température sont des thermocouples.
     
    10. Procédé d'activation d'un système d'extinction d'incendie à air comprimé (10) ayant une pluralité d'indicateurs de température (60) positionnés à l'intérieur d'une partie d'une conduite d'alimentation (15, 15a, 15b) entre une soupape de commande (17) et une tête de pulvérisation (40), le procédé comprenant :

    la mesure d'une température ambiante au niveau de chacun de la pluralité d'indicateurs de température ;

    le calcul d'un changement de température au niveau de chacun de la pluralité d'indicateurs de température dans le temps ;

    la détermination d'un emplacement d'un incendie sur la base d'une vitesse de changement de température de chacun de la pluralité d'indicateurs de température ; et

    l'activation du système d'extinction d'incendie.


     
    11. Procédé selon la revendication 10, dans lequel une unité de commande couplée fonctionnellement à la pluralité d'indicateurs de température calcule le changement de température au niveau de chacun de la pluralité d'indicateurs de température dans le temps.
     
    12. Procédé selon la revendication 10, dans lequel les indicateurs de température ayant une vitesse de changement de température supérieure à un seuil prédéterminé indiquent l'emplacement de l'incendie.
     
    13. Procédé selon la revendication 10, dans lequel les indicateurs de température ayant la vitesse de changement de température la plus rapide indiquent l'emplacement de l'incendie.
     




    Drawing









    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description