The installer of a new wireless fire detection system at the historic Chester Cathedral in northwest England has reaped praise on its manufacturer, Kentec Electronics.
Brad Parker, founder of Charles Thomas Heritage Fire Protection, was tasked with specifying and upgrading the wireless fire detection system previously installed in the Cathedral. The thick walls and lead-lined roofs and the other challenges that come with a building that can trace its roots back to 1093, meant his company had to think outside the box.
Following an extensive search, Kentec’s K-Mesh system was selected for the project as it uses self-healing and configuring Mesh technology to deliver optimum levels of reliability and performance.
A wireless translator module at the centre of the K-Mesh system is connected to the fire alarm control panel loop and communicates continuously with the wireless devices. Sensors are supplied in three variants: optical; thermal; and multi-criteria, with the optical and multi-criteria sensors featuring adaptive signal processing and double dust traps to prevent false alarms. Thermal detectors can respond to a fixed temperature threshold or detect a rate of rise in temperature. Wireless sounders, call points and testing kits are also available within the range.
K-Mesh has a seven-to-ten-year battery life, which is approximately twice that of the industry standard. The technology is also fully expandable, and configurable from anything from two to 2,000 devices so even the largest, most disparate and complex sites can now be protected wirelessly. Further capabilities include a communication range of up to 1,200 metres and immunity to hacking.
The size of Chester Cathedral meant the project required multiple expanders – a requirement that was accommodated by the K-Mesh system supporting up to 5 redundancy paths which connects to the strongest expander, creating the Mesh. Even dead spots within the cathedral are now able to communicate with the strongest radio signal expander within its area, so in case of an emergency, every corner of the building is covered.
Parker explains: “With the latest MESH technology, rather than one expander we can have three, four or even five redundancy paths and the signal connects itself automatically to the strongest expander to create the MESH.”
His colleague, operations manager, Byronn Alty, adds “We went to what we would believe would be the dead spots within the cathedral and low and behold the device started communicating with the strongest radio signal expander within its area. I would look at the drawings and thought it would communicate with expander one, and yet the device ends up linking to expander two.
“The cathedral has an outbuilding with an old bell tower so there needed to be a link between the two. This was an initial design challenge for us to think how we were going to get radio over there, but the new wireless MESH is just plug and play and it was just great to see it working.
“Even having used it only once, my confidence with installing, programming and commissioning is now on a high, and that tells you how easy it is to use.”