Data centres and server rooms present particular challenges when it comes to installing a fire fighting system. In order to protect the expensive computer hardware and most importantly the valuable, non-recoverable data, highly specialised solutions are called for. Other factors also remain important, for example the reliable protection of human life; the impact on the climate and environment; the protection of physical assets and trouble-free, unfailing operation. It is for all of these reasons that Zurich Airport relies on the Inergen plus fire extinguishing system to protect the data centres at its head office in Naefels.
Award Winning Airport
Zurich airport is situated thirteen kilometres north of Zurich city centre in the district of Kloten and extends to four further districts. Approximately 1,500 people are employed by Flughafen Zurich AG, the owner and operator of the international airport at Zurich. In addition, more than 270 partner organisations, employing 25,000 staff, help to ensure that the airport runs smoothly. Within the airport travellers have a large selection of shops and restaurants available to them and the airport also has excellent connections to the Swiss transport system and is within convenient reach of train, bus, tram, and road networks. As a result Zurich is the largest airport in Switzerland and one of the most popular international distribution hubs.
Not only does Zurich Airport stand out because of its scale, it also has an outstanding international reputation. In 2009 it was voted the best airport in Europe in a survey of over eight million travellers and even came fourth in a worldwide survey. The airport has also received the "World Travel Award" in the category "Leading Airport in Europe" for seven consecutive years.
With such a large infrastructure and formidable reputation to maintain it was essential for Zurich Airport to protect its data centres with a state-of-the-art fire fighting system.
Highly Effective Fire Extinguishing System
To thoroughly protect the business critical data in the airport's three server rooms the specialists at Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions chose to install the Inergen plus fire fighting system.
A total of 38 extinguisher canisters are located on site in easily accessible places. The highly effective gaseous system works on the principle of replacing oxygen in the atmosphere with the agent Inergen - a mix of the naturally occurring inert gases nitrogen, argon and carbon dioxide. Inergen extinguishes fire by reducing the oxygen level in a room to 12.5 %, at which point most combustibles will no longer burn, while increasing the carbon dioxide content to between 2 and 4 %. The increase in the carbon dioxide content stimulates the uptake of oxygen by the human body so protecting anyone who might be trapped, unconscious or injured, from the effects of the lowered oxygen levels.
At the heart of the Inergen plus system is a tried and tested pressure regulating technology that offers a number of advantages. Inergen is stored in the extinguisher canisters at 300 bar, in order to reduce the high pressure when activated pressure control valves adjust the initial pressure which can be set to either to 24, 42 or a maximum of 60 bar, to match that required by the pipe network. The extinguishing gas can then flow out at a constant rate and pressure. As a result the pipe diameter, material thickness and the pressure relieving surfaces can be sized more economically.
The Inergen plus extinguishing agent has a number of other field-proven benefits; the gas extinguishes the fire without leaving a residue or any corrosive by-products that could damage equipment in the server rooms, it does no harm to the environment, and it does not pose any risk to people present. Inergen does not produce fog when the gas is released ensuring that in an emergency escape routes are not obscured.
In summary, Inergen's many features that help to protect people, property and the environment proved to be a compelling combination for Zurich Airport.
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Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions AG
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