Fire Protection for a Major Online Retail Investment
06.12.2022 - One of the UK’s best-known supermarket chains has chosen Patol and Securiton aspirating smoke detection (ASD) to protect a significant investment in expanding the retailer’s online offering.
Fulfillment centers are the latest development designed to help revolutionize online operations as the retailer seeks to meet huge growth in internet-based sales. The pandemic contributed to a sales increase of almost 60 % in the run-up to Christmas 2021 compared to 2019.
Against this backdrop and with a general upturn in online grocery shopping, the supermarket has embarked on a program to develop a number of facilities throughout the UK, with dedicated automatic picking areas completely separate to the customer areas introduced in its larger stores where excess space is available. Protecting these facilities from the threat of fire is of paramount importance. Alarmtec, a supplier of fire alarm systems for over 40 years, approached Patol, a company that has specialized in the design, manufacture, and supply of fire safety products and services for more than 50 years.
Aspirating Smoke Detectors and Linear Heat Detection Cable for Chillers and Freezers
Alarmtec had employed ASD in a large warehouse project and recognized the potential it offered in meeting the needs of the fulfilment centers. Alarmtec and Patol worked together, along with the retailer’s own dedicated engineering department, to design and develop a turnkey solution. The first store was in West Bromwich and a template was created for the fire alarm system to protect the center. Patol’s ASD was chosen to provide early warning of fire, with the pipework installed throughout the ceiling voids and racking areas. The detectors are located to allow easy access for maintenance which would have proved difficult with conventional point detectors. The early warning provided by ASD also proved a significant advantage given the increased fire load represented by the electrical motors which drive the automated conveyors at the heart of the picking area. The ASD is supported by Patol’s digital LHDC (Linear Heat Detection Cable) which monitors the chillers and freezers.
The air sampling pipework and detectors provide dedicated protection of the West Bromwich fulfilment center area, networked to the store’s existing fire control panel and sprinkler system. The success of the West Bromwich facility provided the blueprint to roll-out the solution to other stores.
Jeff Hickling is Head of Installation at Alarmtec and comments, “we recognized that ASD provided the ideal solution to meet the challenges of the project, with its ability to identify a potential fire at the earliest possible point. Patol’s technology provides the performance we were looking for, backed by an excellent level of service.” The fulfilment centers are designed to allow faster picking and quicker deliveries, adding to an extensive network of distribution facilities and in-store picking. It will expand the company’s online capacity, providing customers with more home delivery slots, as well as reducing congestion on shop floors.
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