Siemens Fire Protection System for Switzerland’s Feldschlösschen Brewery
Linear Smoke Detectors Safeguarding Kettles
Brewing beer is an energy-intensive business – and the risk of fire is correspondingly high. To ensure the availability of its production facilities, the Feldschlösschen company of Switzerland selected a fire safety solution from Siemens Building Technologies. The Sinteso fire protection system ensures point-precise fire detection and real-time alarms with high immunity to deception.
With its 1,200 employees, Feldschlösschen is the leading brewery and the largest beverage wholesaler in Switzerland. Its headquarters, located in Rheinfelden in the Canton of Aargau, is one of the most beautiful breweries in the world. Founded in 1876, the neo-gothic castle-like complex comprises a dozen buildings that were built over time to accommodate increasing production. The Feldschlösschen brand of beer has a long tradition in Switzerland. The production environment in the historic brewery makes fire protection extremely complex. Heat, smoke and dust occur in the large halls with ceiling heights of 5 to 7 meters, requiring fire detection systems with special, application-specific detectors. “Of all the risks here in the brewery, fire is the greatest. Preventing fires is our top priority, not only to protect our employees and infrastructure, but also to avoid interruptions to operations,” states brew master Bruno Born. And with a nod to tradition, he adds: “This place existed before we were born, so preserving it is our greatest obligation – for today, tomorrow and the next 140 years.”
Detection techniques that deliver good results in standard environments such as offices and hotels would not be appropriate in the rough conditions at the Feldschlösschen brewery. The complexity involved in modernizing the fire protection system led the beverage manufacturer to Siemens again. First, the fire safety concept was revised to accommodate the new technology. All the stakeholders – the installer, the brewery’s own fire department, a fire expert, the insurance company and Siemens – sat down together to analyze and plan.
Powerful Peripheral Network
Because of the heterogeneous production environment, Siemens proposed a network of Sinteso control panels.
They offer comprehensive networking functionality and have a modular, flexible system architecture. The local units can be expanded endlessly, making future expansions to the Rheinfelden production facility easy to integrate. Today, not only is the brewery tied into the system architecture, but also an associated vintage car museum with valuable vehicles and a horse stable.
At the field level, the fire protection system uses powerful Sinteso detectors. But even the latest generation of fire detectors is only as efficient as the communication network that ties the periphery to the main control panel. Should dust accumulate during receiving, storage and grinding of the Feldschlösschen malt and – in spite of all the precautionary measures – an explosion erupt, the FD net peripheral network especially developed for the Sinteso fire detectors guarantees high transmission reliability and fast communication with the fire control panel.
It is simultaneously connected to the brewery’s own fire department as well as the command and control center of the Rheinfelden fire department. Siemens automatic gas extinguishing systems protect operational assets. The Feldschlösschen fire detectors needed to be sufficiently sensitive to a broad range of possible fires, a fact that was given due consideration in the selection process. Even powerful point detectors can detect a fire only if the particles to be analyzed reach the sensors in sufficient quantities. With above-average ceiling heights, this isn’t necessarily a given. Furthermore, maintaining the detectors is more difficult in such an environment. Aspirating smoke detectors could have been the solution, but they were not the right visual fit for the historic Feldschlösschen building. For this reason, multiple linear smoke detectors were installed above the massive copper kettles in the brewing house, which dates back to 1909. Linear detectors work using the extinction principle. They send infrared light to a reflector, even over long distances. The reflector returns the light and a sensor monitors the beam of light for smoke particles.
Smoke, dust, steam, heat, temperature fluctuations: fire detectors are confronted with many disturbances in an industrial production environment. A false alarm, however, has serious consequences: the fire department is alerted automatically, and everyone in the building must be evacuated. Fire control devices interrupt production, turn machines off and stop elevators at defined locations.
To reliably exclude deceptive phenomena, Siemens has developed special solutions for the specific behavior requirements of the detectors. Thousands of reproducible fire experiments and tests with disturbance variables are the basis for the patented ASA technology (Advanced Signal Analysis). It enables reliable, deception-proof fire detection even under the most difficult conditions. With the help of algorithms, the Sinteso S-Line detectors break down the signals captured by the sensors into mathematical components and compare them with programmed specifications. The detectors then supply the corresponding danger signals.
Besides offering reliable detection of disturbances, ASA technology also features real-time situation assessment. The selected ASA parameter set is dynamically adapted so the detector responds more sensitively to fire, and in the case of deceptive phenomena, is more robust. The result is precise fire detection with high immunity to false alarms.