In the fire industry, standards across the world are constantly updated and changed. It is Apollo’s duty, as leading fire detection manufacturers, to adapt to these revised standards and develop smart devices that keep people safe from fire, every second of every day.

Soteria UL range of detectors

In response to the UL 268 7th edition update, Apollo has developed the new Soteria UL range of detectors, culminating in over 30,000 hours in research and development, 186 hours in UL fire labs, 201 UL test fires and 49 ULC test fires.

Intersec will host the introduction of the Soteria UL range, where Apollo is exhibiting in Hall 4 on stand F10

The mandatory compliance date has been pushed back to June 30th 2021, however this doesn’t mean Apollo is slowing down. Quite on the contrary, Apollo is moving full steam ahead and fully dedicated to providing an innovative solution with the new Soteria UL family of products. Obsolescence of the XP95A, Discovery UL and Series 65A ranges has also been delayed, meaning these ranges will still be available until June 29th 2021. Intersec will host the introduction of the Soteria UL range, where Apollo is exhibiting in Hall 4 on stand F10.

What is UL 268 7th edition?

  • This is the most significant change for smoke detectors in the last 20 years
  • The new standard comes into force on 30th June 2021
  • It is designed to reduce false alarms in cooking environments
  • And to better detect smoke from polyurethane foam – including smoldering and flaming fires

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a developer of safety standards, and on 30th June 2021, significant new smoke alarm and detector standards come into force. The new UL 268 7th edition standards have been designed to reduce false alarms (or nuisance alarms) and detect different smoke characteristics.

Photoelectric and multi-criteria smoke detectors

The new UL smoke detector standard for photoelectric and multi-criteria smoke detectors updates the 6th edition of UL 268, which has been in effect for the last decade. There are more than 250 updates to the standard as part of the 7th edition, culminating in the addition of three new tests, including two new test fires. The new tests are:

  • UL 268 Clause 41.1.5: Cooking Nuisance Smoke Test
  • UL 268 41.1.5: Smoldering Polyurethane Foam Test
  • UL 268 41.1.5: Flaming Polyurethane Foam Test

The updates to the standard and the resulting new detectors are perhaps the most significant technological change the industry has seen in recent times.

Why has the UL standard changed?

Flaming and smoldering polyurethane tests were added to ensure the smoke detectors perform quickly

The new flaming and smoldering polyurethane tests were added to ensure that newly-manufactured smoke detectors perform quickly when installed in environments where modern, synthetic materials, such as polyurethane foam are used, for example in sofas, pillows and beds. The tests address the concern that modern materials generally burn much hotter and faster and create more toxic fumes than the natural materials that they have replaced.

Smoke detectors achieving the 7th edition of UL 268 will be required to demonstrate greater sensitivity to the smoke produced by polyurethane fires, so that they respond more quickly and provide people with as much time as possible to evacuate a home or building in the event of a fire.

Countering nuisance and false alarms

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cites that nuisance alarms are the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms. When cooking, people tend to get frustrated with false alarms, (the excessive smoke triggering the sensors) and unfortunately, disable the smoke alarm, rendering it useless in the event of a real fire; these actions have caused a high number of fire-related deaths.

To a sensor, cooking smoke and fire smoke look incredibly similar. Advanced sensors or multiple sensors are needed to distinguish between a smoldering fire and cooking smoke. This evolution of technology is paramount in being able to detect variations in smoke color, particle size, concentration and quantity. These attributes are essential in identifying what type of smoke is present.

Smoldering and flaming polyurethane tests

The UL research team reviewed the work done by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and developed new test requirements for cooking environments. Exhaustive trials were undertaken to establish the new smoldering and flaming polyurethane tests. Residential evacuation studies reported by the National Fire Protection Research Foundation (NFPRF) and NIST were the bases around the pass/fail conditions for the tests.

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