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Everbuild is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of sealants, adhesives and building chemicals, operating out of a 250,000 square foot facility in Leeds. The nature of Everbuild’s business means that its expansive manufacturing plant is home to several complex mixing areas involving dangerous and potentially explosive chemicals.

When the specialist company required an upgrade to its existing fire detection and alarm system, it was a challenging task that called for the experience of the country’s leading fire industry experts.

Gent by Honeywell Vigilon panel

The Everbuild warehouse had been fitted several years earlier with a Gent by Honeywell Vigilon panel

The Everbuild warehouse had been fitted several years earlier with a Gent by Honeywell Vigilon panel that provided coverage for the building’s office areas. The management at Everbuild took the decision to upgrade the existing system and requested a solution that would provide coverage for the entire site, including the main manufacturing and storage areas of the building.

Dan Ascough, Area Sales Manager, Gent by Honeywell, explained, “There were a number of different sections requiring coverage, from the storage bay areas in Bay 1 to 4, to the mixing areas in Bay 5 and units A and B (external to the main warehouse). The mixing sections are intrinsically safe areas and it became apparent that the best FDA solution for this type of environment would be an ASD system, to provide the required sensitivity levels and identify the possibility of a fire in its very early stages.

Site security

Gent by Honeywell worked closely alongside one of its network of approved systems integrators, Power Plus, an independent fire, electrical and security specialist based in West Yorkshire. Dan Ascough from Gent carried out the first survey on the Everbuild site and designed the solution to meet the specific requirements of the warehouse.

Ascough continued, “The initial site survey showed the warehouse to be a clean environment but it soon transpired that during the mixing process the environment changed completely and became thick with dust. The chemical powder that was being used was releasing clouds of tiny particles into the air and that was a critical issue that had to be addressed.

ASD system integrated with detectors

He adds, “It was a real challenge as in the intrinsically safe areas the fine particles of powder could potentially clogg up the air holes in the aspirating units, reducing the air flow. Another possible problem was the likelihood of the tiny particles getting through to the filter and interfering with the detector.

The solution Gent designed was an ASD system integrated with a special filter, and in the mixing areas several blow out valves were proposed - high pressure air hoses that connect to the pipes to blast any debris out of the holes.

Installation and maintenance

PowerPlus carried out the installation and mounting of the detectors at low level for easy maintenance

Power Plus carried out the installation and mounting of the detectors at low level for easy maintenance, and the pipework in the open roof space to protect the whole warehouse. The specialists at Power Plus will also carry out a quarterly maintenance inspection on the Everbuild premises to take air samples and assess the air flow.

Explaining the importance of these regular checks, Ascough said, “Maintenance is key to the success of an aspirating system on a site like this, as the air flow has to be consistently maintained. The recommendation is also that the blows out valves are used at least once a month due to the unique amount of debris expected to get into the system. Everything is set up on the premises to make the process simple - the compressor can be connected to the pipe, fired up to the required pressure, and then the air is quickly blown out the valve.

Gent ALL-SPEC2 systems

The ASD solution installed consists of 10 Gent ALL-SPEC2 systems. A single ALL-SPEC2 system is capable of replacing up to 64 point-type smoke detectors and a powerful fan means a pipe length of up to 560 m can be achieved from each one, fulfilling EN 54-20 Class A to C requirements.

The Gent range of ASD systems works by taking air samples from the monitored area and analysing them for the presence of smoke particles. The active sampling technology enables the identification of a possible fire in its very earliest stages from just one gram of material combustion. Other key features include LOGIC.SENS fire pattern recognition to enable a high degree of false alarm immunity, as well as a smoke level display in bar graph form and a broad range of accessories approved to EN54-20.

LOGIC.SENS fire pattern recognition

The systems provide coverage for a full variety of applications including the detection of extremely dilute concentrations of smoke and are frequently used in buildings requiring special fire detection, or for general detection in areas where normal point systems wouldn’t be suitable, for example in the ceiling voids of historic buildings or ducting where there is strong airflow.

Installing an ASD system in a warehouse is a very common application"

Ascough continued, “Installing an ASD system in a warehouse is a very common application, however, for this particular site it was more of a challenge as the environment completely changes when the mixing takes place. The air in the warehouse can be very harsh at times and this was important to fully understand so we could provide the right set up and pipework.

In-depth survey

He adds, “It underlines the importance of not only carrying out an in-depth survey, but also understanding the working processes of a specific building. This has been an on-going project for the last twelve months and we’ve worked extremely hard together with PowerPlus to provide the most effective, high quality protection for the Everbuild site and its staff.

Everbuild Building Products offer a comprehensive range of sealants, adhesives and building chemical products widely used across many constructions and associated industry sectors. This manufacturing plant is at the heart of the company’s infrastructure that has seen Everbuild grow into the UK’s leading chemical brand with sales in excess of £60 million and customers in over 70 countries.

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