Earlier this year, Johnson Controls partnered with a third-party consulting firm and research group to successfully test a new technology that could potentially save countless lives with early fire identification and intervention for rapid fire protection to the external facade of a building.

The standalone system was designed to quickly identify and accurately pinpoint the location of the fire and deliver water to that exact location within seconds. In addition, the system may use existing building fire protection infrastructure to minimise the need for additional water supplies, pipework and pumps. Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants (TBWIC) in cooperation with the Research Institute of Sweden (RISE) conducted a full-scale fire test program to assess the performance of this new SPRAYSAFE Autonomous Fire Suppression (AFS) technology, licensed by Unifire AB.

Small Target Fires

Testing occurred from January to March of 2018 at the TBWIC facility in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The purpose of the test was to validate the ability of the new SPRAYSAFE AFS technology to autonomously detect and locate an early-stage fire, distribute water to its location and prevent it from spreading on the exterior surface of a building with combustible facade materials.

The objective of the targeting tests was to verify that the system could automatically detect and accurately direct water spray at small target fires

Two tests were conducted – a targeting test series and a large-scale fire performance test -- using combustible fire cladding. The objective of the targeting tests was to verify that the system could automatically detect and accurately direct water spray at small target fires within the limits of the coverage area at both minimum and maximum operating pressures.

Prevent Fire Spread

The large-scale fire performance test was conducted to verify the system could adequately prevent fire spread on a simulated full-scale facade. Three different attack types were assessed – vertical downward, diagonal downward and horizontal. A free-burn test was also performed to verify the combustibility and response of the facade material without suppression.

The testing validated the new SPRAYSAFE AFS technology has the capability to rapidly and autonomously fight an early-stage fire anywhere within its coverage area. Additionally, the system also effectively contained flashover fires, prevented fires from spreading via the exterior of the facade surface and limited severe fire damage to the point of origin.

As buildings continue to reach new heights, the need for early fire detection and intervention of the facade is critically important,” said Fredrik Rosen, marketing manager, Thomas Bell-Wright International Consultants. “This revolutionary technology from Johnson Controls can quickly and effectively fight fires in high-rise buildings, which is a major challenge in today’s environment.”

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