Monitoring of high-voltage areas with Aspirating Smoke Detectors
Fires in high and low-voltage switchgear, transformer substations, and substations are not only a potential threat to smooth operation but also pose significant risks to human health and the environment. In addition to the immediate consequences of a power outage, fires in transformers and insulation materials can release highly toxic gases and environmentally damaging waste products. But how can these dangers be detected early, and measures taken to prevent them? This is where the Aspirating Smoke Detector (ASD) system comes into play.
Fire hazards in high-voltage areas
Fires in electrical switchgear can occur in various ways. Overheating of equipment components, electrical arcs during switching operations, and leakage currents are just some of the operational causes of fires. Furthermore, human error, such as welding operations or careless disposal of smoking materials, can also trigger fires. The consequences can be devastating, especially when they occur in high-voltage areas.
Aspirating Smoke Detectors: A Solution with Many Benefits
The Aspirating Smoke Detection (ASD) system proves to be an extremely efficient means of early fire detection in electrical switchgear, substations, and transformer stations. The advantages are evident:
1. Non-conductive material for sampling pipes: The sampling pipes of the ASD are made from non-conductive materials such as PVC or halogen-free PP. This allows them to be safely routed through high-voltage areas without the risk of electrical arcing.
2. Easily accessible control unit: The evaluation unit of the aspirating smoke detection system is installed in a secure area, ideally outside the high-voltage room. This enables straightforward functional checks and maintenance without the need to shut down the high-voltage equipment.
3. Excellent detection properties: Depending on the configuration, aspirating smoke detectors serve as an early warning system with multi-stage detection, minimizing the risk of false alarms.
4. Standardized installation guidelines: The maximum distance from an aspirating point to the evaluation unit is 120 meters, and up to 50 aspirating points can be connected to a single ASD. This translates to a sixfold monitoring area compared to conventional spot detectors.
The Optimal Solution for Monitoring High-Voltage Areas
Fire monitoring in high-voltage areas requires special attention during installation and, most importantly, during inspection and maintenance. Access to such areas is highly regulated in everyday operations, and strict safety measures must be adhered to. Aspirating smoke detectors are the optimal solution for early fire detection in these areas, offering numerous advantages:
- No shutdown of high-voltage areas is required, minimizing operational disruptions.
- Access to high-voltage rooms does not involve complex handling or special access requirements.
- Since the evaluation unit is installed outside the high-voltage areas, the system can be reliably accessed and maintained.
- The use of aspirating smoke detectors contributes to optimizing maintenance costs.
It is important to mention that monitoring using point-type fire detectors near high-voltage areas may not always be implementable without risks. While the use of insulated telescopic poles with an insulation resistance of 30 kV is one option, the possibility of electrical arcing can never be completely eliminated when combined with partially metallic tools or test gas cans. Safety takes precedence here.
In summary, aspirating smoke detectors (ASD) offer an effective and secure solution for early fire detection in high-voltage areas. They enable reliable monitoring without operational interruptions and minimize the risk of hazardous situations. The protection of people, equipment, and the environment is paramount, and ASD systems play a crucial role in achieving this goal.
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Header Image: Adobe Stock/ Jose Luis Stephens