An innovative revolution in the smoke detection market

Chicago, Il (USA)

Convergint, partnered with Edwards, is providing the latest smoke detector technology for commercial buildings. The primary goal of introducing the Edwards Signature Optica is to protect people and property, while avoiding nuisance alarms that waste vast amounts of resources.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2014 U.S. fire departments responded to nearly 2.5 million false alarms, which potentially cost municipalities hundreds of millions of dollars.

Over the last few decades, the dynamics of fire detection has changed significantly. There is a need for more sophisticated technology that can differentiate between life-threatening fires and overcooked food. This need for change prompted Edwards to create a more accurate and reliable system than ever before.

Edwards used innovative design principles, and their cutting-edge fire testing room, to invent a smoke detector that can differentiate between smoldering fires, nuisances, and life-threatening fast-flaming fires. Nuisances include burning steam or food such as burnt popcorn. The Signature Optica has a next-generation sensor that identifies the danger a fire creates and the type of fire, thus reducing the number of unnecessary fire alarms.

Particles enter the smoke detector’s chamber, and Optica analyses the size of them using a series of algorithms. The data is then consolidated into ratios to detect if the particles originate from a nuisance source or an actual fire.

The Signature Optica is, according to Convergint, the first smoke detector to meet the UL standard for Fire Alarm Systems UL 268 7th edition, which go into effect in May 2020. Certified as multi-criteria, Optica achieved this listing using only advanced photoelectric principles without requiring other sensors to assist. Edwards is the first smoke detector manufacturer to receive certification to the standards.

The new standard employs three tests, including two polyurethane foam tests for flaming and smoldering fires, as well as a cooking nuisance fire alarm test. These innovative tests represent an improved behaviour profile of contemporary building fires and smoke profiles than those previous.

The polyurethane tests are particularly important because most commercial buildings have furniture made of synthetic materials. One of the primary materials, polyurethane, ignites and burns quicker than other constituents.

Edwards designed Optica to give occupants of commercial buildings on fire more time to get out of the building safely. It’s a major technological advancement for industries such as hospitality, healthcare, and universities, where nuisance alarms occur frequently. Edwards has invented a product designed to save businesses and localities millions of dollars by reducing the amount of false alarms. The company accomplished this by expanding the abilities of the smoke detector to detect different types of smoke.


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