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99% Invisible : World's most popular design and architecture podcast reviews the CAP9 Fire Prevention System and breaks down the process of hypoxic air technology for asset preservation and business continuity from an architectural point of view.
Producer Kurt Kohlstedt describes the prevention process: "So how does it work? Watch the video to learn more, but basically: nitrogen is added to the air to ‘pack in’ oxygen molecules, preventing them from participating in a combustion reaction. In short: the air itself is reconditioned to become inhospitable to flames. Cap9 machines operate by filtering out particles and maintaining the right balance of oxygen and nitrogen to keep fires from gaining traction."
Kohlstedt on advantages over traditional fire suppression methods: "...hypoxic air technology obviates the need for conventional sprinklers and other fire suppression systems. Water and foam, meanwhile, can do irreparable damage to stored materials..."
On design flexibility: Broadly employed, this type of fire suppression could have design implications for architects as well. In many jurisdictions, specific fire code rules can be circumvented if a designer can show that their building will hold up thanks to structural or systematic redundancies.
Read full story here.
A recent article in Fire Middle East Magazine written by Peter Stephenson, Associate Director of Fire Engineering at BuroHappold Middle East and Branch President for the GCC UAE Branch of the Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) highlights the business continuity concerns in cleanrooms due to the risks associated with fire.
Stephenson states that "...fire extinguishing agents may help on one side, but can cause serious damage to the infrastructure on the other... Particular fire extinguishing agents can seriously harm the infrastructure, even more than the fire itself, due to the fire suppression agent. Any water-based system could lead to short circuits and cause damage to the electrical components. The deposit of extinguishing media residue deriving from dry powder and foam portable extinguishers can be harmful to the costly and sophisticated technical devices located in the cleanroom."
As an alternative to these potentially harmful fire suppression systems, the article presents the CAP9 fire prevention system. Stephenson says "a relatively new fire suppression and fire prevention method is hypoxic air technology – also called atmospheric control technology. The Dubai-based engineering firm, Opsys, offers CAP9 which is a unique and reliable fire protection system without any negative impact on assets and property during use. The atmospheric control system is one of the most advanced in this field of operations and is approved by Dubai Civil Defence and certified by UL."
Following the CAP9 fire prevention system's UL listing in early 2016, CAP9 was awarded Dubai Civil Defence approval as a stand-alone fire safety system. The role of Civil Defence is the "protection of lives, properties and sources of national wealth during peace & war times and at crisis and emergency situations" as mandated by Federal Law No. 23 in 2006." Any and all fire safety systems seeking Civil Defence approval must first be approved by either UL or FM Global, a requirement only achieved by the CAP9 system in the field of oxygen reduction fire prevention systems. Opsys is proud to be the only manufacturer in the world to provide this level of capability to clients seeking cutting-edge fire safety equipment to protect their property and materials from the risk of fire.
The CAP9 has recently become the world's first and only UL Listed fire prevention system. Opsys first introduced the concept of Oxygen Reduction Fire Protection systems to UL and worked closely to help UL develop its UL67377 "Outline of Investigation for Oxygen Reduction Fire Protection System Units", based on the EN16750 standard for Oxygen Reduction Systems. With this framework in place, Opsys was able to achieve the world's first UL listing for a fire prevention system. A UL listing provides end users and insurers alike the highest level of confidence in a product, knowing that it has been thoroughly tested and proven for functional safety, performance, and reliability- a full-spectrum certification that is unmatched by other country or region-based certification bodies like VdS which only test for safety.