Tyco to expand sprinkler facility

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

CRANSTON, R.I.--If you were a new distributor of Tyco fire sprinklers and wanted to come to Tyco's facility here for some training, you'd have a lot of company. There is a huge demand for its 15 training classes.
"We are booked through the end of the year. If you were inquiring about a class now, we'd be looking at December or January of next year for the first available class," said James Golinzeaux, Tyco senior vice president of research and development.
The rapid expansion of the sprinkler market and subsequent increased demand for training are the two reasons Tyco decided to invest $3.5 million to renovate and expand its training facility here. The rehabbed facility will include new and expanded buildings, more space for research and development, and will be renamed the Tyco Global Technology Center.
"According to current estimates by the National Fire Sprinkler Association, around 40 million fire sprinklers are installed in the United States every year," said Golinzeaux. "That number has grown by about 1 million per year," he added.
Tyco is one of four U.S. manufacturers of sprinkler systems. Installers, distributors, architects, engineers, insurance carriers and fire authorities all take classes here. Employees of other sprinkler manufacturers, however, are not authorized by Tyco to take classes, all of which are free.
The project will take two years to complete. This year, Tyco will build a 10,500 square-foot education and training facility, featuring a 48-seat multi-media amphitheater, a product museum and display area, a visitor lounge, a 24-seat valve training classroom and two fire demonstration cells, to be named the Frederick Grinnell Education Center
Also this year, Tyco will add 4,300 square feet to an existing building, creating the Application Development Laboratory for product development, and valve and sprinkler testing areas for industrial, commercial and residential applications. This building will have a new 11,000-gallon water tank and circulation system "to conserve water, reduce waste and to reduce the cost of the water service," Golinzeaux explained.
By year two, the Technology Support Building and Research and Engineering Building will be renovated as well.
The facility had more than 200 visitors and conducted 15 classes in 2005. The completed facility will accommodate 800 annual visitors and be able to offer 38 different classes.
Golinzeaux said the staff also invites local technical school students to the facility to see "real world applications of math." They also host local university students enrolled in fire protection programs. The upgraded facility will allow Tyco to expand these programs as well.