UTC brings mist ashore

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

FARMINGTON, Conn.--In the two years since acquiring Marioff, a provider of high efficiency water mist suppression systems commonly used on ships, UTC Fire & Security has worked to bring this technology ashore.

“HI-FOG [the Marioff technology] has hundreds of patents for its suppression technology, which is more effective in many applications than other fire suppression systems, and far less damaging to the environment,” said John Sullivan, president of UTC’s fire suppression business, in an email interview. “This step change in technology has found appeal with heritage buildings, hotel chains and developers of tunnels. We’ve already made terrific progress in securing contracts for metro systems and hospitals, for example,” he added.

The HI-FOG system (search “UTC to acquire Finnish water mist company for $338m” at www.securitysystemsnews.com for details on the acquisition) “uses up to 90 percent less water than traditional sprinkler systems. The water is pushed at high pressure through special nozzles, which results in a fine mist that absorbs quickly, cooling the space while at the same time limiting the water damage.”

More than 1,000 passenger cruise ships and ferries and 1,500 land-based applications - such as machinery spaces, turbine enclosures, metros - currently use Hi-FOG, according to UTC. The installation is “unobtrusive,” using a small diameter tubing, making it a good application for museums and other historic sites.

UTC is also notes that emergency exits are extremely difficult in a typical tunnel fire because dense smoke, toxic gases and elevated temperatures happen very quickly. HI-FOG can be particularly useful in these instances, Sullivan said, because it limits the spread of fire and smoke and lowers the overall temperature in the tunnel.