UTCFS breaks ground on new center

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—UTC Fire & Security’s new Fire Innovation & Test Center here will benefit the company's dealer network by demonstrating for dealers and their customers how the products they sell and install actually perform, according to the program manager for the test center.

“As I like to say, ‘seeing is believing’ on some of these products,” Roger Riley told Security Systems News. “This facility will serve as a place where we can coordinate with our dealer network, our installers, and bring customers in and end users in to witness live fire tests.”

Also, he said, “dealers and installers can come in and understand the product and how it gets installed and so forth.”

UTCFS, headquartered in Connecticut and a division of United Technologies Corp., announced it broke ground on the 15,000-square-foot center on Dec. 16.

In a statement, UTCFS said the facility, expected to open in January 2012, will “integrate testing, engineering and customer demonstration capabilities into one state-of- the-art facility, enabling the delivery of leading technologies and cost effective solutions” to UTCFS customers.

Riley said the center will have a test hall of more than 3,300 square feet. That main test hall will “enable live fire testing of water mist, clean agent systems, foam and other fixed fire suppression systems, as well as portable fire extinguishers,” according to the press release.

Bill McGann, VP of engineering for UTCFS's global fire products business, said in a statement that the center “will allow us to conduct scientific testing of fire suppression systems, share this learning with industry regulators, and demonstrate the capabilities to customers, all in an environmentally-responsible way.”

He said the center will be built in such a way to win Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The facility will focus on technologies that suppress and extinguish fires, including the Marioff HI-FOG water mist system, which uses 80 percent less water than traditional sprinklers, according to UTCFS. The company said HI-FOG “has been proven effective” in both commercial facilities and homes, but faces regulatory barriers in many states that require traditional sprinkler systems in their building codes.

“Our goal is to work with policymakers to properly recognize new, more effective fire suppression technologies and make it easier for these to be adopted into building codes, making our communities safer,” Brown stated in the press release.

Riley added that, “the cornerstone of the facility is about product innovation and testing and, as we test either new products or existing products on new applications, that opens up more opportunities for the dealer networks, the installers, as they’re selling to end users.”