VSD believer

Pratt & Whitney signs on axonX
Sunday, June 1, 2008

NORTH BERWICK, Maine--Shortly after an axonX video smoke detection system was set up in a machine room here at a large Pratt & Whitney manufacturing facility, an alarm went off, though the dispatcher couldn’t see any smoke or indication of fire on his video screen. All he could see was a graphic “which outlined where the smoke was in the room,” said Bruce Nadeau, manager of protective services for Pratt & Whitney. Five officers were dispatched to check out the situation, and sure enough, the camera had picked up traces of smoke from a separate room 100 feet away.

“That really made a believer of me,” Nadeau said. “It was 50 feet from the camera to the door and 50 more feet, around a corner, to where the smoke was.” As it turns out, a machinist was doing some cutting where he was not supposed to and was generating smoke, which was picked up by the axonX camera.

AxonX uses algorithms to detect an incipient fire, using a standard CCTV camera or a networked IP camera. Norris Inc., of South Portland, Maine, installed the system. Norris described the installation for Security Systems News in May.

“I was one of the first axonX dealers,” said Brad Norris, president of Norris Inc. Norris Inc. started off as a fire alarm dealer here 28 years ago. The company has “fully migrated to be a systems integrator that does fire, mass notification, teledata systems and access control in northern New England. Norris has two other offices, one in Greenland, N.H., and the other in Middlebury, Vt.

Norris said he was so impressed with the axonX system (he called it the “greatest advance in smoke detection since the invention of the ionization smoke detector in the 1950s”) that he had a demonstration set up in his office and he brought some of his major customers in to take a look. He knew it would be a good fit for Pratt & Whitney, which at one million square feet is the largest single-tenant commercial building in this state. In 1988, Norris had installed a complete Notifier fire alarm and mass notification system here.

Because of the high ceilings, standard smoke detection takes much longer than a video smoke detector, he said. In addition, the camera system can be used for security purposes as well, Nedeau pointed out. Nedeau plans to expand his axonX system over the next few years, and in the meantime, Norris said there are many more facilities in northern New England that could use this product. “I’ve got lots of customers looking at it.”