Fire Alarm System for Blaha Office Furniture
Labor Strauss Protects Multimillion-Euro Property
Fire detection systems are not only used to protect people, but also for the safety of machines and plants. The destruction of production equipment can lead to breakdowns and months of downtime in the production itself. To counter this risk, the Austrian family business Blaha commissioned the company Labor Strauss to design and install a tailor-made fire alarm solution.
For more than half a century, the Austrian family business Blaha Office Furniture has stood for individual furniture of the highest quality. At the company headquarters in Korneuburg/Lower Austria, innovative designer pieces from chairs to tables and storage space systems to accessories are created in only nine working days in the company’s own wood and metal processing plant. Blaha has a share of approximately eight percent of the Austrian furniture market and made some €18 million in sales in 2019.
In Korneuburg, where the company has already been based since 1962, offices, production and sales are accommodated in ten buildings on a single site with an area of 20,000 m². Here, 125 employees work on the highest level on the fulfilment of the customer’s wishes, according to the motto „Different as a matter of principle“. Since 2019 the Labor Strauss Group (LST) makes sure that the entire staff as well as machines and materials are protected against fire.
The project of implementing the fire detection system was started in May 2019, since November 2019 the system has been in full operation. „LST has already impressed us in the offer phase, above all, with two points: Firstly, LST was the only bidder that already included precise implementation plans in the offer which exactly showed what should be implemented at which position within the building. Secondly, absolute dependability was important for us – with LST, which like Blaha is an Austrian family business, this was one hundred percent the case. The interpersonal chemistry simply was right“, says Ing. Walter Pajpach, Blaha’s factory manager.
„The choice of the right fire detection system plays a vital role in the early detection of a fire”, stresses Ing. Martin Fischer, LST’s sales representative. Blaha’s system includes the fire detection control panel itself, which consists of three networked sectional control panels, the fire detectors, as well as the fire brigade devices such as the key safe and the fire brigade control unit. In addition, with the remote access App React, the fire detection system can be operated via a smartphone which can also show the condition of the fire detection system.
„Since we had to install the system in an existing object during normal operation, this was of course more difficult than in a new building“, explains Andreas Stöcklhuber, LST’s project leader. But thanks to the good communication between a steady team of three electricians on site and the staff of Blaha, this challenge has also been met optimally.
Detectors and Cables
In all, 465 fire detectors, 40 manual call points and 104 sounders were installed in the eight production and dispatch halls, the office building as well as the three-storey showroom building. 9,000 metres of fire detection cable have been laid. „In the showroom areas, we had to adhere to high visual standards, cables should not be visible – here we could use 22 wireless fire detectors. In this way, expensive construction work such as opening the ceiling, painting, work with gypsum wallboard and through holes and the like could be avoided“, said Stöcklhuber. In the attic area, a beam detector was used for monitoring the free space in order to save installation costs.
Fire Detection Control Panel
„The fire detection control panel has the main task: to process the data of the connected fire detectors and to react to dangerous events“, explains Fischer. What distinguish the BC600 are a clear display, the user guidance which is self-explanatory, and the high ease of use, which reduces the training costs. The redundant construction ensures a high degree of failure safety. Further advantages of the BC600 are its modular design and that it can be networked. The showroom area and the production area were each provided with a sectional control panel, whose display shows an alarm, faults or disablements of individual areas at a glance.
„In addition, we have chosen the React App so that we are always informed about a fault or fire and can react immediately – no matter whether we are on site or not“, says Pajpach. With the „Remote Access Tool“ React, you do not have to walk or drive to the fire detection control panel. Instead, the APP shows all important information, for example which fire detector has been activated in which hall, in a compact way, directly on the smartphone. If there really is a fire, React allows you to save valuable minutes, because relevant information – for example about local conditions, entrances or explosion hazards – can be exchanged in real time, which helps the fire brigade, to get prepared for the operation as quickly as possible.
Pajpach also mentions an important additional advantage of the fire detection control panel: „I am absolutely enthusiastic about all the things that can be connected to the fire detection control panel.“ For example, in addition to the information about the fire detection system, the control panel also shows information about the spark extinguishing system which is needed for extracting dust from the machines, as well as about the boiler. The connection of further systems, for example the air conditioning system, is also planned.
Installation, Service and Maintenance
The maintenance of the system, which is required once a year, will also be carried out by LST. „The people who install a system should also maintain it – they simply are the people who know most about it. When the spark extinguishing system was connected, I already saw that if there are questions, LST always comes the next day – the LST staff is really excellent“, says Pajpach. „A fire is the worst thing that can happen to you. If machines in a production hall are destroyed by fire, this can result in a breakdown lasting for months until new machines become available in Europe. But thanks to the fire protection by LST, we all can sleep in peace“, concludes the factory manager.