Hotspot detection solutions are an important part of preventing fires in the 21st century. It’s a growing market that is expanding into a great variety of sectors, far beyond the Maritime, Oil & Gas Safety and ATEX sectors, for which it was intended. Customer support engineer Rudy Saarloos works with Siqura’s hotspot detection cameras and recently installed a set with a client in the Netherlands.
As many modern companies, this particular client works with a lot of materials which internal temperature can increase to the point where they spontaneously combust. The resulting fire and intense heat can cause nearby material to ignite. Ultimately an entire warehouse, storage area or industrial installation can be destroyed. The problem with fire alarms and other fire-fighting systems, such as sprinklers, is that they only come into effect when the fire has already started, sometimes after the hotspot has been active for days, if not weeks.
Thermal imaging can help to detect hotspots before a fire occurs, so that the necessary measures can be taken. The number of possible applications is endless. Examples are bulk storage monitoring in large storage areas such as waste bunkers, wood or paper stockpiles, as well as cement and coal storage yards. Also, coal belt monitoring during the transport to control the risk of spontaneous combustion. In fact, any industry with some type of storage area where goods or material is kept, is at risk of material self-combustion. Typical examples of this are storage of splint wood, batteries, waste recycling materials and coal.
Rudy Saarloos: 'Just the other day, one of our clients was able to overcome an emerging incident because of the timely detection of a major hotspot by our camera system. Our system really works'
Which cameras to use
In most cases, a dual-camera system would be the recommended option: the housing will contain an optical camera next to the thermal camera. A human operator sitting in front of a monitor will have a hard time establishing what he sees with only the thermal image available. The extra optical image will enable him to quickly recognize what is going on, thus further decreasing response time.
Rudy Saarloos: “Siqura has a wide range of heat-sensing cameras which can detect a difference in temperature as small as half a degree Celsius. Our clients can customize the camera system according to their needs. On the basis of pre-set parameters, the camera will automatically send a signal to the software application of TKH Security, VDG Sense. Subsequently, the system will respond as programmed. An alarm could go off, a warning could be sent to a cell phone, or even the fire department could be warned immediately.”