June 12, 2023, Risk Management Magazine
Unifire’s FlameRanger: Revolutionizing Autonomous Robotic Fire Suppression
Renowned Swedish manufacturer, Unifire AB, is recognized as the global leader in autonomous robotic fire suppression (ARFS) systems. Unifire’s FlameRanger™ ARFS represents the pinnacle of autonomous fire suppression technology.
FlameRanger combines state-of-the-art stainless steel robotic nozzles (also known as fire monitors), cutting-edge electronic hardware and software, and a range of top-tier flame detection technologies.
With remarkable speed and precision, FlameRanger systems swiftly detect fires, automatically activating the valve and accurately directing the robotic nozzle to suppress the flames at and around their source within an astounding 15 seconds of ignition. Once the fire is extinguished, the system seamlessly reverts to standby mode, ready to respond to any subsequent outbreaks. Capable of detecting and tracking up to four fires simultaneously, FlameRanger suppresses them in the order of their detection.
Although the system operates autonomously around the clock, Unifire ensures flexibility by empowering operators to assume remote control of any robotic nozzle at any given time. Utilizing a joystick, radio remote control, or Unifire’s ONE app for iOS and Android devices, operators maintain command and oversight. In fact, Unifire’s advanced technology enables effortless control of robotic nozzles from any computer worldwide.
To address diverse fire risks and meet specific customer needs, FlameRanger is designed to seamlessly integrate with a wide range of fire detection technologies and manufacturers. These include 3IR flame detectors, thermal imaging cameras, video analytics, hybrid fire detectors that combine video analytics with infrared or thermal imaging, optic linear heat detectors and others. The system can even incorporate digital signals from supplementary detectors or alarms, allowing for customized combinations of detection technologies.
Unifire recognizes that each detection technology offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. The company collaborates closely with clients to ensure the optimal detection technology is selected based on their unique requirements and fire risks. According to Roger Barrett James, Unifire’s Director of International Sales & Marketing, the most popular detection technologies employed with the FlameRanger are systems utilize either IR3 flame detectors or thermal imaging cameras.
Flame detectors excel in rapid fire detection, minimizing the occurrence of false alarms. Unifire works with flame detectors that can provide the fire’s coordinates, giving the system pinpoint information about the fire’s location, either in two-dimensions or in three-dimensional space through triangulation. These systems are dynamic and track the location of fire and the system updates its aiming at a rate of ten times per second (10Hz).
For specific applications and customers, Unifire supplies thermal imaging cameras that trigger the system when predetermined temperature thresholds or rapid heat build-ups are reached. The alarm parameters are easily adjustable to accommodate each customer’s needs. For FlameRanger systems incorporating thermal imaging cameras, the fire’s location is accurately determined, allowing the system to deploy a pre-recorded spray pattern for swift suppression. Thermal imaging cameras possess the additional advantage of detecting heat before an actual fire erupts, albeit with the potential for “false alarms” triggered by benign heat sources such as hot engines or exhausts from vehicles. The thermal imaging camera’s software algorithms work to minimize such false alarms.
Unifire and various testing laboratories have conducted extensive testing and evaluations of the FlameRanger system over a period of 13 years, including rigorous full-scale fire tests that have unequivocally demonstrated its effectiveness. With over 130 systems sold across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia, Unifire’s FlameRanger continues to gain momentum as a leading choice in cutting-edge fire suppression technology.