New AI Smoke Sensor Standards Give Installers Upgrade Opportunities.
New AI Smoke Sensor Standards – The release of the 8th Edition of the manufacturing Standard for Smoke Alarms, UL 217 and the 7th Edition of the Manufacturing Standard for Smoke Detectors, UL 268, will deliver security installers significant upgrade opportunities in almost every brownfield application they undertake or maintain.
The UL 217 8th Edition, which has been delayed repeatedly, is slated to pass in July 2024, with manufacturers required to manufacture multi-sensor smoke alarms empowered by algorithms. Single sensor smoke detectors will not meet the new standard and will no longer be manufactured.
The new manufacturing standards relate to a requirement for smoke sensors to meet upgraded requirements predicated on enhanced testing – a development that stemmed from tests Underwriters Laboratories undertook for the National Fire Protection Research Foundation (NFPRF).
In these tests, UL applied advanced aerosol imaging and gas measurement tests to quantify smoke particulate size, quantity and composition during a series of tests conducted on modern household materials, which differ from traditional materials, which included solid wood, woollen carpet, cotton-based curtain and drapes, and water-based paints.
The UL research found that modern materials have reduced escape times in a typical domestic fire outbreak from 17 minutes to just 3 minutes. This finding led researchers to recommend more than 250 technical changes to the UL 217 standard, which has been largely static since its introduction in 1976.
Researchers worked on developing requirements for effective smouldering and flaming tests that represented the smoke and ignition profiles of fires fuelled by modern materials with different ignition profiles – including polyurethane. Pass/fail limits for the tests were then predicated on residential evacuation studies by NFPRF and NIST.
As a result, the manufacturing standard for smoke alarms includes 3 new fire tests, including polyurethane foam fire tests for smouldering and flaming, and a new cooking nuisance alarm test. The latter test was added after National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) research indicated nuisance alarms are the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms in the home.
New AI Smoke Sensor Standards
The next generation of smoke alarms and smoke detectors that comply with the new standards will be equipped with more advanced multi-criteria sensors and algorithms capable of distinguishing the difference between a smouldering fire and cooking smoke based on detecting and comparing differences in smoke particle size, quantity, gas concentrations and colour between fires and cooking aerosols.
Manufacturers of smoke alarms and detectors will need to configure their products with advanced sensors and software to meet the challenges of these new fire tests and in the U.S. some manufacturers are already touting their newly released microprocessor-driven AI smoke sensors.
Whether these new manufacturing standards will impact on smoke detection standards in ANZ is yet to be seen but it’s highly likely sensors capable of handling rapid flashover domestic fires fuelled by modern synthetic products, while ignoring domestic false alarm sources, will be lifesaving.
Installers should note that the new manufacturing standard doesn’t impact on sale or use of existing smoke sensors. But the benefits of the new technology mean replacement of older devices would be considered best practise in many applications.
“New Smoke Sensor Standards Give Installers Upgrade Opportunities.”