While sprinkler systems are the most common type of fire suppression system, some applications require special hazard fire suppression systems that do not use water. These systems are unique in that they can deal with hazards where water could actually do more harm than good. Within fire science, there are several classes of fires: class A, B, C, D, and K. The fuel of the fire will dictate what can put it out. Class A fires, for example, involve wood, and a sprinkler system would work well. A Class C fire, on the other hand, is an electrical fire and that may get worse by trying to suppress it with water. In summary, the specific environment will determine which system will work best.

Pre-Engineered Fire Suppression Systems

Pre-engineered systems are used to protect small compartments or micro-environments. Electrical panels and engine compartments are good examples of where these types of systems would provide protection. They are also useful for suppressing fires in CNC and EDM machines.

Firetrace pre-engineered fire suppression systems are available in two configurations: indirect release and direct release. Watch the video below to learn about the two different Firetrace pre-engineered fire suppression systems:


Fire suppression agents: Within pre-engineered fire suppression systems, there is a slew of agents that can be used. Class K systems typically have foam fire suppressants or other wet chemical agent options to help reduce the spread of the fire within the space. Engines, by contrast, are typically protected using ABC Dry Chemical powder, which can effectively suppress Class A, B, and C fires.

Detection options: A pre-engineered system usually comes in two forms or categories.  The first is an active detection system, while the second is a non-electric detection system.  Active detection requires an electrical power source, constantly seeking out heat or smoke.  A non-electric detection system relies on zero electricity.

Non-electric detection systems, including the Firetrace pre-engineered system, utilize pneumatic detection tubing that can be installed inside and throughout hazards. Since heat rises, it works to trigger the pneumatic detection tube. If the heat or fire comes in contact with the tube, the tubing will burst open at the point of contact. It causes a pressure change in the entire system and will tell the system to discharge its fire suppression agents. Agents you can use with these systems include carbon dioxide, dry chemicals, clean agents and foam suppressants. 

Direct vs. Indirect Release Systems

Direct Release Systems

How it works: In a direct release system, the suppressant will come through the hole in the tube directly.

Common applications: Direct release systems are recommended for electrical panel and server rack protection.

Key benefits: The direct release system works well for protection of electrical hazards, because it does not rely on any metal components installed within an electrical enclosure. Metal components, like nozzles, can cause electrical arc faults, which actually increase your fire risk. Because direct release systems rely entirely on the tubing, a plastic material, fire risk is reduced.

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Indirect Release Systems

How it works: An indirect release is when the tube acts as a detection device and, through the pressure change, tells the system to discharge the agent through other pipes and nozzles.

Common applications: Indirect release systems are commonly used for vehicles and in CNC machines.

Key benefits: Firetrace Indirect Release Systems have been independently tested and evaluated by the leading product performance testing agencies. They are UL Listed and FM Approved. Third party testing ensures that products consistently perform as expected and can tolerate environmental challenges like temperature change. Local and national fire codes, including those published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) often recommend UL or FM approved systems.

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Core Technology in the Tubing System


The Firetrace tubing system, with its focus on pressure and heat, is incredibly simple. This core piece of technology works in a reactive manner and serves as the fire detection component. As soon as the tubing detects the fire, the system activates and jumps into action to suppress the fire.

Firetrace Detection Tubing

The red Firetrace Detection Tubing (FDT) is at the heart of the system. By routing the tubing throughout a special hazard, the system can detect a fire at its source. Under normal circumstances, the FDT detects a fire 10 times faster than traditional methods. Firetrace direct release and indirect release systems do not require electricity to operate and accurately detect fires even in the presence of dust, particulates, and other environmental challenges.

Fire Suppression Chemicals

Firetrace systems are filled with 3M™ Novec™ 1230 which is one of the leading clean agents used for fire suppression. Novec™ 1230 is stored in the cylinder as a liquid but discharges as a gas. It is used for class A, B, and C fires and puts out fires safely without damaging sensitive equipment or machinery.


flexrope-systemsThe Firetrace FlexRope combines the components of traditional fire suppression systems into a single product including agent storage, detection, and discharge. It is designed for electrical cabinets and panels and is an affordable, easy, all-in-one solution. Proprietary granules are housed within a vinyl sheath and wrapped in a fiberglass braid. During a thermal event inside an electrical enclosure, fire activates the FlexRope to suppress the fire. Firetrace FlexRope is designed to protect areas up to 35ft3 (1m3), is approved for Class A, B, and C fires, and requires no maintenance.

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