Flame Detectors

Product Group | Flame Detectors

Flame detectors are high end technology but yet small devices used in a large variety of industries for quick and reliable fire detection. Depending on the type of fire, application and industry there are different technologies available.

Most commonly used and sold technologies are triple infrared (IR3) and a combination of ultraviolet and infrared sensors (UV/IR). Both technologies work on the emission of radiation that is expressed when a fire occurs. This radiation can be divided into three categories, UV, visible/near infrared, and invisible / wideband Infrared. With all hydrocarbon fires (gasoline, jet-fuel, methane, paper, wood etc.) there is a spike in the invisible infrared spectrum at the 4.5-micron area. In order to have the best possible performance without having to think about unwanted alarms, good IR3 flame detectors have sensors placed in this area of the infrared radiation.

Flame Detectors

For non-hydrocarbon fires that are not emitting in the 4.5 micron band, the UV/IR technology provides a solution. These flame detectors are able to detect invisible fires such as Hydrogen. Spectrex has introduced a flame detector that is capable of detecting both hydrogen and hydrocarbon fires by only using infrared sensors; the premium Spectrex 40/40-D-M and conventional 40/40-C-M QuadSense flame detectors.

Within the Spectrex New Generation flame detector series there are four technologies available. The triple infrared detectors are based on QuadSense technology. This means that both models have 4 IR sensors that are working in two pairs of three to ensure the best possible performance. All performances listed on the Spectrex datasheets are third party (FM) tested and approved.

  • IR3
  • IR3 hydrogen
  • UV/IR
  • UV/IR for hydrocarbon fires only

The premium Spectrex 40/40-D series offers both the IR3 and UV/IR detectors with ultra-fast detection in milliseconds to flash fires and explosions, an MTBF of over 150.000 hours, SIL 3 reliability approval and a large number of worldwide acknowledged standards.

Our conventional Spectrex 40/40-C series offers the same four technologies (IR3 and UV/IR) in units that are used in less demanding environments. The 40/40-C series will react to fires in less than 5 seconds, has a long list of FM performance tested substances and is also available with a variety of worldwide acknowledged standards.

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FAQ

A flame detector is a device used to detect the presence of a flame or fire. There are various types of flame detectors, but the most common principle they use is detecting the electromagnetic radiation emitted by flames. Here’s a simplified explanation of how it works:

  1. Sensing: The detector contains sensors that can detect specific wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, typically in the ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) spectrum. UV detectors are more responsive to flames with higher energy, such as those from hydrocarbon fires, while IR detectors can detect both hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon flames.
  2. Radiation Detection: When a flame is present, it emits characteristic radiation in the UV or IR spectrum. The detector’s sensors pick up this radiation.
  3. Signal Processing: The detected radiation is processed by the detector’s circuitry to determine if it matches the signature of a flame. The circuitry may include filters, amplifiers, and algorithms to differentiate flame radiation from other sources of radiation or background noise.
  4. Alarm or Activation: If the detector determines that a flame is present based on the processed signals, it triggers an alarm or activates a fire suppression system, depending on its application and design.

Flame detectors are commonly used in industrial settings, such as oil refineries or chemical plants, waste handling plants, powerplants, offshore installations, generator sets, gas turbines, etc. to provide early warning of fires and initiate appropriate safety measures.

A flame detector is a specialized device designed to detect the presence of a flame or fire. It is an important component of fire safety systems used in various industries and applications. The primary purpose of a flame detector is to provide early detection of fires and initiate appropriate actions, such as sounding an alarm or activating fire suppression systems.

Flame detectors employ different technologies to sense the presence of a flame. Some common types of flame detectors include:

  1. Ultraviolet (UV) Flame Detectors: These detectors are sensitive to the ultraviolet light emitted by flames. They work by detecting the characteristic UV radiation produced by combustion processes. UV flame detectors are commonly used for detecting hydrocarbon fires, such as those fueled by gasoline or natural gas.
  2. Infrared (IR) Flame Detectors: These detectors operate based on the infrared radiation emitted by flames. They can detect both hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon fires by sensing the heat signature of the flames. IR flame detectors are effective in environments with potential false alarms or where UV detectors may not be suitable, such as areas with strong sunlight or where certain chemicals are present.
  3. Combination Flame Detectors: Some detectors combine both UV and IR sensing capabilities to improve the reliability and accuracy of flame detection. These combination detectors can detect a broader range of fire types and offer increased resistance to false alarms.
  4. Multi sensor Flame Detectors (IR3 or IR4): these flame detectors also use infrared (IR) sensing technology, but they employ three or four IR sensors instead of separate UV and IR sensors. The IR sensors are strategically positioned to detect different wavelengths of infrared radiation emitted by flames. By analyzing the signals from these sensors, these flame detectors can differentiate between genuine flame signals and false alarms triggered by non-fire sources.

Flame detectors are used in various industries, including oil and gas, petrochemical plants, power generation facilities, manufacturing, and more. They play a crucial role in fire safety systems, helping to detect and mitigate potential fire hazards.

There are several types of flame detectors commonly used for fire detection and safety purposes. The main types include:

  1. Ultraviolet (UV) Flame Detectors: These detectors are sensitive to the ultraviolet light emitted by flames. They detect the characteristic UV radiation produced during combustion and are effective in detecting hydrocarbon fires, such as those fueled by gasoline, oil, or natural gas.
  2. Infrared (IR) Flame Detectors: IR flame detectors rely on the detection of infrared radiation emitted by flames. They can sense the heat signature of flames and are capable of detecting both hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon fires. IR detectors are useful in environments where UV detectors may not be suitable, such as areas with strong sunlight or where certain chemicals are present.
  3. Ultraviolet/Infrared (UV/IR) Flame Detectors: These detectors combine the capabilities of UV and IR sensors to improve flame detection reliability. By using both UV and IR sensors, they can detect a wider range of fire types and reduce the likelihood of false alarms.
  4. Flame Ionization Detectors (FIDs): FIDs work based on the principle of ionizing combustion products. When a flame is present, ionization occurs within the detector, leading to an electrical current. FIDs are particularly used in industrial settings to detect flames in processes involving hydrocarbon gases and vapors.
  5. Flame Rod Detectors: Flame rod detectors use a metal rod inserted into the flame as a sensing element. When a flame is present, the electrical conductivity between the rod and the burner increases, allowing the detector to detect the flame. These detectors are commonly used in oil burners, gas turbines, and similar applications.
  6. Multi Spectrum Flame Detectors (IR3 or IR4): these flame detectors also use infrared (IR) sensing technology, but they employ three or four IR sensors instead of separate UV and IR sensors. The IR sensors are strategically positioned to detect different wavelengths of infrared radiation emitted by flames. By analyzing the signals from these sensors, these flame detectors can differentiate between genuine flame signals and false alarms triggered by non-fire sources.
  7. Video Flame Detectors: These are typically UV/IR or IR3 flame detectors with an add-on regular CCTV color camera.

Each type of flame detector has its advantages and is suitable for specific applications and environments. The choice of the flame detector depends on factors such as the type of fire to be detected, the surrounding conditions, and the industry requirements.

UV/IR and IR3 flame detectors are both types of combination flame detectors that utilize multiple sensing technologies for enhanced flame detection. However, there are differences in how they operate:

  1. UV/IR Flame Detectors: UV/IR flame detectors combine ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) sensing technologies. They utilize separate UV and IR sensors to detect the presence of a flame. The UV sensor detects the UV radiation emitted by a flame, while the IR sensor detects the infrared radiation. This dual-sensor approach improves the reliability and accuracy of flame detection by reducing false alarms caused by non-fire sources of radiation.
  2. IR3 Flame Detectors: IR3 flame detectors also use infrared (IR) sensing technology, but they employ three IR sensors instead of separate UV and IR sensors. The three IR sensors are strategically positioned to detect different wavelengths of infrared radiation emitted by flames. By analyzing the signals from these sensors, the IR3 flame detectors can differentiate between genuine flame signals and false alarms triggered by non-fire sources.

In summary, the main difference between UV/IR and IR3 flame detectors lies in the sensing technology used and the number of sensors employed. UV/IR detectors use both UV and IR sensors, while IR3 detectors rely solely on multiple IR sensors. Both types aim to provide reliable flame detection by utilizing multiple sensing methods, helping to minimize false alarms and improve the detection of different types of fires. The choice between UV/IR and IR3 detectors depends on factors such as the specific application requirements, environmental conditions, and the type of fire hazards expected in the area.

Testing flame detectors is an essential part of their regular maintenance and ensures their proper functioning. While the exact testing procedure may vary depending on the specific flame detector and manufacturer’s instructions, here are some general steps to test a flame detector:

  1. Ensure Safety Precautions: Before testing a flame detector, make sure to follow safety protocols and obtain any necessary permissions or clearances for conducting the test. Adhere to the appropriate safety guidelines and wear any required personal protective equipment (PPE).
  2. Notify Others: Inform relevant personnel or stakeholders about the flame detector testing to avoid any confusion or unnecessary responses to the alarm.
  3. Notify the Monitoring System: If the flame detector is integrated with a central monitoring system, notify the system operators that you are conducting a test to prevent any unnecessary emergency responses.
  4. Isolate the Detector (Optional): Depending on the setup, you may need to isolate the flame detector from the system to prevent the activation of alarms or fire suppression systems during the test. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or a qualified technician if necessary.
  5. Use a Suitable Test Source: To simulate a flame, utilize an approved test source specifically designed for flame detector testing. These test sources emit the appropriate radiation spectrum that the flame detector is designed to detect. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific test source you are using.
  6. Perform the Test: Activate the test source and direct it towards the flame detector from the appropriate distance and angle as specified by the manufacturer. Observe the detector’s response to the simulated flame. Ensure that the detector triggers an alarm or performs the intended action, indicating that it has successfully detected the flame.
  7. Record and Document: Keep a record of the test, including the date, time, and results. Maintain a testing log as part of the maintenance and compliance records.
  8. Restore Normal Operations: If the flame detector was isolated or the monitoring system was notified, restore the system to its normal operational state after completing the test.

It’s important to note that the specific testing procedures and requirements may vary based on the flame detector model, manufacturer recommendations, and any applicable regulations or industry standards. Therefore, always consult the manufacturer’s documentation and follow the prescribed testing procedures for the particular flame detector being tested.

Determining the “best” flame detector depends on various factors such as the specific application, environment, fire hazards, and industry requirements. Different flame detectors excel in different scenarios. Here are some commonly recognized flame detector types that are well-regarded:

  1. UV/IR Flame Detectors: UV/IR detectors, which combine both ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) sensing technologies, are known for their reliable flame detection and reduced false alarm rates. They provide a dual-sensor approach that enhances detection capabilities for different types of fires and minimizes the influence of non-fire radiation sources.
  2. Multi-Spectrum IR Flame Detectors: These detectors utilize multiple IR sensors, often three or more, to analyze different wavelengths of infrared radiation emitted by flames. The multi-spectrum approach enables accurate flame detection while reducing the occurrence of false alarms caused by non-fire sources.
  3. Triple IR Flame Detectors: Triple IR detectors, also known as IR3 detectors, employ three strategically positioned IR sensors to enhance flame detection reliability. These detectors analyze the signals from the sensors to differentiate between genuine flame signals and false alarms, resulting in improved accuracy and reduced false alarm rates.
  4. Video-based Flame Detectors: Video-based flame detectors use advanced computer vision algorithms and cameras to analyze video footage for the presence of flames. These detectors can provide reliable flame detection in complex environments and offer additional features like flame size estimation, tracking, and suppression system activation.

When selecting a flame detector, it is crucial to consider the specific requirements and conditions of the application. Factors such as the type of fire hazards, environmental factors (e.g., presence of sunlight, dust, or steam), detection range, response time, maintenance requirements, and compliance with relevant safety standards should all be taken into account.

It’s recommended to consult with industry professionals, fire safety experts, or flame detector manufacturers to determine the most suitable flame detector for your specific needs. They can provide tailored recommendations based on their expertise and experience in the field.

Flame detectors are used in various industries and applications where fire detection and safety are crucial. Here are some common areas where flame detectors are employed:

  1. Industrial Facilities: Flame detectors are extensively used in industrial settings such as oil refineries, chemical plants, petrochemical facilities, power generation plants, and manufacturing plants. They help detect fires in hazardous environments where flammable gases, liquids, or combustible materials are present.
  2. Oil and Gas Installations: Flame detectors are crucial in the oil and gas industry, where they are utilized in upstream and downstream operations. They are deployed in drilling rigs, offshore platforms, storage tanks, pipelines, and other oil and gas infrastructure to provide early fire detection and help prevent accidents.
  3. Power Generation: Flame detectors are employed in power plants, including coal-fired, gas-fired, and nuclear power plants, to monitor combustion processes and detect potential fires or malfunctions.
  4. Warehouses and Storage Areas: Flame detectors are utilized in large warehouses, storage facilities, and distribution centers to monitor areas where flammable materials, chemicals, or combustible goods are stored. They help ensure prompt detection of fires that could lead to significant property damage or endanger personnel.
  5. Transportation Systems: Flame detectors can be found in transportation settings such as airports, train stations, and tunnels. They assist in detecting fires in critical areas like fuel storage, vehicle maintenance facilities, or areas with high fire risk due to the presence of flammable materials.
  6. Commercial Buildings: Flame detectors are often installed in commercial buildings, including office complexes, shopping malls, hotels, and public venues. They contribute to early fire detection, helping protect occupants, property, and minimizing potential disruptions.
  7. Laboratories and Research Facilities: Flame detectors are employed in laboratories and research facilities, where the presence of flammable chemicals, gases, or experimental setups poses fire risks. They play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of personnel and preventing fire-related accidents.

It’s important to note that the specific deployment and requirements of flame detectors may vary based on the industry, local regulations, and specific hazards present in each application. The selection and positioning of flame detectors should be done following appropriate guidelines, safety standards, and in consultation with fire safety professionals.

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