Specialised Fire Detection for Educational Buildings – Optical Beam Smoke Detectors


Protecting buildings from the risk of fire is never an easy task, and educational properties often bring their own particular array of problems: irregular and high ceilings, tricky wiring and large indoor spaces – and the potential for rough treatment. FFE has specifically designed its Fireray optical beam smoke detectors to overcome these potential issues, with a number of features that make them inherently well suited to protecting school and university projects.

A single Fireray 5000 reflective beam system can reliably protect an area of up to 1500m2 with wiring at only one point on only one wall – compared to more than a dozen ceiling mounted point detectors or the cost and disruption of ceiling vents for an aspirating smoke detection system. As each beam unit is quite small, fixtures are easy to install and there is also a lot less visual impact. Together this all results in safe fire protection without causing unnecessary damage to a building’s structure, function or aesthetics. Protective cage fittings are also available to safeguard the devices from wayward tennis balls, footballs and other hazards to fixtures in school buildings.

Reflective beam technology offers an ideal smoke detection system for large indoor areas, using a simple but reliable mechanism to reliably detect smoke across large distances. An optical beam smoke detector transmits a beam of invisible infrared light across the building space to be protected, and a receiver detects and measures this light. Smoke interference anywhere along the beam path then triggers the alarm signal when the pre-set threshold is reached.

In a reflective beam system, the receiver and transmitter are in the same unit, with a small reflective prism bouncing the beam back to its source. This means wiring is only required on the one side, with the prism simply and easily fixed to the wall opposite. Technological innovations such as motorised, automatically aligning beam heads and dust compensation make the Fireray 5000 easier to install and more resistant to faults and false alarms than beam detectors have ever been before.

In some instances though, there may be obstructions along the ceiling which could interfere with the beam path, making it very difficult to site a transceiver and prism without reflections from other things reducing the effectiveness of the system. For these situations, end-to-end beam systems are preferred, as extraneous reflections near the beam path do not affect an end-to-end optical beam. In an end-to-end system, the transmitter and receiver are on opposite walls, so any light reflected back at the transmitter has no effect, and any smoke entering the beam path anywhere along its length will still be safely detected by the receiver.

The Fireray 3000 is FFE’s latest product development, bringing the most advanced technology to end-to-end systems. Technological improvements include Light Cancellation Technology (LCT), a unique patented technology that makes the unit highly resistant to false alarm from sources such as sunlight and fluorescent lighting. The housing of the Fireray 3000 is even smaller and more discreet than the Fireray 5000 as each head only contains one element of the system, and it does not require a prismatic reflector panel that may be undesired in some environments. Because it is an end-to-end system, the clear pathway between the heads does not need to be as wide as for a reflective system, and as previously explained it will be unaffected by stray reflections.

About FFE
FFE is a global design and manufacturing business, dedicated to supplying specialist detection products to the fire industry. Headquartered in the UK with offices in the USA, Dubai, India and China, the company’s two leading brands are the Fireray optical beam smoke detector, with over half a million units installed worldwide, and the Talentum flame detector, one of the world’s most respected flame detector brands. FFE also leads the global market in providing fire extinguishers for aviation use and produces a range of vibration switches for industrial applications. FFE is a Halma Company.