Fire Friday #5: Certifications
Product certifications are proof from the manufacturer that their products meet a certain standard. Thus, the buyer receives guaranteed product performance and reliability. The standard, on the other hand, specifies the requirements for the product, including performance and robustness.
Reliable fire detection is essential for survival in many emergency situations and ensures the integrity of life and property. It is therefore not surprising that the performance requirements of fire detectors are specified in standards, and that fire detection products must be certified accordingly.
AP Sensing's fire detection products fall into the category of addressable linear heat detectors; the requirements of linear heat detectors are described in a wide variety of standards. As a manufacturer particularly committed to fire detection, AP Sensing offers the most comprehensive portfolio of certifications, in order for our customers to receive the highest level of system reliability and performance.
In addition to country-specific standards, three internationally recognized standards stand out for Linear Heat Detection (LHD): American standards UL 521 and FM 3210, as well as the new European standard EN54-22 that has become increasingly important in recent years. These three standards are not only important, but also serve as the basis for developing other standards. Most localized, country-specific standards are derived from one of these international norms.
For a manufacturer, certification procedures are costly and time-consuming. Processes can last many months and also involve extensive testing and documentation. As a rule, once a certification approval has been granted, the company and its production processes are audited annually. This ensures that the certified product continues to be properly produced as per the requirements, and that consistent quality is guaranteed. The certification process requires a lot of effort, and a manufacturer only undertakes this process if the company is 100% convinced of the quality and performance of its product.
AP Sensing’s fiber optic LHD is certified according to all internationally recognized standards and in the highest performance classes (UL: up to 50 ft spacing; FM: 30 by 30 ft spacing; EN54-22: A1N and BN-DN).
While the above standards mainly describe the performance of a product as a fire detector, the Safety Integrity Level (SIL) serves as an indicator for the functional reliability of a product, i.e. the probability of failure. SIL levels are described in IEC 61505 and the product is assigned to a level via a risk analysis. Levels 3 and 4 can only be achieved if the product has been explicitly developed according to SIL requirements. This is not a requirement in fire detection, nevertheless our systems have been assessed and classified as SIL-2 products. This means a failure probability between 10 - 6 and 10 - 7 without redundancy requirements.
In addition to the product certifications, there are also company certifications that are acquired according to ISO standards. Behind every product there is a company, and products and services can only be as good as the company itself. Such company certifications assess and prove that certain structures are in place to ensure the high quality of products and services, as well as the health and safety of employees, suppliers and customers. It ensures that processes are being followed and the whole company – and the people – live up to the high demands of industry standards. It is therefore a matter of course to us that we not only have our QM system certified according to ISO 9001, but we also comply with ISO 14001 and 45001.
Response time, spatial resolution, and alarm zone configuration: what is important when selecting a Linear Heat Detection system? Find out more in our weekly series.