The components contained in control cabinets help ensure that operations can continue uninterrupted. When fires occur, however, soot, smoke gases and corrosion can all permanently damage circuit boards and other hardware, resulting in the loss of irreplaceable data. The consequences of total IT failure can threaten a business’s very existence: According to a worldwide study conducted by Veeam in 2016, companies experience losses totalling over $16 million US every year as a result of availability gaps. Such incidents can damage customer and employee trust as well as company image, and may even impact business to the point of driving a company bankrupt.
The fire risk in electrical cabinets primarily stems from overloaded electrical equipment, faulty contacts or defective components. Most incipient fires in closed server cabinet systems start off as smouldering fires that are difficult to detect. As such, conventional fire protection is often inadequate for server and control cabinet systems, because fire detectors are installed outside the cabinets and usually only react once a fire has already developed. By that point, it is often too late to take action. Because server cabinets are closed, it is absolutely essential that early fire detection and extinguishing systems be installed directly inside the cabinets, as close to the racks as possible. Only then can smouldering fires be detected and suppressed as quickly as possible.