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SLC’s material properties and fire behaviour require innovative fire protection
WAGNER systems offer big fire protection to small load carriers
Ensure just-in-time deliveries from SLC storage
with OxyReduct® active fire prevention
Extinguish without consequences in even the narrowest spaces
with the residue-free FirExting® gas extinguishing system

Fire protection for automated small parts storage facilities and vertical storage systems

The significance of fire protection in warehouses with small-load and large-load carriers

Fire protection is of particular importance in small load carrier (SLC) storage facilities. Since SLC facilities often work as suppliers, efficient processes and just-in-time delivery are absolutely essential. More and more SLC warehouses are also providing just-in-sequence deliveries, in which the supplier packs goods in a certain order so that customers receive them the same way and can process them directly. The automotive industry, in particular, often has parts delivered just-in-sequence, so that they can be installed immediately. To ensure that customer production always runs smoothly, it is crucial that automatic / standardised small parts storage facilities can prevent operations interruptions with absolute certainty. After all, fires endanger not only warehouse operations, but also customer productivity. Any time the automatic small parts storage facility fails to provide reliable, timely deliveries, it can drive customer production to a standstill, creating massive expenses.

Fire hazards and causes of fire in automated small parts storage

The high degree of automation technology in small parts storage facilities creates an increased risk of fire. Fires are most frequently caused by electrical components: short-circuiting pickers, overheating electrical equipment, and short circuits in electrical lines or control cabinets are all typical causes of fires in small parts storage facilities.

Small load carriers pose particularly great risks

The particular properties of the materials used in small load carriers create specific requirements when it comes to warehouse fire protection. One problem is that the small load carriers are made of highly flammable plastic: when heated, polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) behave similarly to flammable liquids. Another problem is that, when these materials catch fire, they release comparable quantities of heat to diesel or petrol. After a certain period of combustion, the material melts into burning droplets, which drip down and create a so-called pool fire underneath the storage configuration. As a result, the fire’s development is extremely dynamic.

Rack systems up to 40m in height, with very little space between them, also make it easy for the fire to spread throughout the warehouse very quickly. Another hazard is the “chimney effect”, which causes rising fire gases to ignite goods stored higher up, meaning that the fire can reach the warehouse ceiling within just a few minutes.

Fighting fires in small load carrier facilities?

The particular circumstances involved in automated small parts storage facilities makes fire suppression a rather difficult task: polypropylene and polyethylene fires are hard to extinguish using water or water fog. When these plastics catch fire, they melt and form an oily layer that water has a difficult time penetrating. The water simply pearls off of the plastics, without actually wetting them like it would (for example) cardboard. And burning droplets of the material ignite more small load carriers underneath, creating a domino effect. Conventional extinguishing systems, such as sprinkler systems, are only marginally reliable in warehouses with very high ceilings, as it takes longer to trigger them. High ceilings and goods packed densely between the pickers restrict a fire brigade’s ability to fight fires in small parts storage facilities. Limited firefighting pathways, extreme heat development, and falling parts can all complicate extinguishing work and endanger personnel. Consequences of these fires include everything from interrupting delicate operational processes to total losses and environmental damage.

Greater safety thanks to tailor-made fire protection

Fire prevention in SLC warehouses

WAGNER’s OxyReduct® fire prevention system is an innovative fire protection solution that continually reduces oxygen levels in the room to create a protective atmosphere. Using nitrogen to reduce oxygen concentration levels has significant benefits: nitrogen is not toxic, and at 78.09 vol.-%, it is the primary component of normal air.


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  • Space-saving
    Takes up less space compared to extinguishing systems, thus utilizing storage space more effectively.
  • Safe
    Active fire prevention system provides ongoing, reliable fire protection.
  • Individual
    Tailor-made protection schemes for customer-specific risks and protection specifications.
  • Easy
    Extracts nitrogen directly from ambient air on site to use in reducing oxygen concentration levels.
  • Energy-efficient
    VPSA technology offers potential energy savings of up to 80% compared to conventional membrane technology
  • Flexible
    Easy to adapt in response to changes in usage or building renovation.
  • Environmentally friendly
    Preventative fire protection prevents consequential damage caused by contaminated extinguishing water and toxic combustion gases.

Reference projects

IMPERIAL Automotive Logistics GmbH, Flechtdorf (Germany): Oxygen reduction system protects automated small parts storage facility

IMPERIAL Automotive Logistics GmbH specialises in all material and information flows throughout the entire added-value chain in the automotive industry. WAGNER protects its 10,000-square-metre automated small parts storage facility using its innovative active fire prevention and early fire detection solutions.

to Application Report

Engel Elektroantriebe GmbH, Walluf (Germany): Tailor-made fire protection for a truly efficient warehouse lift solution

This premium manufacturer uses a shuttle system to ensure secure storage for its motors, transmissions and control units. Besides space-saving storage, the company also places great importance on reliable smoke detection at the earliest possible stage, which is why it uses WAGNER air sampling smoke detection and residue-free gas extinguishing systems.

Subject news

FIA Fire Safety Summit

Visit WAGNER UK on 20 June 2024 at the FIA Fire Safety Summit in Dublin.

Save the date

WAGNER UK offers a Fire Industry Association CPD certified training to Hypoxic Fire Prevention: 1st November 2022


WAGNER UK Ltd. has moved from Birmingham to Bromsgrove to anew office on 1th April 2022. You find the new address here.

WAGNER UK delivery

WAGNER UK guarantees TITANUS® orders and next-day deliveries for the whole of Ireland.

CPD training to Hypoxic Fire Prevention systems

WAGNER UK offers a CPD certified training to Hypoxic Fire Prevention systems. The 1-hour digitally training takes place every 1st Wednesday of the month.


Statement on Wagner UK’s BREXIT contingency planning