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Fire Protection for Test Stands in the Automotive Industry

Almost all major automotive manufacturers now include at least one electric vehicle in their portfolio. The number of electric vehicles is growing slowly but steadily worldwide. As demand increases, so does the demand for advanced battery technologies. The Austrian company AVL, expert in constructing measuring and testing systems demands particularly high standards of fire protection in its plants.

Comprehensive Fire Protection is a Must

About the Project

Before a new generation of batteries reaches series maturity, it is subjected to extensive testing. AVL supplies its customers with the necessary test stands and climate test chambers, complete with comprehensive safety technology. Because even though the aim is to launch onto the market as soon as possible, safety – and that means intelligent fire protection – comes first.

About the Customer

With more than 11,500 employees, AVL List GmbH, headquartered in Graz, Austria, is the world's largest independent company for the development, simulation and testing of drive systems and their integration into vehicles.

Risk Analysis

Protection Goals

Very Early Fire Detection and Double Impact Extinguishing

A very early fire detection is achieved in the test stand via TITANUS PRO·SENS® air sampling smoke detectors. The systems, however, had to be specially modified for use in the climate test cells and the temperature spectrum of -40 to +80 °C prevailing there. The result is the “DetectPad”, which depending on the actual test cycle, cools or heats the air sucked out from the test chamber and then feeds it to the detector at about 25 °C. The TITANUS® air sampling smoke detectors are enhanced by a further detection unit, the so-called “flow block”. This allows in a very early stage the detection of fission products in a very early stage, which are caused by chemical reactions in faulty or damaged rechargeable batteries – even before the battery breaks down and the actual development of a fire.

If the air sampling smoke detectors detect anything, the test stand is flooded with a two-phase mixture consisting of water mist and argon. An advantage of this extinguishing system is that as well as the cooling effect of water mist, the argon lowers the oxygen content in the area. A potential fire is constantly cooled by the water mist and thus contained. Flooding with the water mist and argon mixture is maintained for a period of 20 minutes.

Customer Benefits

  • Fast
    Reliable and false alarm proof early fire detection.
  • Early
    Detection of fission products before the actual fire emerges.
  • Effective
    No further spread of fire thanks to cooling effect and fire-inhibiting atmosphere.

Customer Testimonial

Martin Brunner, Dipl.-Ing., director division of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles at AVL

We are technology leaders in test stands and development environments. So it was natural for us to team up with the technological leader in fire detection. There are areas that just belong in the hands of experts and ultimately, it is our customers who benefit from our collective expertise.

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