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Fire protection for automated compact storage systems

Active fire prevention in the robotic storage system

Automated compact storage systems are highly efficient robot-assisted compact storage systems for small parts. The goods are stored in containers of the same type. Due to the compact design of these storage systems, storage takes up less space than other systems. They thus perfectly serve the needs arising for companies from e-commerce and click & collect, for example. With an active fire prevention system for permanent, reliable fire protection, the risk of fire spreading is minimized from the outset. The warehouse is holistically protected from damage caused by fire, smoke or unsuitable extinguishing agents and the ability to deliver is ensured 24/7.

Various sources of risk pose the danger of fires in automated compact storage systems. Due to the compact design in combination with the high density of goods, the loss of value in the event of a fire is enormous. Although legal guidelines regulate basic fire protection, they generally only provide for the protection of persons and the environment. However, the operator is left with consequential damage and loss of image due to the interruption of operations. Insurance policies ideally compensate for the loss of material assets, but not for the loss of business capability.

The demand for business continuity through an uninterrupted supply chain and the constant availability of goods is increasing. Therefore, fire protection must also be considered when planning and installing an automated compact storage system. As with all storage systems, the requirements for plant fire protection must be analyzed individually. Here, we recommend considering the individual risks and protection goals in order to develop customized and holistic fire protection concepts.


Holistic fire protection concept for automated compact storage systems

Risk analysis for automated compact storage systems

There are various fire risks in automated compact storage systems. These must be identified and safeguarded against.

The compact storage method of containers placed close together and on top of each other leads to a high storage density and concentration of values. In addition, the degree of automation in an automated compact storage system is very high. This represents a high fire load. Fires in compact storage facilities are difficult to fight without causing major damage. 

Definition of protection goals

Operators of automated compact storage systems define their protection goals individually. In addition to the general protection of personnel and the environment, the protection goal is:

Operational capability and availability of goods must be guaranteed at all times.

Other fire risks

  • Packaging materials
    Packaging materials are often highly flammable.
  • Stored goods
    The stored goods themselves are sometimes highly flammable or even spontaneously combustible.
  • Small load carriers
    The material of the small load carriers, polypropylene, behaves like a flammable liquid in case of fire.
  • Robots
    Short circuits may occur in the batteries of the robots.
  • Electrical systems
    Short circuits could occur in the electrical systems of automated warehouses.

Other protection goals

  • Operability
    Ensuring business continuity is the most important thing.
  • Lieferfähigkeit
    Business resilience and availability of goods must not be compromised at any time.
  • Business Continuity
    Consequential damage and loss of image, which often result from a business interruption, must be prevented.
  • Goods and values
    Goods and valuables must not be damaged by fire, smoke or extinguishing agent used.
  • Storage system
    The storage system, infrastructure and internal processes must be protected against disruptions.

Challenge for fire protection equipment in compact storage

Prevention for reliable and effective fire protection

With regard to fire protection, special challenges arise in automated compact storage systems. The compact design prevents effective fire extinguishing. Conventional extinguishing systems and agents (water, gas) therefore cannot achieve the individual protection goals of many operators. They do not achieve a sufficient extinguishing effect. By building up a protective atmosphere that prevents the uncontrolled spread of a fire, the storage system can be efficiently protected.

Fire protection as a holistic solution

The active fire prevention system OxyReduct® prevents fires from spreading and thus protects against fire-related loss of goods and interruption of operations. An airtight enclosure ensures that the oxygen content in the area to be protected can permanently lowered and kept at this level in a controlled manner. This is achieved by introducing nitrogen, which is generated as required from the ambient air on site. A protective atmosphere is thus created in the defined protected area. The uncontrolled spread of fire within the automated compact storage system (= protected area) is prevented, disposal of fire residues or extinguishing agents is therefore not necessary. The storage areas and efficiency of the logistics system are not affected by the fire protection systems, as the technology used is installed in a space-saving manner outside the storage system in a plant room. Just as the storage system is expandable, OxyReduct® is also scalable.

Since the risk of short circuits and sweltering cables cannot be completely ruled out even in an oxygen-reduced atmosphere, highly sensitive TITANUS® air sampling smoke detectors are always part of the holistic fire protection solution. They detect the finest pyrolysis particles at the earliest possible stage and enable countermeasures to be taken in good time.

3D representation of a possible fire protection solution in the compact storage system

  1. Airtight enclosure ensures that the nitrogen cannot escape
  2. Robots transport the small load carriers
  3. Intake pipes direct the air samples to the intake air sampling smoke detector
  4. N2 inlet tube introduces the nitrogen into the protected area
  5. OXY.SENS® O2 sensors measure the oxygen concentration
  6. TITANUS® air sampling smoke detector for early fire detection
  7. N2 generator extracts the nitrogen for oxygen reduction from the ambient air

The better solution in fire protection

Customer benefit

All of the customer's protection goals can be achieved with a holistic solution consisting of fire prevention and fire detection. This ensures operational readiness.

Fire protection from WAGNER is tested, certified and compliant with standards. The installed OxyReduct® and TITANUS® systems have been certified by VdS.

More advantages

  • Protection
    Protection of the goods and also the storage system from damage caused by extinguishing agents or smoke contamination.
  • Low consequential damage
    If damage does occur, the consequential damage is minimal and there are hardly any follow-up costs.
  • Scalable
    The fire protection solution consisting of the oxygen reduction system and the air sampling smoke detectors is scalable.
  • All from one source
    WAGNER offers everything from a single source for the entire life cycle of a plant.
  • Simple
    Project handling is easy and safe to plan with WAGNER as your partner.

Reference projects

Komsa AG, Hartmannsdorf (Germany)

Fire effects such as high temperatures and smoke as well as extinguishing water would contaminate and destroy our goods. This leads to the interruption of our operating processes and, as a consequence, to the loss of our ability to deliver - an absolute no-go for us. So we quickly came to the active fire prevention technology OxyReduct® from WAGNER.

(Gernot Graebner, Supply Chain Manager KOMSA AG)

Aqipa GmbH, Kundl (Austria)

The Austrian company aqipa decided to use active fire protection from WAGNER for its automated high-bay warehouse to safeguard its premium products. From the beginning, it was clear that a conventional sprinkler solution would not suffice. The "Gear Guru" warehouse with AutoStore® technology and goods for the consumer electronics sector has too compact a design to ensure that the water would even get through to the source of the fire. Not to mention the effects of high temperatures, smoke and extinguishing water on the goods. The decision to actively prevent fires was therefore the only logical consequence.

Competec Logistik AG, Willisau (Switzerland)

The requirements and conditions in building construction have been considerably expanded and specified in recent years. This results in a great deal of coordination and agreement effort for the specialist planners when constructing such a complex building. This can only be managed with competent partners.

(Roland Brack, Founder and owner of the Competec group of companies)

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The safety of our customers with their values and processes have top priority for WAGNER when planning individual fire protection solutions. We support you in the implementation of your protection goals.

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