Automatic Miniature Fire Extinguishers – bringing the spread of fire to a halt

Have you considered all types of fire suppression for your manufacturing business? The very nature of most manufacturing environments and production factories means they are at higher risk of fire hazards, particularly from large and complex electrical sources like process control panels, data cabinets, server rooms or issues with incorrectly maintained machinery.

Fire can equal serious downtime for a business, and with that comes production delays (or even a complete halt) and financial headaches. By ensuring your facility is adequately prepared with the right kind of fire detection, prevention and suppression equipment, the business stands a much greater chance of survival, should the worst happen.

A swift evacuation route for employees and thorough fire risk assessments are the first key steps to consider. This is followed closely by, what is the right type of fire detection and protection is needed to minimise the risk of service downtime?

When considering the right type of fire protection, think about the key elements of the site: materials being used in manufacturing, the size of the site and any legislative or HSE requirements, or insurance stipulations. Sometimes, the more obvious forms of protection like water, don’t make sense given the damage they can cause to stock or equipment.

Industrial facilities are well-equipped to handle fire, with a company expert responsible for fire prevention and safety. They often have in place the ‘traditional steps’ of fire safety like structural protection of the premises, system-aided devices (alarm panels), emergency procedures and defensive protection such as first responders and firefighters.

But what they may not have considered is additional fire suppression at the source. At the first sign of an electrical issue, thermally triggered AMFE will suppress any fire risk at the origin of the fault.

Machinery malfunction or fire on any part of the manufacturing system could mean significant downtime for your business. These fire ‘pressure points’ benefit most from fire suppression that extinguishes at the source. The initial costs of installing a sophisticated system may seem considerably higher than traditional extinguishing methods like sprinklers or handheld foam cylinders.

But if the system prevents fire spreading – or better still prevents it starting, it pales in comparison to the issues of downtime, bespoke replacement parts and huge clean-up costs. Suppression at the source often makes the most sense in such industrial conditions, with multiple fire hazards spread across a large site.

Machinery is often custom-built for manufacturers, and as such poses an even larger financial threat to the business if destroyed due to fire. There are fire suppression systems available that can easily be retrofitted to custom machinery, especially in hard-to-reach areas that may not be easily accessed by staff or fire crew.

AMFE (Automatic Miniature Fire Extinguisher) is a fire suppression system that can reliably protect devices from causing a wide-scale fire by extinguishing at the source. It works due to the rising heat in a fire situation increasing the pressure in the glass bulb until a predetermined operating temperature is reached. Once that occurs, it bursts into small fragments and triggers the release of the Novec extinguishing agent while the fire is still in the early stages. AMFE prevents further expansion of the fire, reducing the damage to your business.

Helios Fire Systems is the exclusive installer of AMFE technology in the UK and Ireland. Easy to install and retrofit, there are 3 variations available in as small as 5x20mm. AMFE is a simple measure that integrates within an electrical system to detect and suppress fire using 3M™ NOVEC extinguishing agent, a highly effective gaseous extinguishing agent that is non-toxic and residue-free after applications.

Garry Adey, Director at Helios Fire Systems says: “It can take as little as 3.5 watts to start an electrical fire, and electricity or electrical products are responsible for around 33% of accidental fires in the workplace.

“Triggers for electrical fires can include weak soldering spots, manufacturing errors, inadequate plug connections, poor operating conditions or parts failure. One small component going wrong can quickly spell bad news for a business. Often an electrical fire can build and build until it is detected by human or smoke alarms, becoming uncontainable.

“That’s why device-integrated fire protection (AMFE) is a cost-effective and reliable fire detection and suppression system that equals a lesser amount of damage than traditional cabinet protection systems. It uses a thermo-glass ampoule, configured to a certain temperature. Once it detects increasing heat, it opens the connected extinguishing cartridge without the need for an electrical signal.”

Helios Fire systems have been at the forefront of developing this innovative system with the introduction of R-AMFE, the new 3-stage detection and suppression system. This system, combined with our E-Detect product can detect minute temperature changes in components and alert the client before any thermal run away and fire, allowing them to isolate the component and change it before it becomes a risk.

This system can be particularly beneficial in bespoke factories and manufacturing plants that have sophisticated electrical and mechanical setups.

If for whatever reason, the component goes into the thermal run away and creates a flame then a secondary optical smoke sensor will detect the smoke, alert the client and automatically discharge the AMFE cylinder, extinguishing the fire immediately. This innovation now allows us to detect at the earliest instance any heat or small fire and extinguish it before it has created any damage to surrounding components or entire cabinet.

Here at Helios, we are fire safety experts installing throughout the UK’s industrial facilities such as warehouses and manufacturing sites, food processing facilities, petrochemical plants, data storage centres and much more. Our expertise in fire prevention means we help you feel as prepared as possible to manage the fire risk in your business. We can assess your business’ fire protection and help you achieve that ‘peace of mind’ feeling.


To learn more call us on 0161 503 1626 email Garry Adey to discuss.