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Automatic fire suppression systems control and extinguish fires without human intervention.
In the early days, water was the exclusive fire suppression agent. Although still used today, water has limitations. Most notably, its liquid and conductive properties can cause as much property damage as fire itself.
Today there are numerous types of Automatic Fire Suppression Systems. Systems are as diverse as the many applications. In general, however, Automatic Fire Suppression Systems fall into two categories. These are engineered and pre-engineered systems.
Engineered Fire Suppression Systems
Are design specific. Engineered systems are usually for larger installations where the system is designed for the particular application. Examples include marine and land vehicle applications, computer clean rooms, public and private buildings, industrial paint lines, dip tanks and electrical switch rooms. Engineered systems use a number of gaseous or solid agents. Many are specifically formulated. Some, such as 3M Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid, are stored as a liquid and discharged as a gas.
Pre-Engineered Fire Suppression Systems
Do not require the involvement of a design engineer beyond the original product design. Pre-engineered systems are comprised of pre-designed components. Examples of pre-engineered systems include commercial kitchen systems and industrial paint rooms and paint booths and industrial storage areas. Pre-engineered systems most commonly use a simple wet or dry chemical agent, such as potassium carbonate or monoammonium phosphate.