What are the Different Types of Flame Detectors?

Fuel truck on highway for transport fuel to petrochemical oil refinery

As someone looking to install flame detectors, knowing the different types available is key to picking the right one for your facility. There are several common options to consider based on your specific fire hazards and goals. Throughout this post, we’ll explore those different detector varieties in depth so you can make an informed decision. Our team at Highmark Analytics has over 20 years of experience guiding clients to flame detectors that suit their distinct needs. Keep reading as we break down all you need to know about these important fire protection devices.

What is a Flame Detector?

A flame detector is a specialized sensor that detects and responds to fires as soon as combustible materials ignite into flames. The devices monitor the unique wavelengths of light emitted at the earliest stages and throughout the progression of a fire. Once a flame signal is validated, the detectors alert stakeholders through audible and visual alarms and connected suppression systems, managing impacts proactively. These real-time monitoring and alerting capacities make these sensors critical assets for advanced fire protection.

Why Are Flame Detectors Important?

Flame detectors are important because they form the first line of defense when fires start, capable of noticing and notifying before hazards intensify. The early alerts allow facilities to initiate emergency response, suppression, and evacuation procedures to best contain fires and protect physical assets and human lives. Additionally, integrated outputs can automate safety measures like isolating fuel sources and actuating extinguishing systems, further minimizing associated risks. By quickly perceiving and engaging with fires, losses are mitigated at the most crucial moment.

Ultraviolet (UV) Flame Detectors

UV flame detectors sense UV radiation emitted in the earliest stages of a fire. This allows detection mere milliseconds after ignition, faster than other varieties. They work for most flame types, especially for hazards involving metals, halogens, and hydrocarbons. For indoor use only, UV detectors cover distances up to 50 feet reliably. Their quick triggering can mean false alarms, so time delays help avoid excess alerts. A UV detector likely fits the bill if the fast reaction is essential and your setting is shielded from outdoor UV sources.

Infrared (IR) Flame Detectors

IR flame detectors notice the unique infrared patterns that hot gases release during combustion. Needing actual flame flickering first, IR detectors respond after a fire develops further along. While capable of longer distances of up to 200 feet, false alarms can occur from similar IR wavelengths like ovens and heat lamps. IR types strike a balance between range and accuracy but require the right environment to avoid false triggers.

Ultraviolet/Infrared (UV/IR) Flame Detectors

As you might guess, UV/IR detectors utilize separate UV and IR sensors together for dual-spectrum flame detection. Covering both strengths, this combo enhances response time and provides heightened immunity to non-fire radiation sources. The joined components still detect either signal independently but cross-reference to verify accuracy, rejecting false alarms. UV/IR can serve indoor and outdoor spots needing speed, range, and precision with perks from the two technologies.

Multi-Spectrum Infrared (MSIR) Flame Detectors

Taking IR further, MSIR flame detectors utilize multiple infrared wavelengths to better discern fires. Able to see specific hot gas patterns through even the densest smoke, MSIR types work efficiently over long and variable ranges up to 200 feet. Advanced microprocessors analyze signals rapidly with expansive sets of fire descriptors, avoiding incorrect triggers thoroughly. For long distances and extreme cases of occlusion and confusion, MSIR units lead the pack.

Visual Flame Imaging Detectors

Lastly, visual flame detectors incorporate video imaging with intelligent analytics software to visually confirm fires. Examining live imagery allows responding directly to flickering shapes and behaviors unique to open flames. Since software confirms visible phenomena, these don’t detect invisible fires like hydrogen. However, visual confirmation thoroughly prevents false alarms while operating beyond 50 feet. If your priorities center on unobscured verification and mid-range breadth, visual detectors can provide that reliably.

Choosing What Fits Your Facility

When selecting a detector, first know your potential fire types and how fast a response needs to happen. Then, factor in range, obstruction, false alarm risks, and triggering priorities. Finally, match a unit fulfilling your specifications at an optimal balance. Connecting with specialists like us guarantees the process goes smoothly from start to finish. With deep experience installing solutions worldwide, we fully educate clients on the pros, cons, and possible customizations. Reach out anytime to start a conversation about securing your facility with the ideal detection!

Consider Your Specific Fire Hazards

Take stock of combustibles around your space to predict realistic ignition possibilities. What fuels exist, in what quantities, at what exposures, and under what containment protocols? Sorry for all the questions, but being thorough here means matching risks to the right detector sensitivities later. We help clients chart this landscape precisely to figure out ideal pairings.

Evaluate Your Facility Layout and Dimensions

Equally key is charting your sizing, shape, and potential barriers—detection range, unobstructed sight lines, and positioning ultimately facilitate or inhibit sensor types differently. Carefully auditing these elements before choosing lets us configure devices and locations for full, responsive coverage. It’s the foundation of designing an effective system.

Define Your Ideal Alarm Activation Threshold

Lastly, what constitutes an emergency to activate response protocols? Consider how sensitive and which priority, accuracy, or other factors that threshold based on your risks. Defining this philosophy then equates to choosing detectors accordingly: more sensitive for the fastest alerts or highly discerning to avoid false alarms, for example. Review the options above through this lens.

Consult the Experts for Personalized Detector Selection

Whether ultraviolet, infrared, multi-spectrum, or other detector types, fully grasping your needs comes first for a fire response that fits. Sifting through detector types alone leaves guesswork. Connecting with specialists like Highmark Analytics removes all doubt. Highmark Analytics’ 20+ years of securing facilities worldwide mean tailored solutions for every situation and budget. Consult our system design specialists anytime for personalized guidance in identifying and installing the perfect flame detector sensor. We’re here to protect what matters most to you.