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New Hochiki system cuts the cost of smoke detection

12 February 2008

Hochiki Europe has unveiled a new high-sensitivity smoke detection system that it predicts will make the technology available to a much wider range of businesses and applications. Called FIRElink, the new system incorporates advanced semiconductor laser and electronics technology into a package that is claimed to show substantial savings in whole-life cost when compared with other systems on the market.

Hochiki is citing a wide variety of applications for FIRElink. These include: smaller non-compartmentalised rooms; warehouses with racking; and electronic and electromechanical equipment. Two versions have so far been introduced – the single-pipe FIRElink-25, and the two- pipe FIRElink-100. The main difference between the two systems is the recommended sampling pipe length and the recommended number of sampling holes in each pipe. FIRElink-25’s recommended pipe length for still air is 50 metres, with 10 sampling holes; FIRElink-100 increases this distance to 100 metres with 25 holes.

An explosion-proof version is also available, which provides reliable high sensitivity smoke detection for hazardous areas. The detector is supplied in a cast aluminium enclosure.

For all of its sophistication, FIRElink does away with need for complex and expensive setting up. This is because FIRElink’s sensing technology ensures that the detector operates constantly at the sensitivity required by the protected environment. The system configures itself to provide the high sensitivity required for a “clean” environment, such as a computer suite, or the reduced sensitivity that is appropriate to a smoky or polluted atmosphere.

This high degree of sensitivity is achieved by using what is called “laser light scattering mass detection and particle evaluation”, where the laser beam is diffracted very slightly by smoke particles. This technology is sensitive to a wide range of particle sizes; it also accounts for the system’s reliability and the absence of false alarms, as it is able to discriminate between smoke and dust particles in the atmosphere.

Detectors can be mounted into a piped docking station and be fitted immediately prior to commissioning the system, so avoiding the possibility of damage while installation is underway.

As many high sensitivity smoke detection systems are installed in buildings where conventional detectors are aesthetically unacceptable – such as museums, art galleries and heritage buildings – a major plus point in the new system’s favour is the compactness of the detector. When mounted into its docking station, the single-pipe detector measures just 138mm by 205mm by 84mm. The detector can be interfaced onto an Hochiki ESP – Enhanced Systems Protocol – analogue addressable loop, using an Hochiki CHQ-DIM Dual Input Module.

Remote monitoring of the system at a fire detection and alarm panel, or on a building management system control panel is made possible by the inclusion of volt-free “fire 1” and “fault” relay outputs, and RS485 communication is built-in for easy networking. The system incorporates two alarm levels – Fire and Fault – and two additional optional levels can be incorporated if a relay card or APIC – Addressable Protocol Interface Card – is fitted.

Hochiki Europe (UK) has been active in the fire safety market since 1986, and is a subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Hochiki Corporation that was founded in 1918. Today, Hochiki Europe is headquartered in Gillingham in Kent and designs, manufactures and markets a broad selection of premium-build fire detection and alarm products and systems throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Further information is available by telephone on +44 (0)1634 260133, or via email at The company’s website is at

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