Finding a Flare for Fire Protection in Europe

Learn how technology such as wireless detection and aspiration smoke detection are impacting Europe.

I recently returned from Essen, Germany, where I attended Essen Security 2014. This expo is held every two years at the Messe Essen and is billed as the “World’s Leading Trade Fair for Security and Fire Prevention.”

This was my second time attending the expo, and I was slightly more prepared for what I wished to cover during my time there. In 2012 I was struck by several technologies’ presence on the show floor:

  • Wireless detection
  • Aspiration smoke detection
  • Video image detection for fire and smoke
  • Limited coverage for GSM or CMDA

This time around I hoped to see how these technologies who being addressed two years later, as well as what new technologies were being shown. Here’s what I can report.

Wireless Detection: The majority of the manufacturers who were exhibiting had a wireless detection product. These for the most part were incorporating a mesh radio topology for detection devices to report back to the control. All of the wireless devices were addressable, allowing for the exact location of the alarm to be annunciated at the controls and annunciators. The annunciators were also wireless. Various types of wireless smoke detectors were being displayed, with multiple criteria being a predominant method, through the detection of visible smoke, CO and temperature. Most of these detectors are employing a lithium battery with a quoted battery life of 10 years.

One manufacturer, Ei Electronics GmbH, highlighted its fire + gas detection product line that allows the installer or service technician to obtain the battery usage and sensitivity levels via a wireless link to a tablet or smartphone.

Aspiration Smoke Detection: As with wireless detection, most of the manufacturers had one or more aspiration smoke detection systems on hand. I saw more examples of systems here than I did in 2012. In addition to the larger systems that cover greater space, there were a number of modules being shown that are designed for smaller spaces, and that do not re-quire a lot of piping within the area being protected.

In addition to visiting with manufacturers that are already in the United States, I found that NSC Sicherheitstechnik GmbH ( offered a unique product, its multi-channel rauchansaugmelder (aspirating smoke detector). Multiple single-pipe systems are connected to a processor that pro-vides an indication of which line goes into an alarm state. This would deliver a more exact indication of where the incipient fire is located.

Video Image Detection (VID) for Fire and Smoke: This was a bit of a surprise. In 2012 I saw at least five different systems that were being displayed. In 2014, I could only find two, and both of these were rather buried within their associated booths. This intrigued me, because I was under the general impression that VID was to be the next big thing. While inquiring more about the technology, I learned that these systems are still having a number of issues related to software and algorithms that are required to allow the system to be able to detect the signatures of a flame or smoke. Though this might be a bit of a setback, I still do not see this technology fading off into the sunset just yet.

Limited Coverage for GSM and CDMA: Two years ago I only found one manufacturer that was showing any type of product for the transmission of signals from the protected premise to an off-site monitoring center. That was AES from the U.S. This year there were two more manufacturers that were showing GSM transmission equipment.

Expect Wireless to Migrate Here in Time

The U.S. State Department recognizes more than 190 separate countries. Alarm Detection Systems Founder/CEO (and SSI Hall of Famer) Robert Bonifas has visited all of them, and he could probably confirm that each of these nations has a different way of looking at fire protection, detection and monitoring. While a number of countries do use various NFPA codes and standards, Europe does not. In the U.S. we also use standards from UL, while the European Union member states use European Standards (EN) with each country adding local requirements. In speaking with a number of companies at Essen Security, they say they find EN less costly to develop products meeting such requirements. To bring products to the U.S., UL standards must also be followed; EN standards are generally a little more relaxed.

If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

About the Author


Shane Clary, Ph.D., is Security Sales & Integration’s “Fire Side Chat” columnist. He has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co.

Security Is Our Business, Too

For professionals who recommend, buy and install all types of electronic security equipment, a free subscription to Commercial Integrator + Security Sales & Integration is like having a consultant on call. You’ll find an ideal balance of technology and business coverage, with installation tips and techniques for products and updates on how to add to your bottom line.

A FREE subscription to the top resource for security and integration industry will prove to be invaluable.

Subscribe Today!

Get Our Newsletters