SimplexGrinnell: New notification appliances ‘revolutionary’

Simplex TrueAlert ES uses addressable technology to improve protection, simplify installation
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Monday, June 10, 2013

CHICAGO—SimplexGrinnell, a Tyco fire and life safety company, says it has “reinvented every aspect of notification” in bringing to market a new family of intelligent notification appliances it’s showcasing at the 2013 NFPA Conference & Expo here this week.

“We think it's a revolutionary development in the industry that will really change the nature of notification,” Chris Woodcock, director of marketing communications for Westminster, Mass.-based SimplexGrinnell, told Security Systems News.

The Simplex TrueAlert ES brings addressable technology to the systems that warn building occupants in the event of a fire or other emergencies, the company said. Woodcock said the series would benefit engineers, installers and end users by making “a huge difference in better protection, more efficient installation and lower costs over the life cycle of an owner’s use of the system.”

Courtney Santmire, senior commercialization manager for SimplexGrinnell, told SSN that the new series also “showcases SimplexGrinnell in its relationship with Tyco Fire Protection Products as a total solutions provider.”

Tyco became a pure-play fire protection and security company last fall, shedding its ADT home security and flow control businesses. SimplexGrinnell, a fire and life safety company with 1 million customers, 9,500 employees and150 company-owned offices in the United States and Canada, is one of the key components of Tyco. SimplexGrinnell has said it expects to benefit from the ability of the leaner Tyco to home in on fire and security.

The TrueAlert ES is the latest addition to SimplexGrinnell’s suite of Web-enabled eService solutions. “Each TrueAlert ES device is electronically supervised, built with the intelligence to continuously report its status to a Simplex 4100ES fire alarm control panel,” the company said.

John Haynes, global director of product management for Tyco Fire Protection Products, told SSN about some of the features that make the series stand out.

“We believe the new appliances can cut installation costs by up to 50 percent compared to conventional notification,” he said.

“When I say conventional, I’m talking about a non-addressable notification system where you would have group of appliances on a single circuit where they’re either on or off,” Haynes continued. “If there’s an alarm, they all go off. There’s no ability with conventional notification to control each notification appliance independently.”

But with this intelligent notification system, he said, each appliance has its own address.

In addition, he said, there’s a higher operating voltage with these appliances. Because of that, Haynes, explained, “we can go up to 300 percent of the circuit lengths with conventional appliances [and] we can T-tap them. So instead of having to run a continuous circuit, with TrueAlert addressable you can actually have a branched network of appliances.”

The high-voltage design, he said, means less-expensive, lower-gauge wire can be used, “and we’ve also eliminated the requirement for shielded wire, so basically again the contractor can go with a lower-cost wire to install the system.”

Also, he said a new mounting plate makes it “much easier for a contractor on a ladder to be able to put these appliances up safely and to check them out before actually powering up the system.”

SimplexGrinnell also provides a tool which the installer uses before the panel is installed to trouble-shoot for any kind of wiring faults. The tool is not new, he said, but it previously was used only on detection circuits and “it has been modified now to allow it to be used with notification circuits as well.”

The series also has a “revolutionary self-testing capability,” the company said. “A pass-fail signal is sent to the Simplex 4100ES panel when audible and visible devices are tested. Facility managers have the assurance of knowing the devices are working, and testing is programmable.”

Haynes explained, “So instead of having people in overnight to do testing and paying them overtime, we can actually do this self-test and if there is a problem with an individual appliance, the panel now has the ability to say, ‘OK, this appliance needs to be changed or checked, and everything else checks out.’ So that’s going to be a huge impact for building owners.”