Press Releases

Monitoring a One Thousand Acre Lumber Mill
Temple-Inland Forest Products Corporation
Pineland, Texas

FPC Magazine
Fire Protection Contractor
November 2002

Bob DeFreese of S&S Sprinkler was approached by Mike Joy of the Temple-Inland Forest Products Corp. Pineland, Texas facility to add centralized monitoring to the mill’s extensive sprinkler system. Each separate key location at this mill which covers 1,000 acres, had excellent individual sprinkler systems installed by S&S five years ago. Every location included a valve house at which all flow controls were located. However, there was no automatic reporting of events at these valve houses to any central locations that were manned on a continual basis. Given this, the valve houses had to be visited regularly and regular visits meant expensive use of personnel. Further, the risk existed that an event could occur that did not get the immediate attention that might have been required.

Rectifying this situation could be accomplished by electronic means. Both Bob and Mike wanted a flexible system with a Proprietary Supervising Station listing as called for by the National Fire Code. Drawing on his prior experience, Bob contacted Keltron knowing that we had a properly listed UL-listed system with the flexibility required. In addition to NFPA 72 Style 7 monitoring, three monitoring locations were required.

This large lumber mill had a sophisticated data communication system in place and therefore, an excellent network of fiber optic cables had been installed. Enough fiber strands existed to allow use of fiber dedicated for the sole use of the Keltron monitoring system. All of our PETs (Partyline Event Transceivers) have two independent ports which, given the available fiber, made a Style 7 installation straightforward. As most readers know, Style 7 means that a single cable break does not reduce the monitoring capability of the system. The central Partyline Controller has two independent ports and each PET can always be reached via one of these ports despite a break in the cable. Using “in-place” fiber optics virtually eliminated cabling costs and associated labor.

Used for monitoring the inputs at the remote valve houses were PETs that accept EOL resistor inputs. Note that each input can be configured to accept two contacts, which essentially doubles the input capacity. These PETs were AC units, which means that they run on 110VAC and charge a battery. Both battery and AC line failures are monitored and report to central immediately.

Located at the operations building is the system central processor with a display, which can be monitored by the personnel that are there continuously. All information available at the processor is also available at two remote sites. An operator station with video display is located at the main office building, which has personnel available during business hours. In addition, an operator station with video and printer is located in the guard shack, which has personnel in attendance continuously. The interconnections for these three locations are via fiber.

Use of fiber optic communications for all connections greatly reduces sensitivity to noise as well as lightning and consequential damage. In fact, the system has been in operation for over one year with no problems or service interruptions whatsoever.