Nov 13, 2017
Data Center Chooses DIMES Digital Measurement System for Inert Gas
To Monitor Cylinder Contents 24/7/365 to Ensure System Readiness
Data Center Chooses DIMES Digital Measurement System for Inert Gas

Situation
A 4,500 square meter data center housing 40,000 servers has installed a Rotarex Firetec INEREX® inert gas fire suppression system. Nine fire protection zones, including under floor protection, have been established. The inert gas system is served by 27 gas cylinders for the biggest room.

Challenge
This data center houses sensitive information for a well-known telecommunications company. Uninterrupted service is critical to its business continuity. The data center's facility managers are aware that 1-2 data center fires occur in the U.S. every month and that 6% of infrastructure failures in data centers are due to fire. Downtime cost caused by fire is calculated to be approximately $7,300 per minute on average.

The data center facility managers chose the Firetec INEREX® system as the first line of fire protection because it is certified to be effective and, when activated, there is little or no damage to vital equipment and no need for extensive clean-up.

The data center operators were concerned that the activation of a liquid-based suppression system would damage vital equipment and create an electrocution risk. They believed that a water system discharge could be catastrophic, causing significant downtime and threatening business continuity, so they wanted to be sure to avoid it. It became a priority for them to find a way to ensure the inert gas fire suppression system would perform as required 24/7/365.

Analysis
The data center's inert gas fire suppression system was rigorously analyzed to determine potential risks. Managers concluded that the greatest risk was not within the INEREX fire protection system itself, but at the inert gas cylinders. The system only works effectively if all cylinders are charged to the minimum required level to reach the design concentration. If there is a leak, the system will not work properly.

Functional Requirements
The facility managers began looking for a product that would monitor the inert gas cylinder contents 24/7/365 to ensure they remain fully charged and ready. The product needed to meet these functional requirements:

  • Highly accurate
  • Proactive warnings and alarm
  • Adjusts for impact of temperature on gas readings
  • User friendly
  • Easy to maintain

Solution
Managers evaluated leading solutions and chose the DIMES digital measurement system from Rotarex Firetec.

Digital Technology
Using digital sensors and an integrated microchip, DIMES measures cylinder pressure and temperature. It then uses a proprietary algorithm to calculate the exact cylinder contents.

Highly Accurate
DIMES employs custom sensors and real gas behavior maps to generate complex algorithms — plus advanced engineering is used to integrate components. DIMES is 99.9% accurate.

Proactive Warnings and Alarm
DIMES proactively sends a warning signal in the event of a leak or problem. Users can program the system to send an alarm when the pressure drops below a level they determine.

Adjust for Temperature Variation
Pressure within an inert gas cylinder fluctuates with changes in temperature and very hot or very cold conditions, as could occur in data center environments. Traditional pressure gauges cannot accurately adjust for temperature fluctuations or extremes. DIMES calculates the real gas dynamics at every temperature, giving an extremely accurate reading of cylinder contents at all temperatures.

User Friendly
DIMES uses software with a user-friendly interface that is easy to use to control from a remote location. It also provides calibration data, cylinder information, specifications and maintenance schedules that can be exported to external devices as a PDF.

Easy to Maintain
Maintenance is faster and easier and users can visually verify cylinder contents at a glance with greater accuracy. DIMES replaces passive pressure gauges for more accurate and pro-active monitoring as well as secondary functionalities.

Result
The data center successfully deployed DIMES for inert gas fire suppression systems from Rotarex Firetec. Since installation, DIMES has increased staff productivity and performed exactly as required. In addition, it has not needed any maintenance. The data center operators stated that the extra layer of fire protection provided by DIMES enables them to report to the financial institution management that they have put a state-of-the-art INEREX® inert gas fire suppression system in place that will be fully operational at all times.

author
Paul Delecourt
Paul Delecourt
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