An integrated early-warning fire protection and security solution for Vita Baltic International, one of Europe’s biggest foam manufacturers, has brought peace of mind to the company at their Lithuania-based premises.
As one of the leading manufacturers of flexible polyurethane foam in Europe, The Vita Group has a number of production sites and UAB Vita Baltic International operates the largest foam manufacturing plant in the Baltics.
Its products are used in a number of applications including soft furnishings, mattresses and pillows, orthopaedic accessories and sound insulation products.
At its large site just outside the village of Jurgiškiai in a rural area of the Alytus District Municipality, Vita Baltic International manufactures, stores and distributes large foam blocks, serving a number of industries across Europe. The factory covers the area of more than seven full-size football fields. The company is focused on the sustainability of its foam and the site, which is powered entirely by renewable energy, also includes an innovation centre.
When reviewing their safety and security systems, the company wanted a partner they could trust to give them the peace of mind that their people, site and assets were safe.
Early-warning fire safety
G4S designed an innovative early-warning fire system and worked with the local Fire Brigade to test and implement it.
‘Making sure their workplaces are safe and cause zero harm was central to Vita Baltic International’s requirement for their safety and security solution,’ said Rimantas Grašys, Head of the Security Innovation and Technology Division for G4S in Lithuania. ‘They have had challenges in the past with fire risks and they knew that there must be a better way of doing things.’
During the production process, chemicals are combined to make the foam, which expands significantly as it is heated to temperatures of up to 160°C. Vita Baltic International creates different densities of foam, ranging from heavier building materials to soft furnishings, which have a much higher air content.
‘The most dangerous part of the process is the 20-hour period after manufacture when the foam blocks are left to cool but remain highly-flammable,’ said Rimantas. ‘They wanted an innovative way of spotting a potential risk before it’s too late. The cubes can feel cold to the touch on the outside, while the temperature is still close to 100°C at the centre.’
Thermal imaging cameras
G4S installed an integrated fire and security system which not only monitors the production line but also the foam blocks themselves, using more than 30 thermal imaging cameras in the designated 10 cold store cooling areas post production.
‘Our thermal cameras pick up quickly – and before it’s too late – the signs that a foam block may be at risk of self-ignition and our officers can raise the alarm,’ said Edvinas Supranavičius, Sales Manager at Alytus G4S. Edvinas is proud of having the opportunity to implement his innovative idea in the real-world.
‘The cameras analyse changes in temperatures and generate an alarm if those parameters are exceeded. We can also identify the irregular temperature of a foam block, which can be an early sign it is heating from the inside and we can react before even any smoke appears.’
Each cooling zone is broken up with special firewalls to reduce the risk of a fire spreading and getting out of control. Hydrogen gas detectors and heat monitoring strips are also integrated into the solution. If a fire breaks out in one area, it can be quickly isolated. From an on-site control room, G4S security professionals observe the data from a safe distance and can react quickly.
Put to the test
‘Following the installation of our intelligent safety system, it was put to the test early on and it worked perfectly, preventing a fire. Our security evacuated everyone quickly and safely while the cube was extinguished,’ said Edvinas.
The site is a busy and dangerous one and therefore Vita Baltic International wanted its solution to have a sharp focus on all aspects of safety. On average 50 lorries arrive at the site daily to pick up deliveries to be sent out to customers across the continent.
G4S has installed video cameras on the perimeter as well as a card access control system to ensure that employees can enter the site quickly. Visitors are met at the gate by an officer and are escorted into the building where they are required to put on special safety boots and vests.
‘Security is a top priority for us and our employees and a lot of attention is paid to it,’ said Renatas Degulis, General Manager for UAB Vita Baltic International. ‘We have worked with G4S since 2011, they are a reliable partner: both in physical protection and in the modernisation and maintenance of security and fire protection systems. Together we have developed a number of innovative solutions.
‘One of the most successful is the replacement of fire address sensors with smoke barriers and a bypass and communication system for physical protection.’
For more information, go to www.g4s.com