The new age in Flame Detection


In a hazardous environment like a petrochemical processing plant or an oil and gas facility, failing to detect gas leaks can result in catastrophic events. That’s why industries involved in processing, storing, manufacturing, and transporting flammable materials rely on fire monitoring systems to prevent workplace fire accidents.

Principles of Flame Detection – How do they work?

Fires radiate over the entire spectrum

• Ultraviolet, Visible and Infra-Red

High Intensity especially in IR (40kW for standard fire [0.1 m2 n-heptane])

Low frequency radiation flicker, typically 1-10 Hz.

Environmental constraints & false alarm sources help us select one technology over another……

Optical Flame Detector Technologies

Optical flame detectors provide the fastest detection of a flammable liquid or gaseous

fire in the early ignition stage. Today’s optical flame detectors are offered in a variety of dependable, flame sensing technologies as described below.

Ultraviolet (UV) flame detectors provide dependable, ultra-highspeed detection to virtually all fires. In general, they operate by counting the electron discharge from each UV photon. Their sensitivity to radiation from welding, lightning, X-rays, and other nuclear sources may limit them. They can also be adversely affected by airborne contaminants.

Multi-Spectrum Infrared flame detectors have the ideal combination of flame

sensitivity and false alarm rejection. Most MultiSpectrum Infrared (MIR) optical flame

detectors utilize three sensors at three different infrared wavelengths. Some MIR

detectors have sophisticated software algorithms which provide the ability to ignore

modulated black bodies and other non-fire sources in its field of view yet still retain its alarm capabilities.

Intelligent visual flame detection (iVFD) principle ensures maximum false alarm immunity and eliminates sensitivity loss in the presence of modulated sunlight and black body heat.

The detector operates ‘standalone’ or can be integrated with an FM Approved control system. Detectors are typically located throughout the installation to achieve specific detection coverage and ensure that site performance requirements are met. Each detector can provide live video images and fire alarm/fault signalling to the control equipment. Each detector incorporates within a single unit an imaging device, digital signal processing hardware, and firmware algorithms to process live video images and recognise flame features

An Intelligent visual flame detection (iVFD) is

• A flame detector designed to detect small fires.

• A flame detector designed to detect large fires.

• A flame detector designed to detect fires when sunny.

• A flame detector designed to detect fires when it is raining.

Intelligent visual flame detectors (iVFD) consistently demonstrate the highest immunity to false alarms in areas where flare reflections and / or hot CO2 emissions may cause other technologies to false alarm.

The author is an active blogger and renowned for providing innovative solutions such as flame detectors, industrial sirens and beacons, broken bag detectors, turbidity analysers in Australia etc. to the Oil & Gas, Chemical, Petrochemical, Manufacturing, Food, Pharmaceutical, Water Treatment, and many other industries across Australia and New Zealand. Visit for more details.

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