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- fire products for every application

Published:  01 January, 2007

In April 2005, United Technologies Corporation acquired the Kidde plc group of companies for approximately $3b.  It then combined the non-aerospace companies with its Chubb operating segment as a new UTC Division, UTC Fire & Security. This Division employs some 52,000 people in total across 25 countries.

In April 2005, United Technologies Corporation acquired the Kidde plc group of companies for approximately $3b.  It then combined the non-aerospace companies with its Chubb operating segment as a new UTC Division, UTC Fire & Security. This Division employs some 52,000 people in total across 25 countries.
  “The acquisition of Kidde significantly changed UTC’s size and profile in fire protection,” commented Chris Milburn. “Kidde’s fire product technologies and its strong presence in the U.S. complemented the existing Chubb systems and service network exceptionally well.”
In Europe, the Fire Safety businesses have a combined sales turnover of close to $1.5b and, with some 9,000 employees, operate in almost every European country. In addition to the Kidde and Chubb brands, use is made of strong local brands, such as Sicli in France, Parsi in Spain, Autronica in Norway and Ajax in Holland, as well as the use of strong product brands such as Angus Fire, GW, Ginge-Kerr and No-Ha.
“We now have strength in depth across Europe, both in supply of product through distribution and in supply and service of systems directly to an end-user customer base”, says Chris Milburn. 
“The merger has also enabled us to justify forming dedicated centres of excellence for our product ranges, bringing together R&D as well as manufacturing in a much more efficient manner.”
The Buncefield response
Certainly, the new UTC Fire & Security EMEA operation, and, in particular, the UK Kidde Products Angus Fire operation was to receive a publicity boost in an unexpected way following the UK’s Buncefield disaster in December 2005 which raised the profile on firefighting foams.
A fire which began at the Buncefield fuel depot, near Hemel Hempstead, triggered a series of explosions which injured 43 people and caused 2,000 residents to be evacuated from their homes.
Most serious of all, 20 out of 26 fuel storage tanks holding 60m gallons of diesel, kerosene and unleaded petrol buckled and burned in 200ft orange flames. The 100-acre distribution centre, the fifth-largest in the UK, was almost entirely ablaze.
What swiftly emerged was that the Hertfordshire Fire Service lacked the necessary stocks of foam to fight the fire and had to call in 250,000 litres of foam concentrate from other sources, most notably from the Kidde Products Angus Fire operation.
“Thanks to our emergency stock cover programme, we were able to get foam stocks to the firefighters within hours of the fire start. We maintained and kept those stocks coming so that the firefighters were able to keep fighting the enormous fires, preventing their further development.
“It took over three days of continuous application before the fire was extinguished,” comments Chris Millburn.
“We were certainly greatly assisted by having our own personnel onsite - Martin Hough (Sales Manager) was the key interface, helped by Mike Willson (Foam Product Manager).
“We were able to supply the bulk of the agent required from the UK operation, but we had our plants in France and Italy also on standby, one of the benefits of being part of a European team. We probably have the largest foam manufacturing capability across Europe.”
Clean agent supplier
UTC Fire & Security EMEA is not only famous for its foams under the Angus Fire, Eau et Feu and Silvani names. The company is the market leader in clean agent fire suppression system technology. It boasts that it can offer the most extensive range of clean agent fire suppression systems including systems with the new 3M Novec 1230 Fire Protection Fluid.
“Novec is just the latest addition to the company’s wide range of clean agent systems”, Chris points out.
“UTCFS has invested in developing Novec 1230 systems because it recognises that there are a range of customers who will benefit from its unique properties. It has a low Global Warming Potential (GWP) rating of just one, an Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) of zero and a low atmospheric lifetime of only five days.
“Of course it meets all the relevant approvals,” Chris says. “We currently offer three different Novec 1230 fluid systems to suit a wide variety of applications. A standard 25 bar system for industrial applications, a specialist 25 bar marine system and a 42 bar system that offers increased design flexibility for larger or more complex facilities,” says Chris.
Chris concluded by saying “Most of our companies have histories going back 50 to 100 years. Angus Fire, the supplier of the Buncefield foam, can trace its history back to 1788.
“I think it is exciting to think that, with this new investment by UTC Fire & Security, this gives us confidence that these companies can continue to be leading the way in providing the best in fire protection for generations of customers to come in the future.”

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