AMFE and E-Bulb in the professional rail industry magazine "DER NAHVERKEHR 4/21"

An innovative and device-integrated fire protection concept from the manufacturing industry helps mitigating the risk to the health of passengers as well as for possible economic consequences of fire-related business interruptions for operators and insurers.

Electricity is dangerous. Every 2 minutes there is a fire in Germany for which fire departments are called. Every third fire is triggered by electricity, electric systems or devices (source: Institute for Damage Research IFS , Kiel 2020). It can be assumed, however, that there are many more fires, which, however, often go unreported for fear of possible consequences such as investigations, rising insurance premiums or because greater damage could be avoided by quick and skillful intervention by the people present. In the public transportation, recent events such as the station fire of the historic underground station “Schlossstrasse” in Berlin on January 21 of this year, the train on fire of the Bodensee-Oberschwabenbahn on March 3, 2021 or the fire in the German S-Bahn in Karlsruhe on March 12, 2021 show how ubiquitous these events are. Often it is only small causes that result in these big fires, causing considerable damage and downtime, which means that entire stations have to be evacuated and trains stop unplanned. The effects are often devastating - not only for the people affected, but especially also for the companies that are economically connected to such an event. Costs for repair, replacement of damaged equipment or devices are often the smaller of the bad things - by far the greatest damage is regularly caused by the resulting business interruptions. In 2020, for the fifth time in a row, the well-known risk barometer of the Allianz Insurance Group lists “business interruption” as by far the greatest risk for companies in the German-speaking region. Almost all fires start small. If a fire that is just starting could be detected and extinguished as early as possible and at the point of origin, many major fires could be prevented in the first place. The innovative concept of “device-integrated fire protection” takes this approach. Thanks to compact mini fire extinguishing devices (e.g. AMFE or E-Bulb), which are so small that they can be installed directly inside electrical control cabinets, operating devices or technology boxes, a fire that develops there can be detected very early on, thermally or by means of alternative sensors, and suppressed effectively while still very small and inside an enclosure. By integrating such small extinguishing devices, certified in accordance to ARGE, a simplified railway approval process can be followed by applying the EN45545-2 (4.2 -h). This approach as a compensatory measure enables manufacturers and operators to consider alternatives when choosing industrial components used in a dedicated technology cabinet (possibly even without railway approval), which often enables further economic advantages. For suppliers and manufacturers of rail vehicles and component manufacturers, the use of products for integrated fire protection provides them with the opportunity to get their new developments through the required approval processes more rapidly. With the need for increasingly competitive products, efficient train operations and the provision of a modern passenger experience, rail vehicle manufacturers, operators and suppliers face the challenge of ensuring operational reliability, being attractive in terms of economy and content, and being able to integrate new offers easily and safely. Device-integrated fire protection is therefore becoming increasingly important. Applying only the minimum related to the pertinent fire protection standards is no guarantee that such company will survive in the long term, or even prevail against stronger competitive pressure. The use of modern technologies pose a great opportunity for survival in the market, because customers are demanding more and more convenience and a digital user experience, operators need end-to-end digitization and manufacturers have to integrate the latest technologies, if they want to continue to exist in the market. Fire risk, based on all the electrical and electronic systems and devices necessary to meet these demands, is significant and can only be effectively countered by innovative solutions that go beyond the requirements of the existing standards and the traditional fire protection concept. It is not possible to reduce the risk of fire to zero per-se. The adaptation of device-integrated fire protection offers economically chances to expand the existing fire protection concept in order to take into account the requirements that result from the use of modern technologies. Earliest possible fire detection and suppression, directly at the point of origin of a fire, not only enables the possible reduction of approval times and costs for alternative solutions, but also makes sure new technology such as digital media technology can be used in certain locations, while preventing or minimizing possible collateral fire damage. Risk mitigation through device-integrated fire protection: safety for passengers, visitors and for protection against the economic consequences from electrical fires for manufacturers and operators. ... a concept that pays off for everyone!