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Patol protects major retailer’s investment in Fulfilment Centres

04 October 2022

ONE OF the UK’s best known supermarket chains has chosen Patol Ltd and Securiton Aspirating Smoke Detection (ASD) to protect a significant investment made by the business in a bid to expand its online offer.

Fulfilment Centres are the latest development designed to help “revolutionise” online operations as the retailer seeks to meet a huge growth in Internet-based sales. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a sales increase of almost 60% in the run-up to Christmas 2021 compared to 2019.

Against this backdrop, and with a general upturn in online grocery shopping, the supermarket has embarked on a programme designed to develop a number of facilities throughout the UK, with dedicated automatic picking areas completely separate to the customer areas introduced in its larger stores where excess space is available.

Protecting these facilities from the threat of fire is of paramount importance. That being so, Alarmtec – the dedicated supplier of fire alarm systems for over 40 years now – approached Patol (a company that has specialised in the design, manufacture and supply of fire safety products and services for more than 50 years) to tackle the project.

Turnkey solution

Alarmtec had employed ASD in a large warehouse project and recognised the potential it offered in meeting the needs of the Fulfilment Centres. Alarmtec and Patol worked together, along with the retailer’s own dedicated engineering department, to design and develop a turnkey solution.

The first store to be addressed is located in West Bromwich and a template was created for the fire alarm system to protect the Fulfilment Centre. Patol’s ASD was chosen to provide early warning of fire, with the pipework installed throughout the ceiling voids and racking areas. The detectors are located to allow easy access for maintenance, which would have proved difficult with conventional point detectors.

The early warning provided by ASD has also proven to be a significant advantage given the increased fire load represented by the electrical motors driving the automated conveyors at the heart of the picking area. The ASD is supported by Patol’s digital Linear Heat Detection Cable, which serves to monitor the chillers and freezers.

The air sampling pipework and detectors facilitate dedicated protection of the West Bromwich Fulfilment Centre area, which is networked to the store’s existing fire control panel and sprinkler system. The success of the West Bromwich facility provided the blueprint to roll-out the solution to other stores.

Meeting the challenge

Jeff Hickling (head of installation at Alarmtec) commented: “We recognised that ASD provided the ideal solution to meet the challenges of the project, with its ability to identify a potential fire at the earliest possible opportunity. Patol’s technology has provided the performance we were looking for and is underpinned by an excellent level of service.”

The Fulfilment Centres are designed to allow faster picking and quicker deliveries, adding to an extensive network of distribution facilities and in-store picking. They expand the retailer’s online capacity, providing customers with more home delivery slots, as well as reducing congestion on shop floors.

*Further information on Patol’s fire protection solutions can be accessed online at www.patol.co.uk