WAGNER has provided an active fire prevention solution for the world’s largest high-bay freezer warehouse in Richland, Washington, USA. The company’s figures are impressive: three protected areas with a total volume of over 1.05 million m3, 35- meter-high shelving systems and 117,000 pallet storage spaces. Commissioned in July of 2015, the warehouse stores and unloads around ±900,000 tons of frozen food per year – primarily French-fries – with an order volume of over US $100 million. OxyReduct® was selected as the fire protection solution with the system being proactive by suppressing fire before it has a chance to become established.

The logistically efficient clad-rack structures
are not yet as common in the US as they are
in Europe.

The sky’s the limit with cuttingedge deep freeze storage

The construction style of Preferred Freezer Services’s deep freeze high-bay warehouse is unusual for the USA, high-bay warehouses are fairly rare. But the logistics specialist chose that design because automated logistics processes for goods storage and distribution are the most efficient solution. However, when it comes to fire protection, warehouses of this size and height present special challenges. Very tall rack systems quickly push sprinkler systems to their limits. The extensive lengths of pipelines and numerous sprinkler heads such projects require, would not only cost a great deal of money, but also be difficult and costly to install and maintain.

Moreover, according to estimates, a great deal of the losses incurred in the warehouse are not the result of the fire itself, but of the installed fire protection equipment. For example, a burst sprinkler-system water pipe or leaking sprinkler head. Regardless of the cause (defects or fires), water damage in a deep freeze storage facility would definitely result in downtime and create delivery difficulties.

WAGNER’s solution: anything but standard

The active fire prevention system installed in Preferred Freezer Services’ freezer facility utilises the latest Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology specially adapted to the site’s structural conditions. The system’s principle is based on lowering the air’s oxygen concentration in the warehouse through controlled introduction of nitrogen. The level of oxygen was determined on the basis of fire tests considering ignition thresholds of the stored goods packaged in dispatch-ready cartons as well as the negative temperatures (-23° C/-10° F) present within the warehouse. The results of fire tests were approved by the independent German authority VdS (Organization of Property Insurers).

The system is set to lower oxygen concentration levels to 16.1% by volume. Sensors in the oxygen control system monitor the protected area to ensure that the nitrogen introduction is controlled and that the oxygen concentration is continuously maintained at the specified level.

Active fire prevention for Preferred Freezer Services: The biggest hurdle was
providing a system for the world’s biggest high-bay freezer warehouse that
complies with US building and safety specifications.

For WAGNER, Preferred Freezer Services’s OxyReduct® was unique, as it was the company’s first installation of a nitrogen-generation system for an American customer, based on ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards.

The WAGNER Group GmbH has been developing and producing technical fire protection systems since 1976 and has established itself internationally as an innovative provider of solutions and systems.