CDS installs specialised detection systems at ground-breaking £65m aviation technology centre

News | March 2021

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Fire detection and life safety specialist CDS has installed specialised smoke and flame detection systems at a £65 million centre which will spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.

The Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire – DARTeC – will have its own experimental airport terminal and a ‘hangar of the future.’

The centre will research challenges facing the aviation industry, such as integrating drones into civilian airspace, increasing airport efficiency through technology, creating safe shared airspace through secure data communication infrastructures and increasing the reliability and availability of aircraft through self-sensing, self-aware technologies.

As well as commissioning a Gent by Honeywell fire alarm system, disabled refuge and WC alarms, CDS designed and installed numerous different specialised smoke and flame detection systems – vital in an area containing jet fuel.

CDS project manager Michael Barkham explained: “We installed flame detection within the external aircraft canopy to monitor the area where a small plane will be sitting. This is constantly looking for infrared and ultraviolet lights which flames can emit. These are especially suited to these areas as jet fuel is clear burning, which mean the flames aren’t always visible to the naked eye.”

CDS also installed an air sampling Aspiration smoke detection system along with an optical beam detection system.

“The air sampling system constantly draws air in from the area it is protecting via a pipe and then samples the air at the controller to check whether there is any smoke within it. It can also monitor for different levels of smoke if early warning alarm is required. The beam detection system is an optical infrared transmitter and receiver which checks for obscuration of the IR beam by any smoke should there be a fire,” explained Michael.

This is the second major project CDS has carried out for the specialist postgraduate university in recent years on behalf of Precision Electrical. It worked on its global agricultural engineering and precision farming hub in 2019. The Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI) was designed to be a world-leading centre for excellence in livestock, arable, aquaculture and horticulture.

“Following the successful completion of Agri-EPI, Precision Electrical was impressed with our services and wanted to work with us on this project,” said Michael.

CDS works with a number of universities across the UK and provides specialist services for university buildings and halls of residence.