SoftEx water mist fire-extinguishing system has a number of advantages over traditional installations. It is a low-pressure system – about 4 bar at the nozzle – hence power requirements are low, between 22kW and 30kW. The system uses about 80 per cent less water than a traditional sprinkler system, achieved by adding a small amount of fire-extinguishing additive to the water and reducing water droplet size to a fine mist (100µm - 600µm). The water mist cools gases very quickly, therefore limiting damage and reducing the spread of a fire.
SoftEx can be a arranged as a wet system or a dry system, depending on the application. After releasing the system water and SoftDrops concentration (extinguishing media) flow through pipelines to specially designed nozzles. The nozzles begin to spray the extinguishing media over the fire cooling the temperature of fire gases down and eliminating the fire much more efficiently, as compared to any water sprinkler systems. The extinguishing media forms a microscope thin film around the space it has been released into and this isolates oxygen/air from burning surfaces making them nonflammable. The film evaporates within one hour without damaging any surfaces. Thus fire can be effectively controlled using minimum amounts of water. Typically only 0,5 - 3,5 liters/ minute of water/square meter are needed depending on type of protected area. SoftEx systems comply with Solas II-12, A.800, and IMO Circ 913 and are type approved by major classification societies. This year the system has completed further rigorous testing to gain approvals for application in complete engine rooms. Testing was successful and a final approval is expected to be obtained by mid-2005.
MacGREGOR markets SoftEx extinguishing system under an exclusive distributor and service agreement for the marine sector. Various European ferry operators have specified SoftEx for both system upgrades and for newbuildings. Samsung has recently ordered SoftEx systems for three 34,000gt newbuildings. SoftEx is easy to install using thin walled piping with fast-fit couplings and nozzle piping can be directly mounted to wall or ceiling panels. The system can be used in accommodation and public areas, machinery spaces, galleys, pantries, provisions stores including alcohol stocks, and in spaces with electrical equipment.