Transportation of lithium batteries have been a growing concern for airlines for more than a decade. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the number of battery-related freight and baggage fires has more than doubled in the past five years, with recent incidents resulting in the tragic loss of two Boeing 747 aircraft and their crews.
Lithium batteries provide more than twice the energy density than zinc-carbon and alkaline batteries, which has made them the battery of choice for medical devices, aviation and consumer electronics. Billions of lithium batteries are manufactured and shipped each year, and their transport in aircraft Unit Load Devices (ULDs) can cause serious fires if not correctly categorized and protected for shipment.
The major problem with ULD fires is that an intensely hot fire remains contained by the ULD without being detected. At some point the fire will breach the ULD where it has the potential to quickly spread out of control, allowing little or no time for the pilots to detect the fire and safely land the aircraft.
Firetrace, a world leader in enclosure fire protection, has developed a system to detect and suppress ULD fires where they start - inside the ULD - while alerting the pilots to the situation. The Firetrace system is autonomous, installs directly into the ULD, and provides wireless communication with the monitoring device, so there are no additionally handling requirements for the ULD.
The Firetrace system has demonstrated consistent performance in suppressing a fire for ETOPS 207 (337 minutes) when tested against the shredded paper-cardboard box test as described in the Minimum Performance Standard for Aircraft Cargo Compartment Halon Replacement Fire Suppression Systems (2nd Update).
Firetrace ULD System Benefits
Firetrace ULD System Features:
The complete Firetrace ULD fire suppression system weighs less than 50 lbs (22.7 kg) per ULD (A2N), and is designed to withstand air cargo hold environment extremes. The units can be installed in the ULD in under an hour and once in place can be remotely monitored to ensure system operability.
Using a ULD fire suppression system increases the safety of transporting critical equipment in spite of the elevated fire risk that may be posed the that equipment by insuring that the fire is both DETECTED and SUPPRESSED in the shortest period of time. The timely notification allows pilots to take emergency action immediately, while suppression increases the time available to safely land the aircraft.
To learn more, contact Firetrace.