CNC Grinder - This Machine Protected by Firetrace

Customer Background and Incident

United Standard industries is a precision machining job shop in the Greater Chicago Area. They focus on complex parts and assemblies, serving a variety of industries, including hydraulics, pneumatics, defense, automotive, medical, aerospace, food and beverage, and others. The shop houses over 100 different machine tools and has 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 & 11-axis machining capability.

Today, United Standard Industries has fire suppression systems installed on all their machines that run oil-based coolants. But that wasn’t always the case. Unfortunately, United Standard Industries experienced their first fire before any of their machines were protected with a Firetrace system.

The fire occurred overnight, while machines were running unattended. The fire was most likely caused by a spark igniting the oil coolant in the machine. Fortunately, a janitor was on site at the facility, and he called the fire department when he realized what was happening. The fire department arrived quickly and put out the fire before it spread throughout the facility.

Nonetheless, the fire damaged the machine and the facility. Fortunately, United Standard Industries’ insurance provider covered much of the repair costs, which included the following:

  • Replacement parts for damaged spindle on machine: $25K
  • Labor cost to fix the machine: $20K
  • Downtime and smoke damage: $145K

The total cost of the incident was $190K. “If I had a fire suppression system the first time, I would have saved that amount,” said Sherwin Feldstein, the owner of the shop.

Response to Fire Incident

Having experienced a fire firsthand, the team at United Standard Industries knew they needed to mitigate future risk. Because their first fire started in a machine running oil, they identified oil-based coolant as the key risk driver. According to Feldstein, “If you are running oil, you need 2 things: a pollution control device and a fire suppression system.”

They now have fire suppression systems on all their machines that run oil-based coolants, a total of 7 machines today. Since the original incident, United Standard Industries has had 3 or 4 additional fires, but all of them have been immediately suppressed by their Firetrace systems.

Because of the precision parts that they machine, United Standard Industries invests heavily in the latest machining technology, making it even more important to protect that investment. For example, they own a Tsugami 11-axis machine – valued at $350K – that has caught fire twice; it was saved both times.

The bottom line for owner Sherwin Feldstein is clear: “Your products have saved this company hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

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