Environmental solutions provider I-Cat has increased its market share and strengthened relations with its existing client base since acquiring the local agency of fire suppression solutions provider Firetrace International and becoming the official Southern African distributor of UK-manufactured fire suppression system Firetrace in 2013.
I-Cat Firetrace divisional manager Andro Gihard tells Engineering News that, since the acquisition, the company offers world-renowned fire suppression solutions for local, commercial and industry use, adding that it enabled the company to capitalise on its client base to gain some market share in a short space of time.
“We are aggressive in marketing the product, particularly into the mining sector, where we are active,” he explains.
Firetrace has been in production since the 1980s and has manufacturing companies throughout Europe and the US. The brand has more than 150 000 fire suppression systems worldwide, some of which are available to the Southern African market through I-Cat.
Gihard says that Firetrace systems are reliable and cost effective. He adds that they provide automatic fire detection and suppression systems that can be installed in any micro- environment or small enclosed space where critical and high-value assets are located or where an increased risk of fire can be mitigated by an automatic fire suppression system.
“Our systems are for applications that include electrical applications/panels, server racks,mining, manufacturing, oil and gas, forestry, agricultural, ports, filing rooms, archive rooms, banking and vehicles.”
Gihard notes that the Firetrace system is self- contained, requires no electrical power, and is easy to install and maintain. He describes it as an automatic fire extinguisher and adds that the Firetrace range is compatible with most commercially available fire-suppressing agents, foams and dry chemicals.
“The effectiveness of the Firetrace system comes from its patent – a polymer tubing that will rupture when exposed to heat. Its specialised Firetrace detection tubing combines leak resistance, flexibility, durability and precise temperature sensitivity, allowing it to react quickly when the heat from a fire is present.
The detection tubing connects to one of the custom- engineered valves and a Firetrace cylinder that contains the [specific] fire suppression agent for a particular hazard,” details Gihard.
Firetrace systems were developed based on a unique red fire detection tube invented by Firetrace UK director Dave Melton. In the early days, Firetrace systems were fitted to farming equipment and vehicles.
According to the company, through the 1990s, Firetrace’s list of applications expanded and Firetrace systems quickly became the first choice of fire suppression systems for fume hoods throughout the UK.
In 2000, Firetrace International was formed, taking the Firetrace solution to the US. In 2002, Firetrace International bought the worldwide rights to the Firetrace name and product line. Since then, Firetrace has opened facilities in London, Dubai, India, South Africa, Australia and Singapore to better serve clients worldwide.