Austin colocation centers include advanced features that help them to compete on a global scale. In addition to redundant power, redundant cooling, and carrier-neutral connectivity, these colocation facilities feature superior fire suppression in the form of FM-200.
FM-200, known chemically as heptafluoropropane, is a colorless, odorless, gaseous halocarbon manufactured in the U.S. by Great Lakes Chemical Corporation. Developed for environments that protect mission critical equipment, such as Austin colocation facilities, it is commonly used as a fire suppression agent. Introduced as a Halon replacement in 1993, FM-200 quickly gained acceptance as the world’s leading clean gaseous fire extinguishing agent.
FM-200 stops fires by a combination of chemical and physical mechanisms. Within an Austin data center’s FM-200 system, heptafluoropropane gas is stored in pressurized cylinders as liquid.
When discharged, the liquid flows through a piping network into the colocation area, where it vaporizes. When it hits the surface of a combustible material, vaporized FM-200 absorbs heat from that surface and thereby lowers its temperature below the ignition point. Effective fire suppression using FM-200 requires introducing a concentration between 6.25% and 9%, depending on the hazard to equipment.
FM-200 fire suppression systems are ideal for colocation facilities because they are safe for places where people frequently work. These systems are also commonly used in other places where valuable assets are held, such as businesses, government buildings, universities, hospitals, and museums. Worldwide, FM-200 systems are in use in over 100,000 applications, and in more than 70 nations.
Other fire suppression systems use water, which can damage or destroy the very equipment they are meant to protect.
Sensitive computer, electronic, and telecommunications equipment – like that found in Austin colocation centers and telecommunication facilities – require special fire suppression considerations and advanced care.
Austin’s FM-200 systems have a number of additional advantages. The system deploys quickly and cleanly; it does not leave behind oily residue, particulate, or water. FM-200 is also one of the fastest suppression systems available; its extinguishing levels are typically reached in ten seconds or less. This extreme speed results in less damage, lower repair costs, and shorter downtime for colocation customers. Since FM-200 is stored as a liquid, it saves huge amounts of storage space. In fact, FM-200 takes up to seven times less storage space than systems based on CO2 and inert gases.
To keep the system in compliance, Austin’s colocation facilities benefit from regular inspection and maintenance. These services include: testing and cleaning of all detectors, verification of shutdown and evacuation circuits, verification of cylinder pressures and weights, check for changes in hazard integrity, check for input and output circuit supervision, simulation of system discharge and test releasing circuits, visual inspections of agent piping and nozzles, and check hydrotest dates for cylinder and discharge hoses.