Fire Wire is a quarterly fire suppression newsletter about 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid for specifying engineers, architects, and anyone working in special hazards fire protection.
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As the computer chip shortage continues – with chip lead times of nearly six months, according to Bloomberg News – a fire on January 3, 2022 caused further disruptions to the supply chain. A factory owned by a provider of high-tech extreme ultraviolet lithography machines suffered a fire in its production area that damaged some production lines.
In this high tech manufacturing space, fire and smoke damage to even one factory can have ripple effects across the globe. A Bloomberg Intelligence analyst reported that even a 10% drop in shipments as a result of the fire could reduce global lithography tools supply by up to 8.4%.
Fortunately, more recent statements from the company, as reported in Datacenter Dynamics, have indicated that “Because of the hard work and the creativity [of company staff in Berlin, as well as Veldhoven in the Netherlands and in Wilton, Connecticut] we currently believe that we can manage the situation and that we will not see a significant impact on our EUV output in the year 2022.”
While the causes and impact of the fire are still being analyzed, this incident demonstrates the importance of effective fire protection to maintain critical process and business operations in the world’s most essential industries.
Fiction. Designing a clean agent system using 3M Novec 1230 fluid within a 10 second discharge time using selector valves is not only practical but is a recommended practice for system designs that understand how to optimize the unique properties of Novec 1230 fluid. Original Equipment Manufacturers that design and sell systems using 3M Novec 1230 fluid have developed storage cylinders with higher pressures compared with early designs introduced in 2004.
Originally, most OEMs released 360 psi cylinders, but todays more modern systems are available in 500 psi options and some even use nitrogen booster cylinders to achieve higher pressures. This additional pressure enables uses similar to fire pumps, booster or jockey pumps in water based systems such as sprinkler systems: pushing the agent farther and protecting multiple zones. The unique properties of Novec 1230 fluid, stored as a liquid but discharged through a nozzle in a vaporized state, allows for a design efficiencies.
Like a booster pump, the additional pressure in higher pressure systems using 3M Novec 1230 fluid propels the agent to flow across longer distances – despite the pressure drop associated with multizone valves – and protect multiple hazards simultaneously. In addition, the higher pressure may allow the agent storage cylinders to be located outside of the actual hazard area if needed.