Equine artificial insemination (AI) is becoming increasingly commonplace as a way to breed high calibre horses, and leading the way in this field is Stallion AI Services. When the company moved to its new state-of-the-art premises, fire detection technology from Honeywell Gent was installed to keep people, horses and assets safe from harm.
Stallion AI Services is owned and managed by Tullis Matson, a renowned figure in the equestrian world, and his organisation is responsible for the births of some of the most well known horses today. The company boasts the latest technology in its laboratory, which is envied and admired by breeders throughout the globe. Having outgrown its previous premises, it recently moved to a new purpose built facility in Whitchurch, Shropshire.
With so much life safety technology on the market, Stallion AI Services called upon its longstanding partner, Barlows Fire & Security, to carry out a full site survey and come up with some recommendations. ‘Our parent company, Barlows UK Ltd, started life in 1948 as a small electrical repair shop in the village of Malpas in Cheshire,’ explains Matthew Scott, the company’s contracts manager. We have steadily grown over the years and as well as our head office in Malpas, we have regional offices in Manchester, High Wycombe and Lancaster. We’ve worked closely with Tullis and his team for many years, so were delighted to be asked to specify, configure and install a fire detection system for the new premises. We became a Gent 24 System Integrator in 2016 and have since installed the company’s products and systems in a diverse array of applications. Therefore, I was confident that its technology would meet the needs of Stallion AI Services.’
“Since forming the company we have gone from a tiny laboratory to a multinational company, with plans to expand further. Stallion owners trust us with their prized possessions and we need to ensure that the horses are kept safe. That’s why, when it came to specifying a life safety solution, only the very best would do.” Tullis Matson, Stallion AI Services
In the sport horse industry, the days of taking a mare to physically ‘meet’ a local stallion have pretty much disappeared. Even if a suitable stallion is found, getting the two horses together to breed is not always possible, for instance, if one of them is competing or the stallion is abroad and too far away for pairing up to be logistically viable. Therefore, more and more breeders are turning to AI to produce a high quality foal and, for the last 20 years, Stallion AI Services has pioneered this approach to horse breeding.
Access all areas
The new centre comprises two buildings – one that houses the stables and another for the laboratory, storage facility, and training and administration areas.
Matthew knew that he would have to come up with an innovative solution for the stable area, and comments, ‘Having worked with Tullis for a long time, we’ve had many discussions about the relative merits of various fire detection technologies. He has always believed that heat detectors could not offer the level of early warning that he was comfortable with, so insisted on the use of smoke detectors. This type of environment is generally dirty and dusty – factors that can negatively affect the performance of traditional smoke detection systems, generating highly disruptive unwanted alarms. At the old facility we were having to replace the detectors at regular intervals and this was something I was keen to avoid in the new premises.’
Matthew therefore configured a BS 5389 compliant category L1 solution, which is designed for the protection of life and deploys automatic detectors throughout all areas of the buildings. Gent S-Quad smoke and heat detectors are located throughout the non-stable areas, while certain areas have been fitted with EN54-23 compliant visual alarm devices (VADs) that can provide an appropriate audio and visual warning.
Asked to explain the benefits of this technology, Dina Mistry, marketing and communications specialist Honeywell, replies, ‘S-Quad was the first intelligent loop powered multifunctional device to include a sensor, sounder, speech and visual alarm, and its extensively patented technology has an unrivalled ability to prevent unwanted alarms. Four separate sensing elements – heat, carbon monoxide, and dual angle optical forward and backward scatter – achieve local processing in the sensor and the panel and offer the best level of reliability and prevention of unwanted alarms.’
Beam me up
After assessing the various options for the stable area, Gent’s S-Quad beam sensors were recommended. Powered and controlled via the loop, once commissioned S-Quad beam sensors continually monitor alignment and will automatically realign themselves back to the centre of the reflector if any movement occurs via an auto gain ensure. This ensures the optimum alignment is reached. Maintenance of the beam sensor is also enhanced with a key operated test feature, which simulates the obscuration of the beam in a fire.
Matthew states, ‘Beam detection cost effectively covers a large area and the Gent solution allows each beam to be set to one of six sensitivity states, to provide a best fit for each area of the stables. From our point of view, one of its key features is that the beam incorporates an LED array to indicate signal strength, allowing accurate alignment during one person commissioning. Just as importantly, the optical lens design is intended to minimise build up of dust to reduce the maintenance and cleaning required.’
The entire fire detection system is linked to a Gent Nano control panel. Nano supports all of Gent’s S-Quad range, while user friendliness and ease of operation are at the forefront of its design. Nano is ideal for smaller sites that require advanced fire sensing and evacuation options, and the single loop, analogue addressable device offers a compact system and is one of the most efficient, intuitive and easy to install control panels available. To ensure the highest level of response, the system at Stallion AI Services is also connected to a remote monitoring centre, which can alert relevant key-holders and/or the fire service in an emergency.
The final word goes to Tullis Matson of Stallion AI Services, who concludes, ‘The development of our state-of-the-art AI centre represents a massive investment for the company and we were determined to use best in class solutions throughout. Reliable and high performance fire detection is a fundamental requirement for a facility of this kind and I’m confident that this is what we have thanks to Gent’s technology and the expertise of Barlows Fire & Security.’
For more information, go to www.honeywell.com