Siemens names Alabama engineering firm winner of Innovation Award

July 8, 2015
Gulf States Engineering, Inc. recognized for innovative approach to fire/ life safety design.

Siemens named Gulf States Engineering, Inc. (GSE) of Mobile, Ala., as the winner of its second annual Engineering Innovation Award for fire and life safety design. GSE used an innovative design approach that incorporated Siemens’ FireFinder XLS fire alarm panel into Airbus America’s final assembly facility at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Ala.

The Mobile facility is Airbus’ first assembly line in the Western Hemisphere, with the first planes to be produced next year. Once fully ramped up by 2018, the facility is expected to produce as many as 50 A320 family aircraft annually.

“Airbus’ final assembly facility had so many segmented areas that had specific needs,” recalls GSE President Tim Morris, PE. “We had to take prescriptive allowances in configuring each fire suppression and alarm system, but in a way that still met all necessary NFPA and IBC codes, satisfied certain European standards, and conformed with the overall design approach agreed upon by the various project stakeholders.”

The FireFinder XLS system provided the necessary network flexibility and advanced system logistic functions to integrate the many fire detection and suppression system components from various manufacturers. The system monitored the air sampling smoke detection and early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinklering used in all three of the Logistics Center’s specialty storage rooms as well as in select areas of the FAL. It also monitored wireless smoke detectors that were temporarily placed inside airplanes as they moved along the assembly line and sprinkler systems placed on each floor of the Service Building and FAL. In addition to monitoring all of these systems, the FireFinder XLS panel notified building occupants and reported back to the Powerhouse facility, which provided utilities to the whole site, with the exception of electrical.