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01 Jan 2023

NEWS: Lubriant Speicalist Upgrades Critical Safety Systems

Tyco Building Services Product UK Stand: 5/C70

Customer: Vickers Oils
Region: UK 
Product Solutions: FireClass FC700 Addressable - Fire Alarm Panel 

The FireClass FC700 Addressable Fire Alarm Panel is an ideal solution for small to mid-size installations of up to 500 devices, providing reliable protection while ensuring system flexibility and cost efficiency.


Lubricant company with 200-year history
Vickers Oils is a family-owned company with a history dating back nearly two centuries. It specialises in the development, manufacture and worldwide marketing and distribution of technical lubricants in key markets including the marine, textile and food and beverage industries.

Based in the northern England city of Leeds but with regional stock points in over 40 locations, the business prides itself on its dedicated one-on-one customer support. Thirty per cent of its workforce is based in the technical team focusing on quality control, research and development, technical service and liaison.​


Covid-safe with minimal disruption 
Vickers’ main premises include a factory, offices, distribution warehouse and research and development laboratories. In October 2020, Vickers realised that its fire systems were struggling; the facility was protected by a combination of two systems that had been installed more than 20 years earlier. They were out of date, devices were beginning to develop faults and new fire safety standards were not being met.

Although an upgrade was essential, pandemic-related restrictions meant that any work would need to be carried out in a Covid-safe manner and with minimal disruption to the business. Following a recommendation, Vickers contacted local specialist RLJ Fire and Security Systems.


A collaborative approach to implementatio
Having carried out an initial site survey to assess Vickers’ current system and requirements, RLJ recommended a comprehensive upgrade, replacing the previous installations with a single Johnson Controls system that would be significantly more effective and easier to use.

RLJ is a Johnson Controls FireClass provider and offered Vickers a cost-effective open protocol solution that would reuse its existing detector bases, saving on purchase costs and providing Vickers with options in relation to its servicing contract.

The Johnson Controls FireClass solution included like-for-like replacement of 300 detectors for Vickers’ Tyco MX4 fire alarm system. This included replacing the main panel with a Johnson Controls FireClass FC700 fire alarm panel and fitting two new GUI repeater panels to improve system access for the fire service.

Remote connectivity and backwards compatibility also make it a highly adaptable and reliable solution with long-term support and reduced lifetime costs. 

“The Johnson Controls FC700 provides high levels of flexibility in terms of configuration, scalability and feature set,” said Glenn Barker, Site Manager at RLJ. “With easy installation, operation and servicing, the FC700 enables a range of practical engineering solutions for us.”

RLJ’s project management, engineering and sales teams met to discuss the site requirements and created a programme of work for the five-week project. The site would need to remain fully operational for the majority of the project, so the programme needed to establish a clear and strict timetable for working in particular areas. A team of three RLJ engineers was assigned to the installation project, with a project manager holding daily and weekly on-site meetings with Vickers’ manufacturing manager to report on progress. 

RLJ’s engineers were not only working in occupied buildings but in environments where hazardous substances were produced and stored. Health and safety considerations were, therefore, crucial. The project manager created initial risk assessments and method statements, while the engineers carried out daily dynamic risk assessments to ensure the safety of everyone on the site. 

Installation was delayed by a week due to a stock-take on site and issues including breaks in the cabling threatened system safety. RLJ worked with Vickers to identify solutions and opportunities to avoid further slippage. By working a four-day planned site shutdown, the project remained on track.


System Benefits at a Glance

• Backward compatibility enables system flexibility

• Three-year maintenance contract provides ongoing protection

• Staff, property and products now protected 

• Scalability ensures secure long-term investment


Delivering a more safe and protected environment 
The project was completed on time and to budget, with final commissioning of the new system completed over a weekend in order minimise disruption of staff.

Unsightly control panels were removed from the site’s reception area and replaced with a touchscreen Johnson Controls FireClass FC708D. Devices that are not directly addressable on the extensive site are controlled by FireClass output switches and monitored and unmonitored circuits. External sounders on the lab building’s roof ensure the safety of workers who sometimes need to access the area.

Vickers later carried out work to alter the site’s main building entrance, so in March 2021 RLJ returned to site to relocate repeater panels and a number of detectors.

“The Vickers site involved some complex requirements and required a non-disruptive installation schedule,” added Barker. “The Johnson Controls FireClass system is an excellent solution in this type of environment.” 

A three-year maintenance contract, including bi-annual site visits to test devices and panels in line with BS5839 recommendations, means Vickers now has more fire-safe premises that ensure the safety of its people and provide a safe environment for the storage of its products.

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