Exclusive: Safeguarding small spaces with Reacton Fire Suppression

February 29, 2024

Scott Starr, Vice President for Reacton Fire Suppression – Americas, delves into the dynamics of advanced detection and suppression

Can you introduce yourself and your role at Reacton?

I’ve been working in the fire suppression industry since 2004, beginning my journey with a company that was at the forefront of tubing-based fire suppression systems.

In late 2019, after a one-year hiatus from the industry, I was invited to join to Reacton Fire Suppression.

I was initially skeptical about moving to what I thought might be a me-too product, but I found my concerns were completely unfounded upon seeing Reacton’s innovative approach and the advancements they had already made in the products reliability and durability.

In their development process, Reacton had benchmarked other similar systems and successfully identified and addressed many of the challenges and opportunities for improvement that I had identified, marking a significant leap in product development and application.

This alignment of vision made my decision to join Reacton an easy one.

At Reacton, my objective is to expand our UK-based operations into the US and Americas, leveraging their three decades of expertise in fire suppression.

Despite the global disruptions in early 2020, we’ve successfully navigated these challenges, rapidly gaining momentum in the market.

Reacton’s product suite offers adaptations and increased durability creating unique advantages for heavy equipment and harsh environments, an area previously underserved by the market.

It is this focus, coupled with our competitive pricing and superior capabilities, that has positioned us the fastest growing fire suppression manufacturer in the Americas.

Our journey since mid-2021, post-global slowdown, has been marked by robust growth and an expanding footprint.

Our commitment to innovation, quality, and customer satisfaction continues to drive our success and distinguish Reacton in our focus markets.

What are the core competencies of Reacton Fire Suppression?

Our expertise lies in safeguarding small, high-risk environments from fire hazards.

This includes heavy vehicles, electrical control systems, CNC machines, and hazardous storage areas.

These are critical spaces with elevated fire risks that often are not specifically addressed by general fire codes.

 Reacton focuses on protecting these areas with equipment-level, cost-effective automatic fire solutions.

Our systems are designed to detect and extinguish fires at their source, particularly in areas where traditional sprinkler systems do not act quickly enough to protect the machine or equipment.

In addition to stationary environments, we excel in remote and mobile equipment protection.

From wind turbines to bulldozers and recycling machinery, our solutions address the unique fire risks associated with hydraulics, heat, and fuel in these applications.

The importance of this protection has only been amplified by the global supply chain challenges post-COVID, where the lead time for replacement parts has dramatically increased.

By limiting fire damage, Reacton’s systems help ensure that valuable machinery can return to service quickly, avoiding prolonged downtime.

What sets Reacton apart is our commitment to quality and innovation.

We’ve invested heavily in our own manufacturing capabilities, including acquiring CNC machines and a full metrology lab to ensure the highest quality standards.

This approach reflects our long-term commitment and leadership in the fire suppression market.

As we work to expand our presence in the Americas, our focus is on building awareness of our superior products and establishing a robust network of key distributors who are specialists in the markets they serve.

How does Reacton adapt its solutions for various industries?

Our approach to meeting the needs of different industries is threefold: leveraging strategic partnerships, securing relevant certifications, and actively participating in industry communities.

We ensure our solutions meet the diverse needs across industries by deeply engaging with these sectors and establishing ourselves as fire safety experts.

Our commitment is evidenced by significant investments in obtaining listings and approvals and demonstrating the quality and reliability of our products.

Beyond certifications, our strength lies in our partnerships and direct industry involvement.

One of our key assets is our partnership with Fireward, a sister company and premier distributor in the UK.

Their hands-on experience installing our systems across various equipment types provides invaluable insights into real-world challenges and effectiveness.

This close relationship allows for a dynamic feedback loop, ensuring our products not only meet but exceed industry-specific requirements while always keeping a keen eye for improvement opportunities.

My personal involvement in industry trade associations and forums is something I believe is crucial to our approach.

By actively listening and contributing, we position ourselves not just as vendors but as invaluable resources.

This commitment to the industry means we often advise on fire safety solutions, even when it falls outside our product range, guiding them towards the best solutions available.

What innovations has Reacton introduced in the fire suppression market?

At its core, a fire suppression system functions to apply a suppression agent – be it foam, dry chemical, clean agent, or others.

However, what sets us apart is our advanced detection technology, which offers a robust solution across a variety of challenging environments.

Our pneumatic detection tubing excels in areas where vibration, extreme temperatures, dirt, and maintenance activities might compromise the reliability of traditional electric-based systems.

The goal of a fire system is to address the common fire risks associated with equipment like mechanical failure, hydraulic systems, and electrical components.

For example, a fire could erupt from a burst hydraulic hose spraying fluid on a hot surface or an electrical malfunction.

One of our most unique innovations is a device designed to enhance protection for heavy machinery.

Our solution includes an option that automatically physically disconnects the battery at the moment of system activation.

This immediate disconnection tackles the electrical source directly, ensuring a comprehensive approach to suppression that covers combustibles, liquid fires, and with this innovation, electrical hazards.

This holistic strategy significantly increases the likelihood of effectively extinguishing fires and mitigating damage.

How does Reacton understand and meet customer needs?

Reacton’s approach to customer engagement is multifaceted and deeply rooted in industry expertise.

Our ability to swiftly ascertain a customer’s requirements is the product of years of experience and a profound understanding of the markets we serve.

This expertise allows us to quickly identify the precise system needed with just a few targeted questions, demonstrating our proficiency in fire suppression solutions.

For projects that align closely with our core competencies, the process is streamlined and efficient.

However, we do face unique challenges that demand a more hands-on approach.

For instance, when faced with a project that, while familiar, presents an unconventional scale or layout, we collaborate closely with trusted installation partners.

This collaboration involves on-site evaluations to grasp the specific nuances of the equipment and devise a tailored suppression solution that ensures effective response and suppression.

Sometimes, our internal knowledge is enough; other times, we rely on the expertise of our partner distributors who possess firsthand experience with particular equipment types.

This collaborative effort ensures that we can address a wide range of scenarios, from standard applications to highly specialized requirements.

Incorporating installation partners into the solution-finding process enables us to integrate components outside our standard offering when necessary, enhancing our system’s effectiveness.

How does Reacton align with safety standards in the Americas?

Firstly, we prioritize obtaining listings and approvals for our systems.

These certifications are granted by independent third parties, ensuring our systems perform as promised, which is crucial for our credibility and reliability in the market.

Our systems are designed as supplemental fire suppression solutions, targeting specific risks within environments not directly addressed by code-mandated systems such as whole building sprinklers.

We aim to complement, not replace, these existing systems by providing added protection in critical areas.

For instance, in CNC machining environments, our systems can detect and suppress fires inside the machine itself within seconds, preventing the escalation that would trigger broader, facility-wide sprinkler systems.

 This targeted approach not only saves the equipment from potential damage but also minimizes operational disruptions, allowing for quicker recovery and for businesses to continue operating.

It underscores our commitment to targeted fire suppression, which supports the primary focus of code-mandated systems, while preserving the integrity of critical machinery and equipment.

Our fire suppression solutions also extend to mobile and outdoor equipment operating in environments like forests, which are involved in maintaining clearances for power lines, railroads, and highways.

These machines, while instrumental in fire prevention, also pose a fire risk themselves.

Implementing fire suppression systems on such equipment is a proactive measure, enhancing safety and mitigating the irony of fire prevention tools becoming ignition sources.

We strive to exceed the minimum requirements by offering solutions that ensure a higher level of protection for both people and property, advocating for the integration of supplemental fire suppression systems in areas where traditional code-mandated solutions may fall short.

What challenges does Reacton face in the fire suppression industry?

Reacton has the status of being a newer entrant in a sector that is inherently conservative.

This conservatism is well-founded, given our industry’s crucial role in life safety, where the efficacy and reliability of our solutions must be beyond reproach.

One of the primary hurdles we encounter is overcoming the established market presence and brand recognition of our competitors, some of whom have been building their reputations for over two decades.

Our strategy leverages our team’s comprehensive expertise in fire suppression.

Our personnel are selected for their extensive industry knowledge, ensuring that we can provide precise and informed responses to any question.

Our commitment to customer service – answering calls, engaging in meaningful discussions, and providing actionable advice, even when we may not have the immediate solution – sets us apart.

 Our goal is to be the most responsive supplier our partners work with.

Our approach revolves around cultivating strong partnerships, securing key accounts that can demonstrate our value and effectiveness, and gradually building our brand recognition through excellence and reliability.

By focusing on these areas, we are confident in our ability to grow and become a recognized and respected name in the fire suppression industry, despite the competitive landscape.

Finally, for organizations assessing their fire suppression needs, what message would you like to share about Reacton?

Our core message at Reacton is one of awareness and preparedness.

Our goal is not to replace code-mandated fire suppression systems as these are essential for meeting basic safety requirements.

Our focus is on enhancing protection by supplementing these systems in areas identified as higher risk or where fires are more likely to occur.

We advocate for the adoption of targeted, cost-effective solutions that can significantly mitigate the impact of fires.

This approach is not just about safeguarding assets but also about ensuring operational continuity, preserving jobs, and maintaining business viability.

It’s about recognizing the potential for a minor incident, such as an electrical fire in a control panel, to escalate into a major disaster that could shut down operations for months.

By implementing additional suppression measures in critical areas, what could have been a catastrophic event can be reduced to a manageable equipment failure, with minimal downtime and disruption.

Our message to businesses is this: stay vigilant and consider the broader implications of fire risks within your operations.

Understand that there are innovative, supplementary solutions available that can provide more comprehensive protection than standard systems alone.

Reacton is here to support you in identifying and addressing these vulnerabilities, ensuring a safer, more resilient working environment for everyone involved.

This article was originally published in the February 2024 issue of Fire & Safety Journal Americas. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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