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Interoperable
CWSI alarm systems merge existing technology with new

Interoperability is how diverse systems work together effectively. As used in industrial settings, Florida-based (CWSI) Commercial Wireless Systems International’s wireless fire alarms merge seamlessly with conventional addressable systems already in place.

 “Wireless monitoring modules make it possible to monitor and even interact with existing equipment such as hard wired fire alarm panels made by other manufacturers,” CWSI president Scott Barrett said.

“Our equipment gives us the versatility to monitor any type of contact closure and relay the information back to our system,” he said.

Industrial applications range from plant evacuation and emergency reporting to flow, tamper and post indicator valve monitoring. The CWSI alarm system, including smoke detectors, manual pull stations, CO detectors, monitoring modules, control panels and repeaters, are presently in use in more than 200 industrial facilities worldwide. Wireless relay interfaces can also be provided to perform remote control functions in the field.  

 “We don’t have any competitors that match the magnitude of what we do,” Barrett said.

A sophisticated and secure wireless format known as frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) gives CWSI a high-tech advantage over other types of wireless communications.

“We are not relying on a single channel or a single burst of information in transmitting our data,” Barrett said. “We are transmitting multiple pieces of data over multiple frequencies affording the highest degree of reliability.

That designed redundancy radically reduces the rate of false alarms and provides a secure and reliable network that is not compromised by outside sources such as lightning and other underground interruptions,” he said. By contrast, the subscriber loop carrier (SLC) used in conventional systems is vulnerable to problems that can disable the entire system, not just a single component.

“The biggest issues that plague wired components are ground faults or other intrusions caused by Mother Nature,” Barrett said. “For example, if lightning struck a portion of that SLC loop, there is the possibility that everything interconnected with it is going to be damaged.”

Wireless systems eliminate these compromises, relying instead on   a wireless communication path,” he said. CWSI wireless products significantly reduce labor and material cost, providing a cost effective alternative in the industrial market.

“A CWSI system was recently installed in a petrochemical plant that involved 120 various monitoring points,” Barrett said. “The system was installed within 10 days for about $120,000. The closest competitive bid for a more conventional system was $1 million with six months to install.”

To deal with situations requiring intrinsically safe applications for hazardous environments, CWSI has adapted a hybrid of its wireless device with the traditional hard wired system.

“We don’t have an intrinsically safe pull station as an example,” Barrett said. “But if such an application is required, we use a conventionally intrinsically safe device, and then wire from it to one of our monitoring modules placed outside the hazardous environment.”

 As a result of advancements in wireless technology, as well as the vision to create a line of products that would put wireless technology on an equal platform with that of its addressable counterparts, Scott Barrett founded CWSI in 2004.

After four years of research and development, CWSI submitted its initial product line for UL 9th Edition listing. Shortly thereafter listings to California State Fire Marshal (CSFM), New York Fire Depart Approval (NYFD) and Factory Mutual Listings followed. CWSI distributes its products through a nationwide independent dealer network which consist of over 130 offices. Outside the U.S., CWSI systems are used in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America.

The acceptance to wireless technologies has increased tremendously over the years. The versatility, cost advantages, proven track record and sophisticated transmission protocols have positioned CWSI as the leader in commercial wireless fire alarm technology.

 
 

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