2020 and the lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19 has made me think a lot more about my personal safety. I have watched closely how technology has reacted to safety needs. I’ve seen examples of innovation being pivoted quickly to healthcare needs and priorities. I’ve been glad that, in these unusual times, it has driven many examples of remote cross-collaboration across industries and the coming together to work on projects such as respirator systems to meet the increasing new COVID-19 needs.

As each country or region imposed local restrictions on whether a facility could remain open or how many people could occupy a space, as a workforce, we also pivoted to the priority of keeping existing production facilities open and moving other key workers out to work from home. The impact of this has meant that, in some cases, the physical testing of new products close to market release was impacted as either test facilities were closed or restricted to other priorities (e.g. healthcare products)

As we move back physically into workplaces and restrictions are slowly lifted after lockdown, what can companies like Analog Devices (ADI) do to help us stay safe in the workplace but also get our customers get back on track?

The Implications of Lockdown on Time-To-Market for Smoke Detection

New safety regulations such as UL268 Ed. 7/UL217 Ed. 8 and EN54/14604 have stricter requirements for life safety. UL268 Ed. 7/UL217 Ed. 8, which is the North America/Canada standard, is due to come into effect June 30th 2021. For some companies, their window to market has now shortened due to reduced access to design and test facilities.

The challenges in smoke detection are not just meeting the new and existing regulations for fire safety, which also includes the reduction of nuisance alarms (23% of fire-related deaths are due to smoke alarms being present, but disabled due to the high occurrence of false alarms). There is also a market need for smaller-size detection systems to enable detection in harder to reach places or the expansion of adding smoke detection into other building control technology, which will move detection closer to possible sources.  

Low power options mean that traditional smoke detection products could be used in a platform approach and differentiated into other areas (for example IoT devices that measure many modalities within a building for Environmental Sustainability). In addition to the certification test process being costly and timely, each detector also usually needs to be tested and go through a calibration process that can add cost. Any reduction in the production flow has a great impact.

A Great “Return after Lockdown” is all about Reducing Risk and Time within Innovation

For supply constraints, an integrated module reduces the risk and cost of managing discrete components. For smoke certification, knowing that the key optical component has passed UL testing means ease of mind. To kick-start a design after lockdown, having additional resources such as a UL tested smoke chamber or software algorithm gives an option for a faster path to market.

ADI Intelligent Building Solutions for Smoke Detection 

Integrated Optical sensor

The ADPD188BI is an Integrated “Smoke-to-Bits” Smoke Sensor incorporating dual wavelength LEDs, photodiode, and AFE. Better smoke differentiation and less nuisance alarms due to the dual wavelength, wider dynamic range, and higher SNR. It has a reduced footprint (3.8 mm × 5.0 mm × 0.9 mm) to enable more industrial design options. The lower power dissipation (25uW average) enables IoT applications. Each module is factory calibrated for a simpler and lower cost production flow. You can achieve higher reliability due to reduced component count and supply chain management requirements and therefore cost is minimized.

Smoke Chamber

The 28800X Accumold Smoke Chamber has been optimized for the ADPD188BI. This combination passes all UL-217 (8th Ed.) smoke tests through a UL testing facility. This tiny precision molded chamber measures <20mm diameter by <12mm height.

Smoke Algorithm

CN0537 is a UL-217 (8th Ed.) tested and verified smoke algorithm designed on an Arduino form factor smoke detector reference design. The low power hardware design and low computational algorithm supports an extended battery lifetime / reduced battery size. The data package includes over 1000 smoke datasets taken at UL-217 certified facilities for algorithm development.

As we move back on site, it is imperative that any new safety regulations cannot be delayed as a result of lockdown. As a worker, I want to know that my safety is not compromised.

Smoke detection is just one way that ADI resources were prioritized during lockdown. Creating the extra support and resources (like the smoke algorithm) to help our customers deploy their solutions quickly and efficiently.