There’s a lot riding on Clemson University’s new International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) in Greenville, SC, a venture that has already attracted more than $100 million in public and private investment. And it’s no wonder -- this 250-acre graduate school campus promises to bring high tech, high paying jobs to the area and attract fresh partnerships for the two ICAR core companies – BMW and Michelin. It will also serve as the future jumping off point for many exciting new product and manufacturing innovations.
The ICAR project is a joint project sponsored
by the state, Clemson and BMW.
The graduate school will be comprised
of at least two stand-alone main buildings
- the BMW Information Technology
Research Center (completed in August
of 2005), and the Carroll A. Campbell Jr.
Graduate Engineering Center (with a
planned summer of 2006 opening) - with
three other engineering-based buildings in
the planning stages. Each of these buildings
represents a tremendous investment
in the future of South Carolina - an investment
in technology, science, ideas and the
people who spawn all of the above.
Such an investment needs to be protected
in many ways. Perhaps most importantly,
the buildings and their extremely talented
inhabitants need to be protected in the
event of fire and other life-threatening
To ensure the highest level of fire and life
safety in the first completed building,
the ICAR project manager, Harper
Corporation's David Wise, turned to Pace
Electric, a distributor with solid experience
in projects of this size and complexity.
And Pace Electric, in turn, determined that
the best life safety system for this job was
the MS-9600 from Fire-Lite.
Wise said, "Pace Electric is a UL-registered
installation firm with a solid breadth
of experience handling projects of this size
and complexity, including projects at
Furman University, Southern Wesleyan
University and Wofford College. Although
we had not worked with a Fire-Lite system
before, the fact that the system is FM
(Factory Mutual) approved was extremely
attractive to us."
The MS-9600 is a compact, intelligent
addressable fire alarm control panel with
a capacity of 318 addressable Fire-Lite
devices on one Signaling Line Circuit (SLC)
and is easily expandable to 636 devices
with the addition of a plug-in SLC board.
The panel uses surface-mount technology
and is designed not only for ease-of-use,
but also for easy programming and maintenance.
The first completed building, the BMW
Center, posed a number of challenges
for Pace Electric and the Fire-Lite system,
as this four-story high tech looking and
functioning facility featured a complicated
matrix of safety systems.
David Marshall, manager of Pace's Fire
Alarm and Security Systems Group, pointed
out that the Fire-Lite system had the
flexibility and power to interface with this
complex functional matrix.
"The open architecture of the MS-9600
was a key variable in the system's success,"
Marshall explained. "There is a lot
going on in the BMW Center. The Fire-Lite
system can interface with just about any
other life safety system, including all the
systems in this building. This open architecture
makes it easy for us to satisfy
industry and geographic-based fire codes
while meeting the needs of building occupants
"It also makes it much easier for installers,
contractors and maintenance and repair
people to do their jobs," Marshall continued. "Fire-Lite system components and
compatible parts are readily available - you
can go anywhere and pick up the part you
need. There's no downtime while you're
trying to track down an original manufacturer
The ICAR BMW Center's "complex matrix"
includes two Orion air sampling systems,
a CO2 system, two pre-action panels, an
air handling unit, three remote NAC
(Notification Appliance Circuit) power
supplies, positive pressure fans, elevator
relay modules, and fire shutters and smoke
curtains for smoke control. All of these
system functions are monitored by the
MS-9600 control panel, which is located
in the building's Data Center.
Marshall offered an example of a potential
scenario. He said, "Let's say the Air
Sampling System senses potential danger.
It sends an alarm signal to the Fire-Lite
Control Panel which in turn triggers the
system alarm, activates the horns and
strobes, opens the pre-action valves, shuts
down associated area units, and kicks the
positive pressure fan into gear."
The first ICAR building also had certain
aesthetic requirements - this high profile
project required life safety components
that kept a low profile.
"The Fire-Lite devices and components
do a great job of blending in with the
building's high-tech architecture and
design elements," said Marshall.
All parties involved in the installation
process were extremely pleased with Fire-
Lite's technical support. "It's always very
easy to get technical service assistance
from Fire-Lite," Marshall relayed. "They
are just a phone call away and readily
Project Manager, David Wise concurred,
saying, "This was a complex project but
the team of Pace Electric and Fire-Lite
provided the technical expertise to ensure
that that there were no glitches in the system's
installation or continuing operation.
Our entire ICAR team, including our insurance
representative, is very pleased with
this fire safety system."