They Work in Case of Fire

Thanks to HELUKABEL three stationary fire suppressors ensure optimal fire protection at SMS Siemag AG – even if the power cables are directly in the fire.

The view of the SMS Siemag AG facility near Siegen from above is impressive. Holger Groos points out the distant boundaries: Ferndorf Creek to the south and the town of Hilchenbach to the north. A huge connected roof area extends between these two visual markers. This is the reason why the steel framework exists, on which Holger Groos is standing and to which his work brings him time and again. He works for E. Klein Elektroanlagen and is responsible for the electrical engineering at SMS Siemag AG. This also includes three so-called fire suppression systems, which sit on top of special framework high above the company site.

Holger Groos and Henning Hambloch on the roof
Above the roofs of SMS Siemag: Holger Groos from E. Klein Elektroanlagen (above) and Henning Hambloch, Area Sales Manager at HELUKABEL, (above) inspect the fireproof cables. (© HELUKABEL / Ralf Kreuels)


For decades, in the production halls under the huge roof area, SMS Siemag has produced systems for the manufacturing and processing of steel for its customers worldwide. The roofs, which seem almost endless, are a sign of the company’s success – the company has continuously expanded its capacity to keep up with demand. However, what is a positive development for the company and staff poses challenges with respect to fire protection since firefighting equipment can no longer reach every point at the company’s facility. Especially when it comes to protecting valuable sections of the business, such as the high-rack storage area, every minute counts. That is why these towers, each with a bright red water sprayer, rise into the sky over the roofs at three strategically selected points.

Holger Groos and Henning Hambloch look at the orange cable
If there is ever a fire at SMS Siemag, there is a great deal riding on twelve bright orange cables. (© HELUKABEL / Ralf Kreuels)

Each has a range of up to 45 metres (150 ft) and, in an emergency, can shoot up to 1,600 litres (425 gal) per minute towards the source of the fire. The extinguishing water comes from the hydrant network on site. Yet, the fire suppressors need more than just water, they require power and control data – and these must be absolutely reliable, even if a fire threatens the regular supply in the plant. “It is our job to provide this,” Groos says while climbing hand over hand back down the iron steps of the framework.


Alongside the steps, is a straight line of four bright orange cables, which are laid parallel, that run downward and disappear into the wall of the facility. One of the cables guarantees the power supply to the fire suppressors; another, the control. The two others supply high-resolution cameras mounted permanently on the roof and a lighting system. What you cannot see on the cables are their very specific capabilities. “SMS Siemag uses the NHXHFE 180/E 30 safety cable from HELUKABEL. In the event of a fire, the conductor is guaranteed to work for up to 180 minutes – even if it lies directly in the fire,” explains Henning Hambloch, Area Sales Manager at HELUKABEL. The cable’s endurance is facilitated by a special material in which the cable is sheathed. The coating swells as soon as it is heated to a high temperature and thus protects the conductors inside the sheathing. Quick and smooth delivery of the cables was provided by S&S Elektro-Fachgroßhandlung GmbH, Dillenburg.


Having arrived down on the ground floor of one of the production halls, Holger Groos continues to follow the cable. Each cable is 1.4 kilometres (4,600 ft) long and runs through various buildings towards the sprinkler station – sometimes visibly, sometimes invisibly. Nevertheless, Groos always knows exactly where they are, following their path single-handedly and finally pointing to an inconspicuous grey container adjacent to the other buildings. “That is the sprinkler monitoring station,” he says and opens the door. Inside, the images from the surveillance cameras on the roofs flicker across two large monitors. Below are two desks with operating consoles for the fire suppression systems. “This is where the other end of the cables are,” Groos says. There, in the corner to which he is pointing, are twelve parallel cables, which deliver images and supply power as well as transmit control pulses to the suppression system. “If there is a fire, the fire fighters sit here and extinguish in the places that they are otherwise unable to reach,” Groos explains. Then he waves all the visitors outside again and locks the door of the grey container. Fortunately, the system has not yet been needed and, however satisfied Holger Groos and his customer are with the results, they hope it will stay that way.

red fire suppression systems
Three of these bright red fire suppression systems stand on the roofs of SMS Siemag.(© HELUKABEL / Ralf Kreuels)


Three so-called fire suppression systems sit high above the ground at key points over the roofs of SMS Siemag AG. Each of the stationary water sprayers has a range of up to 45 metres (150 ft) and, in an emergency, shoots up to 1,600 litres (425 gal) per minute towards the source of the fire. The water comes from the hydrant network on site.