November 2018 marked a significant milestone for Patol as the company celebrated 50 years of supplying fire safety solutions to projects throughout the world.
The company was founded in 1968 by Brian Jenkins who still owns the business and is its Managing Director. When Patol was originally established, the focus was on alarm annunciation, with a particular emphasis on supplying alarm solutions for the shipping industry. With Brian’s experience in alarms, he soon employed engineers with specific knowledge of the fire sector and moved swiftly into this market.
One of the company’s most notable milestones came in 1976 when, in association with Sterling Cables, Patol developed and started the manufacture of linear heat detection cables (LHDC) to offer the opportunity for early detection of fire and overheating in applications where other forms of detection were not viable due to the environmental challenges of a given site or the costs being prohibitive. Patol, together with the CEGB was instrumental in the creation of the GDCD187 standard for LHDC and was a pioneer in identifying applications in which the technology could be employed. LHDC was quickly adopted as a preferred detection method in the new nuclear power stations that were being built. A notable project was its use in protecting the Thames Barrier when it was constructed in 1985. It has also been used extensively on the London Underground network, particularly on escalators following the Kings Cross fire in 1987.
The success of the technology is illustrated by the fact that LHDC, under the Firesense brand, is still manufactured and sold globally by Patol today, although there have been some changes since those early days. Brian comments – “We knew when we developed the original cable that the concept was sound. Since then we have built on this solid foundation and now offer a range of options: analogue, digital and fibre optic. Recognising the different requirements of applications and the temperatures at which detection is required, we have extended the range to offer temperature ratings from 70°C to 240°C.”
Over the years Patol has also moved into different areas of specialised detection, most recently adding Aspirating Smoke Detection (ASD) and Thermal Imaging Fire Detection to its portfolio. The company has also expanded its role in international markets, including setting up a dedicated sales operation in India which has resulted in a ten-fold increase in sales, most notably in India’s expanding power generation and industrial markets.
Brian concludes – “What has not changed is our commitment to being a leading supplier of specialist fire detection products in industrial and commercial markets, as well as continuing to manufacture, from our UK base, our LHDC with over 10 million metres of cable sold to date.”