The Siren Board

Discussion of Outdoor Warning Systems
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:15 pm 
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Man, it's been awhile since I posted here.

I've been working as an electrician at a steel mill, and have taken an interest to indoor warning equipment. I thought I'd share my observations here and some stories just to see if anyone finds it interesting what is used out there. It's probably exactly what most would expect to be honest.

So, specifics, I work as a Melt Shop Electrician. Which means it is my job to maintain our warning sirens and alarms. I am not a fire-alarm technician, but we do not have much actual fire alarms as much as we have general buzzers, bells, and sirens. We use buzzers and bells on equipment and sirens for overhead cranes. We have two overhead cranes that are lower-level used for moving equipment, objects, and ladles and other items. (both are 30 ton) These are equipment with electronic sirens. The first one I mention has a Hubbell remote control system that is quite antiquated and card-based. These cranes are remote control, you see. The Hubbell system has what I believe is just loud speaker on a digitally synthesized siren. It honestly sounds like a cow-mooing. It's neat because if you hold the button down and let go it does a fake 'run down'. If you push the button quickly over and over again, you can get it to harshly wind up and down making almost a hi-lo of cows mooing.

The other smaller crane has a Federal Signal SelecTone on it that plays a yelp sound. So it pretty much sounds like you're being pulled over by a crane, but it works.

We have two high-bay indoor overhead cranes. One is a 175 ton for ladles and a 150 ton of charging the EAF. The 150 ton is older and has a 250VDC Klaxon siren. I haven't got a model number, but it appears to be similar to the SLB-002 siren. It's higher pitched and is one of our 3 mechanical crane sirens. The 175 ton has three sirens on it. We have a Federal Siren SelecTone as the primary using the 'Yeow' tone as its main siren. We have a 'main hoist brake failure' alarm that activates another separate FS SelecTone that plays a 'Wail' tone. As a backup in case the main siren fail, we have a Sentry Siren F2 I believe.

We have two outdoor 32 ton billet cranes that operate both with Federal Signal model Ls.

My thoughts are as follows. I have never had to replace a Federal model L since I started 2 years ago. I've had a SelecTone die on our 175 ton, which is subject to high ambient heat and dust as well as a Klaxon which had a bearing failure causing the rotor to seize up and blow fuses when trying to sound. Klaxon was easy to replace, but we just clamp mount it and have it on a plug, so that's why. You don't have to 'select your tone' with a mechanical siren necessarily.

We also ordered new overhead cranes in another area that has nothing but new Federal Signal Ls. My thoughts on this is that having unique sounding sirens to each crane means that without looking up I know which crane is sirening at me. In that building if I hear a siren wind up, I have to look to make sure it's not the one near me. So I'm not sure which is better, forcing someone to look to see what crane it is - or just instantly knowing which crane is sirening? My thoughts are having a unique siren is best for all persons.

I don't have any pictures or videos that I can share, but I feel the audios of these sirens already exists so you get the point. If you guys have recommendations on sirens as well I can forward them to my boss and see what can be changed. And yes, I already tried to get someone to get us a Model 2. :lol:

I will say, we do have a Federal Signal 2001 SRNB on site, but I do not believe we maintain it (if I get called to look at it, sure, I will!). While we bought it, it's on the county EMA control and I assume they have it worked on by insured and warranty offering siren contractors.

Cheers!

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So, apparently, I like Federal Signal...


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2020 1:27 am 
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Real Name: Keith Foor
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You are stuck at the tip of a double edged sword. That being any electronic siren will have magnets in the speakers that will draw grinding dust. And the mechanical with motors will suffer from the grit in the air from grinding. My advise would be to continue with mechanical sirens but put explosion proof motors with a similar RPM rating on what you have as they fail. It sounds like they are holding up well though, which is a plus.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:40 am 
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I know AK steel in Middletown (my highschool town) has a ton of overhead cranes. If anyone's interested I could ask my friend who works there to take some videos.

I've seen some footage before but being a steel mill they have a bunch of other machines around making noise. When they test (if they regularly test) it may be quieter.

Would something like resonating horns be better for industrial environments? While they do have magnets they're in the back of the head behind a screen . I know thorguards use smaller horns and there's a hockey arena downtown that has a resonating horns (sounds like a federal signal model 56). They're a fill your ears loud than a oh God it hurts loud.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 11:03 pm 
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Ohio_Man wrote: *
I know AK steel in Middletown (my highschool town) has a ton of overhead cranes. If anyone's interested I could ask my friend who works there to take some videos.

I've seen some footage before but being a steel mill they have a bunch of other machines around making noise. When they test (if they regularly test) it may be quieter.

Would something like resonating horns be better for industrial environments? While they do have magnets they're in the back of the head behind a screen . I know thorguards use smaller horns and there's a hockey arena downtown that has a resonating horns (sounds like a federal signal model 56). They're a fill your ears loud than a oh God it hurts loud.
"Oh God it hurts loud" is the kind of loud we need. Operating an electric arc furnace means everyone in the melt shop must wear ear plugs, and EAF personnel are wearing double layer hearing protection consisting of rated earplugs and ear muffs. So the crane sirens at that point are attention getting - but not over the top loud to them.

On the equipment warning front, I've found bells and buzzers work just fine. I've seen a buzzer die due to metal dust intrusion and attraction to the magnetic core that causes the buzzer to draw more amps and heat up until it eventually dies from years of service. Bells work good by cleaning the gongs when ringing, but I've found it's more maintenance to keep a bell ringing just because it's easier to make them stop ringing. Let's just say, not everyone likes to hear the same alarms 20-30 times a day. I can't think of a lot of areas where an audible horn would work, if we had a fire alarm or something of that nature - sure, but we don't. In fact, most of our alarms go to the operators pulpit and activate a master alarm which consists of a buzzer and visual alarm description on the HMI screen.

Either way, there is no correct answer to the 'best' alarm for a steel mill. Everything will be broken eventually, it's just the way she goes. ;)

Cheers!

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So, apparently, I like Federal Signal...


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