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Wagner Group’s innovative fire protection solutions improving safety and security for 40 years

article image Werner Wagner

German fire systems specialist Wagner Group GmbH has been continuously developing their fire protection solutions to improve safety and security in diverse environments from data centres and enormous logistics halls to museums and trains.

The success story of fire protection technology leader Wagner Group began 40 years ago in a basement near Hanover. Werner Wagner, a communications engineer, founded the company in 1976 with an initial focus on intruder detection technology. The company has evolved over the decades into a market leader in innovative fire protection solutions.

The Langenhagen-based Wagner Group holds over 700 patents and its fire protection systems can be found in museums and libraries, high-bay and deep-freeze warehouses, hazardous material storage facilities, as well as in hospitals, vaults and wind turbines.

Werner Wagner, who was recently awarded family entrepreneur of the year, commented that their strength lay in their expertise in solving problems. He explained that the company provided solutions instead of mere products. This corporate philosophy has had a positive influence on the company’s performance with the Wagner Group increasing their sales by roughly 10 percent in the business year 2015/2016, reaching Euro 85 million. The company already makes 30 percent of its turnover outside of Germany, in Europe and Asia, and, since 2015, in the USA and Canada as well, where Wagner is tapping into a gigantic new market.

The company’s success is primarily based on two cutting-edge technologies: very early smoke detection with Titanus air sampling smoke detectors, which detect fires at a very early stage and are highly resistant to false alarms, and the OxyReduct system for active fire prevention. OxyReduct, an oxygen reduction system is a pioneering development in preventative fire protection and works by reducing the oxygen content in densely packed areas holding large numbers of valuable products (such as warehouses, archives and data centres) so that a fire cannot develop or spread.

Wagner’s FirExting gas extinguishing technology uses special inert gases such as nitrogen to ensure effective, residue-free extinguishing of fire. This allows technical systems to remain functional and important works of art, films or documents to remain undamaged. One of the latest inventions from the company’s headquarters in Germany is the innovative Titanus MultiSens sampling smoke detector, which can uniquely recognise what is burning, using a patented analysis process with which it can learn and automatically evaluate specific types of fire as well as types of false alarms (cigarette smoke, theatre fog, etc.). Customers have been looking for this technology to protect their production facilities, theatres or rail vehicles.

Torsten Wagner, representing the next generation, is a communications engineer like his father and in charge of the technology and logistics departments as second managing director of the company. He observes that fire protection, nowadays, isn’t just about protecting people; it’s also essential to protect the processes as well, since interruptions in operations are expensive and can even put companies out of business. He adds that Wagner offers innovative fire protection concepts, which increase customers’ process reliability and protect data, goods, assets and operating procedures including personal safety and the environment.

Wagner employees also benefit from the success story and the continuity of the family-owned company. Decision-making paths are short, so everyone is welcome to take part in shaping the company every day. This is reflected in the growing staff strength with the 500th employee expected to join in the next few weeks.

The Wagner Group develops its products in-house, employing hardware and software engineers, process technicians and physicists as well as application engineers from the fields of electrical and mechanical engineering. Wagner works closely with universities and provides internships, Master's thesis work and scholarships to ensure that enough specialists find their way to the company. Electronics engineers for IT and telecommunications technology are also trained at company sites in Berlin and Munich.

Milestones in Wagner Group’s success story

1976 - The beginning: Qualified engineer Werner Wagner founds an engineering office for intruder detection technology in Winsen/Aller, Germany.

1982 - The first large-scale order: The company develops and implements an intruder detection concept to protect the entire outdoor premises of the nuclear interim storage facility in Gorleben with open field monitoring, which even special forces of the Federal Police could not overcome.

1994 - Pioneer in the field of extinguishing technology: Wagner became the first German provider with VdS system and installer approval to introduce nitrogen as a natural extinguishing agent on the market.

1997 - Revolution in early smoke detection: After several years spent constructing many fire detection systems in data centres, Wagner decides to develop air sampling smoke detectors of its own, which are capable of reliably detecting the tiniest particles of smoke with high sensitivity.

2000 - Wagner goes international: The company’s first foreign subsidiary is founded in Austria.

2003 - Wagner protects high-security area: Wagner increasingly specialises in IT security concepts. It provides an OxyReduct multi-zone installation to protect a Munich data centre, along with all associated technological areas.

2004 - Wagner protects Telekom systems: Over ten years ago, Wagner received its first order to protect Telekom’s technical systems with Titanus family air sampling smoke detectors. The companies are still closely connected today.

2009 - Titanus systems in space: Optimum safety for the crew and equipment: The Titanus MicroSens air sampling smoke detection system is used in the ISS space station to protect the high-tech, highly sensitive laboratory and measuring instruments from fire.

2013 - Award-worthy: Wagner wins the German Data Centre Award for the second consecutive year. Titanus MultiSens receives the award in the safety category. The same year, OxyReduct Compact receives the Préventica innovation award.

2015 - Fire prevention in the largest cold storage warehouse in the world: OxyReduct technology is exported to the USA for the first time ever for their customer, Preferred Freezer to protect 1.05 million cubic metres of warehouse volume in a fully automated high-bay warehouse using the newly developed PSA oxygen reduction system.

2016 - New technology can tell what's burning: Titanus MultiSens appears on the market.

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