Let’s explore the differences between generics and Novec 1230 fluid, the clean agent you can trust.
End users rely on clean agent fire suppression systems to protect their important assets and operations, making the quality, safety and reliability of an agent paramount. Branded agent and system manufacturers and distributors have invested substantially in their technologies, brands and reputations, so they also have a lot at stake for the ultimate performance of these systems to put out fires and help keep people safe. Because the quality requirements for an agent are so high, market penetration of generic sources has been limited – even when branded and generic suppliers use essentially the same manufacturing process.
Quality concerns associated with potential future generic sources of FK-5-1-12 are further heightened because these sources would use a drastically different manufacturing process than the process used to manufacture Novec 1230 fluid. Patent filings and promotional materials over the past few years suggest that a generic FK-5-1-12 agent may enter the market in the coming years. However, specifying a generic agent can have significant consequences because 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid is more than just a molecule and it’s a clean agent you can trust.
Generic manufacturers are not using 3M’s trade secret manufacturing technology, electrochemical fluorination. The manufacturing process described in generic FK-5-1-12 patents is dramatically different than 3M’s process for manufacturing Novec 1230 fluid. The patents describe complicated, multi-step processes including the transition through multiple intermediates that have similar boiling points to the generic product, making purification difficult.
One of the consequences of the processes described in the generic patents is a delicate balance between manufacturing cost and product purity. Product and quality control acceptance by system manufacturers may require investment in sophisticated analytical equipment and qualified personnel capable of not only verifying compliance with NFPA quality specifications but also capable of quantifying the presence of impurities at low concentrations.
Fluorochemical technology has been a core 3M technology for more than 60 years and 3M has commercialized over 30 Novec branded products. All of these products are smart, safe, sustainable solutions, consistently manufactured to high quality specifications and standards. 3M’s trade secret technology has not been replicated by generic manufacturers and replication of the 3M processes does not appear to be on the horizon.
Prior to commercialization, 3M thoroughly tested Novec 1230 fluid, including a cardiac sensitization study and other short term and long term safety testing to demonstrate its safety for use in clean agent fire suppression. The resulting safety assessment applies to Novec 1230 fluid and does not translate to material derived from the generic manufacturing process.
Today, with more than 50,000 system installations in over 90 countries, and with the approvals to back up our promises, 3M continues to move the industry forward by delivering a solution that is designed to work now and for years to come. For over 15 years, 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid has become the standard for sustainable clean agent fire suppression to protect people, important assets and operations. System manufacturers rely on 3M as a trusted source of supply for quality agent. Specifiers and end-users of fire suppression systems have come to recognize Novec 1230 fluid from 3M not only as a sustainable alternative to FM-200® and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), but also as a reliable, trusted brand that they can specify with confidence.
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