MXL Migration: Can you afford to wait?

 In Be Ready, Industry, Products, Smoke Detector

Given this timetable, Siemens has already begun to push their MXL migration strategy – but is doing a partial or full retrofit of your MXL fire safety system a must?

In case you haven’t heard, Siemens has discontinued their beloved MXL fire safety system. While different components of the MXL system will be discontinued at different times, the production end of this system is upon us. So the questions are – what does this mean for you, your MXL system, and your pocket book?

The MXL system has been in production since 1992. While system field parts evolved over the almost 30 years of production, this system has been widely recognized as a reliable workhorse of the fire alarm industry. Today, the Siemens FP-11 smoke detectors, the TRI series monitoring modules, and the MSI series pull stations are all the primary detection or control field devices used in the MXL system. (See Table below for the timeline for when each of these system parts will be discontinued.)

MXL System Parts Discontinue Date
MXL System Phase Out Announcement January 31, 2013
MXL Panel Parts Discontinued October 1, 2018
FP-11 Smoke Detectors May 29, 2020
TRI Series Monitoring Modules End of 2023
MSI Series Pull Stations End of 2023

Given this timetable, Siemens has already begun to push their MXL migration strategy – but is doing a partial or full retrofit of your MXL fire safety system a must?

When we look at the end of production of the MXL system we see two main options for facility managers:

  1. Wait and See
  2. Partial or Full Retrofit Now

Option 1: Wait and See
This first option of “wait and see” is a great option for system managers who have tight budgets and who have the ability to continue to support their fire systems with new and refurbished parts from the secondary market like Save More on Fire Alarm Parts. With the MXL system being on the market for almost 30 years, Siemens is estimating that there are over 70,000 MXL/MXLV/MXL-IQ systems out there. This means that there will be plenty of refurbished field parts available for many years to come. However, even with this option, it would still be best to stock up on the MXL parts you’ll need. For the MXL system, it is probably the most critical to stock up on FP-11 smoke detectors since their last production call is just a few months away. These are high demand smoke detectors that will go fast even on the secondary market. We expect the supply of new FP-11s sold through the secondary market could last at best 2-4 years. For the TRI and MSI series devices, they have another 3 years of production so you have more time to stock up as these devices. While supply is important so is price. We have seen prices significantly increase on discontinued and soon to be discontinued products, so again another reason to stock up now.

So don’t let this migration announcement get you in a panic. From our point of view, you have plenty of time to create your MXL migration strategy. The key is keep your MXL parts stocked while their still available.

Option 2: Partial or Full Retrofit Now
An even more proactive strategy is to retrofit your MXL system into the new Siemens (Firefinder XLS and Cerberus Pro Modular) now. With this approach you have two options:

  1. Upgrade the MXL panel only, keeping all currently installed MXL field devices in place
  2. Upgrade the entire MXL system – including the panel, smoke detectors, and monitoring devices (and quite possibly the notification devices).

Siemens has designed the new systems to historically be backwards compatible with the old MXL field devices. This means that you can do a partial panel upgrade, since those are in more limited supply, and continue to keep most of your existing MXL field devices (FP-11s, TRI series, and MSI series devices) in place. With the partial upgrade you’re still going to want to stock up on FP-11s so you can delay your full retrofit when it’s a cost you can more easily plan for and afford.

As a second option, you can bite the bullet and do the full retrofit now. While this solves the component supply issues it’s by far the more costly option. This option could also be more costly than your traditional retrofit since we expect to see a big spike in retrofit demand when UL 217 & UL 268 standards take effect in May 2020. This higher retrofit demand is expected to result in higher retrofit costs and longer wait times. So if this is your path of choice it’s best to get started NOW!

All options are on the table for your MXL migration. No choice really standards out as a clear winner. Your company circumstances, budget, and timeline will help you determine which is the best path for you. From our view, one thing is clear – if you stock up on the MXL system parts you need, you will continue to get value out of your initial MXL investment and you will have plenty of time to wait and thoughtfully plan out your fire system migration.

Our goal is to serve you so you can execute your strategy on your timeline. The MXL system is one of the best out there and we expect it to continue to deliver and give you many more years of great service, you just need the parts. Save More on Fire Alarm Parts stocks over 10,000 MXL new and refurbished parts to enable your system to keep running for years to come. We also provide a 1 year replace or refund policy on all of your parts and free 3 day USPS shipping. Stock up today so you’re ready for tomorrow To get the latest updates and what it may mean for you, your business, and your bottom line follow us on FaceBook or Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter.

Save More on Fire Alarm Parts, Tiffany Groode & Jim Avanzino, October 2019