I hadn't been terribly specific in the intro as I was just sort of giving on overview and background of what I was looking to accomplish.
At this point, we've been installing in the US and UK in cheese processing faculties, primarily in electrical panel protection - basically ensuring that a fire due to a failure in one of those cabinets had a similar impact to a blown fuse. Provided that there was redundancy in systems, there would be no process interruption. The smoke release in one of these events is pretty minimal as the fire would largely not escape the confinement of the enclosure, nor would the gas suppressant.
I think you hit the nail on the head with this statement:
"Financial losses can also occur without any smoke damage; for example if a fire in a control panel caused food production to stop or to fail in some way. It can be very expensive for food production equipment to lie idle due to electrical or mechanical failures."
That seems to be the motivating factor in the systems we have deployed and that's the application I plan to learn the most about first; whether the solution is applicable beyond the plants we've done and is the value of the potential loss multiplied by the probability enough to warrant the cost of protection.
I'll take a closer look at some of the other areas you've suggested as well. Fryers generally should have protection on them for obvious reasons, concerns with ovens are reasonably easy to understand. The flour handling and explosion protection is really a different discipline in fire protection, but flammable liquids are right in our wheelhouse as a area we can look at. I'd be curious to know more about the comment about snack foods in the finished goods warehouse - why would that area carry an elevated risk?
Thanks Karen for taking the time to respond, it's given me both some assurances that there's value in looing further into this as well as some new avenues to look at!
Note: And apologies to Simon - didn't meant to violate the rules with contact info in the body. The intent was to allow an anonymous response... often fire incidents (at least in other industries we serve) aren't discussed in open forum due to the sensitive nature of the events. Sorry about that!