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enquiries@apapl.com.au
PO Box 28, Hamilton NSW 2303, Australia

A Moving Fire

A Moving Fire

Mobile mine site equipment either on the surface or underground are a vital part of any mine operation.  They are the means of transporting the raw product from mine to stockpiles, processing plant, conveyors, or train loading for further shipment.  Mobile equipment can include g dump trucks, water carts, loaders, excavators, shovels, dozers and so on.

These very large machines contain multiple sources of heat including exhaust pipes, braking systems, gearboxes, motor starters, turbo-chargers, electrical cables, switchboards, often operating in hot ambient temperatures for surface mines.   Combined with flammable fuel sources such as hydraulic oils, engine oils, diesel or petrol fuels, it is easy to see that the potential for a fire hazard is higher than for fixed plant equipment.

Once an ignition source has been achieved, e.g. if a dump truck’s hydraulic hose develops a pin hole leak, spurting hot oil onto a hot metal surface, can trigger a blaze that may engulf the vehicle within 3-5 minutes.

Existing fire detection on these vehicles are local spot detectors and may not detect the fire until it is out of control, and suppression may not be capable of extinguishing the fire.  In addition, the vehicle driver may also not be able to detect the smoke or fire due to their remoteness from the likely causes of the event, until it is too late.

The consequences of an undetected fire expose the mine to potential personal injury to the driver, major vehicle damage well into the $M’s of dollars, production losses, and environmental releases.

Therefore, mines need very early detection of overheating episodes throughout the vehicle e.g. burst hydraulic hose releasing hot oil, or engine compartment overheating before it has a chance of ignition.

This information not only needs to be relayed onto the driver but monitored remotely so prevention procedures can be initiated much earlier.

The best technical and cost-effective solution to provide TOTAL vehicle coverage and EARLY warning of abnormal heat build-up around equipment, is a linear heat detector (LHD) fibre optic based system.

Our fibre optic cable distributed temperature system (DTS) provides the following key features for mobile vehicle protection:

  • Accredited for fire detection use (flame resistance 750°C for 2 hours, IEC 60331)
  • Doesn’t propagate the flame along the cable (IEC60332-3).
  • 24×7 remote temperature monitoring of the whole vehicle, for subsystem’s health monitoring.
  • Provides the actual location of the fire, to remote monitoring control rooms.
  • It provides early warning of heat before a flame occurs.
  • Can be installed in harsh environments (stainless steel cable sheath with high crush resistance).
  • Is immune to EMI (electromagnetic interference).
  • Requires no maintenance, after it is installed.
  • The fibre cable is the sensor, no other cabling or field interface devices required.