PO Box 28, Hamilton NSW 2303, Australia

Glencore Coal adopts APAPL’s Conveyor & Tunnel Fire Detection DTS System

Advanced Photonics Australia’s Director Ubaldo Torre is proud to announce the signing of a contract with Glencore Coal.

The contract will provide a fully redundant fibre optic cable DTS based fire detection system for the Bulga Coal Handling Plant for the surface and reclaim tunnel conveyors.

The system will provide area coverage from the run of mine stockpile area conveyors, 3 reclaim tunnels, through the Coal Handling & Preparation Plant (CHPP), across to the Train Loadout (TLO) conveyor and ending at the TLO bin.

This will provide early warning of abnormal heat build-up to minimise the potential serious consequences of equipment overheating, which could endanger personnel, damage the mine and equipment.

An internal risk review process by the Glencore managed Bulga Open Cut Mine identified the need for conveyor fire detection which would provide:

  • Conveyor fire detection coverage;
  • Interface not only to the fire alarm system, but fully integrated with their existing site SCADA for
    • Early warning of abnormal heat build-up
    • Exact localization of the abnormal heat or fire within a metre;
    • Fire event management (i.e. evacuation, fire-fighting activities)
    • Full history of the fire initiation point, its movement/spread, temperatures reached, with date/time stamping for the eventual reporting & investigation
    • Option for automatic activation of fire suppression systems;
  • A maintenance free fire detection system requiring no calibration;
  • A 24×7 fire detection and temperature monitoring system that increases safety for the protection of people and fixed assets.


An overview of our solution for the Glencore managed Bulga Open Cut Mine is shown below.  It consists of over 5 km of fibre cable distributed throughout the site.

DTS Cable distribution along conveyor paths



Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) technology using a linear heat detector laser source through a single fibre optic core measuring 4 mm in diameter.  It has been successfully tested and deployed in both surface and underground mines.

The ruggedized fibre optic based system has the capacity to detect heat build-up quickly and localize the source to within 0.5 metres. This precision is unaffected by wind and other environmental effects, because not only convective, but also conductive and radiant (infrared) heat is detected by the cable.

The fibre optic cable is:

  • Accredited for fire detection use (flame resistance 750°C for 2 hours, IEC 60331)
  • Doesn’t propagate the flame along the cable (IEC60332-3).
  • 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.

The DTS unit


The DTS system’s capabilities include:

  • 24×7 remote temperature monitoring of the entire length, for total coverage.
  • Provides not only the temperature but the actual location of the fire.
  • It provides early warning of abnormal heat before a flame occurs.
  • Interfaces to fire alarm panels & existing site HMI/SCADA systems.
  • Safety Integrity Level SIL2 (IEC61508) for high reliability when asked to alarm
  • Available in 19” rack or IP66 external stainless steel enclosures
If you would like to know more, please contact us today.