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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.

OUR SOLUTION

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

THE DTS KEY COMPONENTS

The CABLE is the SENSOR

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
Ubaldo (Aldo) Torre +61 421 516 600; email ubaldo.torre@apapl.com.au

Aldo started his career as an Electrical Engineer in the design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure in Victoria.    He then moved to working as an instrumentation and Process Control Systems Engineer for Fluor Australia primarily in the oil/gas, and food industry, before moving to Newcastle NSW.   In Newcastle he has worked for Hunter Control, Matrikon, and Honeywell progressing from Project Manager, Operations & Engineering Manager of the Matrikon Automation business, through to marketing leader for Honeywell’s mining and materials handling business in Asia Pacific working primarily in the coal mining sector for over 25 years.   He is now one of the directors of Advanced Photonics Australia, and his personal mission is to evaluate the needs for fire safety in both public facilities and industry and to apply innovative solutions to improve site safety & optimise operations.