Feb 23, 2022
How Fire Prevention is Vital in the Evolution of Mining
As the world accelerates the implementation of modern technologies across various sectors, the mining sector has been going through its own revolution. But this revolution does not come without problems.
How Fire Prevention is Vital in the Evolution of Mining

Mining fires continue to plague the industry with 27% of all losses attributed to the issue. With equipment continuing to operate in high temperatures and extreme conditions, the risk of fire is ever present. Protecting mobile plants and saving lives is a necessity – effective fire prevention systems can help achieve this.


The Current Trajectory of the Mining Industry

In May 2004, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) presented new Tier 4 emission standard for off-road vehicles. Such measures would reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 90%. Tier 4 standards were originally phased in through 2008 – 2015. Recently, the development of Tier 5 emission standards was brought forward in which emissions would again be reduced by 50 – 90%.

The pursuit of a cleaner future is a race that everyone should be involved in, but such a quest already has and will continue to place incredible burdens on equipment. The current tier definitions already lead to higher fuel pressures and higher temperatures – putting equipment under elevated stress and ultimately leading to an increased risk of fires.


How the Majority of Fires Occur

The exponential increase in heat in various systems means that the risk of a fire igniting is unnervingly real. Fire incidents occur mostly in the engine compartment initiating from key organs on the mobile equipment: turbo charger, exhaust system, electrical components and wiring, fuels or hot surfaces. Following circumstances will increase the risk of ignition in mobile equipment such as dump trucks, dozers, excavators or drill rigs :

 1. Harsh Conditions

Extracting minerals from the ground has led many mining conglomerates to pursue success in some of the world’s harshest environments. Countries such as Australia that have severe terrain, dust, and elevated temperatures contribute towards putting excessive stress on equipment – particularly vehicles.

2. Poor Maintenance

With any transportable machinery, preventive maintenance and servicing are key for equipment to run effectively. Failing to do so often results in machinery breaking down with many parts deteriorating to such an extent that they produce a fire. While it does not fully alleviate the risk of fire, consistent maintenance mitigates the risk of fire and ensure that the systems are operating as intended.

3. Leaks within Systems

Heat alone is capable of producing fires yet leakages in the various fluid systems tend to cause excessive and irreparable damage. Any oil, lubricant or hydraulic fluid leaks are disastrous when they come into contact with surfaces that are super-heated. Suppressing these types of fires is especially difficult and requires immediate suppression.


Preventing Fires with Rotarex Firetec COMPACT LINE

The COMPACT LINE by Rotarex is acknowledged for its compactness and its ability to be mounted anywhere and in any orientation thanks to its dual chamber technology. Eurofins FA-127 and AS 5062:2016 certified, the COMPACT LINE can withstand up to +80°C and high-vibration, making it the best ally of heavy-duty mobile equipment (HDME).

Completely autonomous, the COMPACT LINE doesn’t require power. The COMPACT LINE discharges its extinguishing agent automatically when the pneumatic wire bursts when exposed to a source of heat. The fluorine-free foam extinguishing agent is clean, environmentally friendly and non-corrosive. All mechanical parts are protected while the time and effort required to clean up the protected area are significantly reduced – enabling vehicles and pieces of machinery to have minimal downtime and require less repairs. With any fire suppressed, the foam spray solution contains the risk of reignition allowing the clean-up to begin in a matter of minutes.

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The COMPACT LINE – Tailormade for Any Vehicle of Any Size

While many systems are effective in suppressing fires, the Rotarex Firetec COMPACT LINE exceeds expectations as it can be tailored to fit any piece of equipment of any size. This peace-of-mind ensures that you’re safe in the knowledge that all machinery and vehicles have appropriate protection in the event there is any fire – regardless of the size.

The COMPACT LINE is available in three separate sizes which can be configured to small, medium, or large vehicles. A 4 L, 7 L, and 12 L cylinder is available and can all be mounted in the same manner to protect valuable heavy-duty mobile equipment (HDME).



Added Layer of Protection for Drivers

Vehicle operators play crucial roles in the exploitation of mineral resources. Ensuring their safety is a fundamental requirement and the COMPACT LINE helps achieve this.

The operator can monitor the system status at all time via Rotarex Compact Line dashboard. The operator can also activate the system from the cabin or outside of the vehicle.

As a business, protecting expensive equipment and machinery is incredibly important, but protecting staff even more so. The combination of size and ability to mount the COMPACT LINE anywhere and in any position, now puts you in the best position to achieve that.


Final Thoughts

The demand for increased sustainability by governments has added another tense element for mining companies to contend with. The industry already is a challenging environment that’s fraught with dangers and risks that happen at a moment’s notice. Safety precautions alone are not enough to prevent these dangers becoming a realization.

Fire suppression systems are crucial. The Rotarex Firetec COMPACT LINE is the perfect partner for every essential piece of equipment in your business – protecting staff as well as your continued investment in your business.


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