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Fighting fire

World Coal,

AFEX Fire Suppression Systems designs systems to protect heavy off-road equipment, including mining trucks, from the threat of fire. The company here provides a report on the AFEX control unit, first introduced at MINExpo 2012 and now with two years of field experience in the mining industry under its belt. The control unit combines micro-processor technology with durability and lies at the heart of safety attachments to suppress fires.

In the event of a fire, audio and visual signals alert operators to any problem or alarm conditions. These alerts are stored on the control unit’s internal log for subsequent troubleshooting and are shown on the LCD display in the local language, meaning they can easily be reviewed directly on the machine itself.

A key component of telematics integration within the fire suppression industry, the control unit enables asset managers to track a fire suppression system’s status, alongside other operating metrics, quickly and conveniently. Using dedicated outputs from the control unit, as well as inputs on the telematics system, end users can monitor for problem, alarm, and discharge status. Beyond that, for autonomous vehicle applications, the AFEX system can be configured to discharge when signalled by the vehicle remote control.

The control unit is FM approved, CE marked, and certified for use in Russia and Australia. Compact enough for console mounting, the box itself is tightly sealed to protect the internal components, while its battery provides a year of stand-alone power. It uses a customisable harness with standardised connectors for efficient/affordable installations and water-tight connections.

The control unit supports two distinct detection circuits, which allows users to monitor two separate parts of the machine independently. Able to support two separate electric actuators, systems may be designed to have secondary discharges when desired. Another benefit is that there is no limit to the number of tanks the unit can support. Programming of the desired options is a simple matter with the integrated screen, and push-button actuation is available.

The AFEX fire suppression system itself is designed for redundant system activation, so in the event of an electrical system failure, the system can still be actuated manually. The agents used in the system are either an A:B:C dry chemical, an environmentally-friendly liquid agent (rated for use down to -40° C/F) or a combination of the two agent types. As hot-running Tier 4 engines become more common in the field, these dual agent systems will often be the right approach as they take advantage of both the fast knockdown of the dry chemical and the cooling effect and suppressive properties of the liquid agent.

Adapted from press release by Sam Dodson

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