What To Look For In A Plant Fire Suppression System

There’s a good reason plant fires are so high profile. Heavy plant and machinery operate for long hours, in harsh conditions, where an array of flammable liquids and hot engine bays are present. This all creates a high-risk environment for fires to break out. To minimise these risks, which can drastically affect lives and livelihoods, plant fire suppression systems help tackle fires before they take hold. 

As each site’s fire protection requirements may vary, it’s important to find effective plant fire suppression for the equipment at hand. Here, we outline the key factors and functionalities to look for to make an informed decision about your investment.

Factors to consider when investing in a plant fire suppression system

Suitable for specific type of plant 

From forklift trucks to 1,000-tonne mining excavators, different types of equipment and mobile plants require different plant fire suppression systems. Finding a supplier who can provide flexible systems and services for specific machinery can save a lot of time, effort, and money. We’ve worked with clients in a wide variety of sectors and know the specific fire protection requirements each environment poses to heavy machinery, including excavators, cranes, dump trucks, wheel loaders and more.

Complies with industry standards

It’s vital to verify that a plant fire suppression system meets relevant industry standards, codes, and regulations. This ensures the machine is protected by a system that’s undergone rigorous testing and meets the necessary safety requirements. Our mobile plant fire suppression systems are designed and engineered to withstand the most challenging conditions, including extensive internal and external testing, as well as obtaining accreditations and certifications to demonstrate our commitment.

Types of suppression agents used

For plant fire suppression systems, dry chemical (ABC powder), wet chemical (such as Aqueous Film Forming Foam or AFFF) or other liquid-based agents are most commonly used. Dry chemical is proven to be three times more effective than wet chemical at extinguishing fires on a weight-for-weight basis, with reliable knock-down and coverage of protected areas thanks to its easy dispersibility. On the other hand, the cooling features of wet chemical agents can significantly reduce the risk of fire reignition. Large mobile plant fire suppression systems that combine dry and wet chemical agents can provide both fast, reliable fire suppression and additional protection against fire reignition.

Fire-detecting technology

In situations where every second counts, a plant fire suppression system must have the technology in place to detect a fire straight away, while minimising the chances of false discharges. For example, we route our Linear Heat Detection (LHD) cable around all identified fire hazards in a machine. This then detects any elevated temperatures or fires within seconds, initiating the suppression process. Its live status monitoring system communicates any detection cable damage to an operator and reduces false discharges.

System activation controls

Acting as the brain for plant fire suppression systems, a top-performing activation system should constantly monitor fire detection and discharge, as well as providing visual and audible alerts to machine operators. As well as our Ardent VCM Control Module, our manual actuation point(s) provide operators or other personnel with the ability to activate the fire suppression system from outside the machine itself.

Engine shutdown capabilities

This feature is especially important in mobile plant fire suppression systems, since fuel or hydraulic fluid leaks are a common cause of fire in mobile plant. This can happen from fuel or fluid spraying onto superheated components, such as a turbocharger or exhaust manifold, igniting a fire. The longer the engine continues to operate, the longer the fluid will fuel the fire - engine shutdown stops this process from happening.

Safe for humans

There are various factors that determine the safest plant fire suppression systems for humans, such as the specific presence of personnel to the kind of fire hazards and ventilation onsite. Generally, features such as non-toxic or low-toxicity agents are safe for humans and the environment. 

Supported by a service

Investing in a plant fire suppression system that reacts quickly is crucial to stopping fires before they spread. But that still doesn’t cover the impact of machine downtime on operations and productivity. Finding a supplier that can offer unfailing support in both everyday and emergency situations can keep your business functioning at its most efficient level. From installation to servicing to rapid response callouts, our services and support are designed around your operations. 

As well as our high-performance mobile plant fire suppression systems, our skilled engineers can be onsite within a matter of hours to help get your equipment back to service. Request a callback from us and we’ll help you find the perfect solution for your plant safety.