If not immediately extinguished, there is no limit to the havoc a fire in construction equipment can cause. This KEP Services expert guide on fire will discuss the causes of a fire, preventing it, and the right steps in the case of emergencies.
What are the repeating causes of machine fire outbreaks?
There are three leading recurring causes
- Source of the spark causing the triggers
- The oil in the engine
- The engine heating the oil
Construction machines and engine oils are inseparable, especially when hydraulic cylinders are present. The engines eventually overheat due to continuous use, perhaps in the quarry or on construction sites. This subsequently heats the oil to a very high temperature. If the hydraulic hose fails, it may lead to a fire outbreak.
Most fires are due to internal complications, for instance, a spark triggered by a bare electrical wire or a short circuit. If the engine-heated oil comes in contact with a bare electrical wire or a short circuit, it will trigger a large fire. Also, there are a few cases of complications originating from external sources.
Another set of fire victims are dumpers.
How can you prevent fires?
Here are some proven fire prevention tips;
- Always have functional fire extinguishers close to you. The fire brigade must be your first port of a call in the case of a fire, even when it seems you can control it.
- Train and educate your machine operator on how to prevent and handle fire situations. An operator must leave the cab immediately once they sense or see a potential fire outbreak.
- Industrial and construction materials are best stored in an enclosed space, and far away from flammable sources.
- Proper storage of battery boxes is important. They are best kept where they cannot come into contact with the terminals.
- Remove flammable trash from construction equipment. Green waste, fuel tanks, and grease tanks accumulate waste after continuous use.
- Your engine oil level control cloths must never be in your diesel engine compartment.
- Your machine must be well-maintained and regularly inspected, so that you can detect faulty or poorly connected electrical circuits.
The driver’s cab is most susceptible to fire
A driver cab must be very observant. He will most likely be the first to detect a sign or smell of a fire, considering his exposure to flames. Hence, you must warn and train your teams on the dangers that come with using public works machinery.
It is common for machines intended for deconstruction to remove spare parts being gutted. In most of these cases, the cabin was completely razed. If your machine falls into this category, reach out to us to get a cabin that complies with the necessary regulations.
Fire Protection System for Machines
We have seen manufacturers include a special fire protection system in their most recent models. This protects the machine and the driver in the case of a fire outbreak. These systems are usually similar to the one in rally cars – a pressure sprinkler system linked to a fire extinguisher tank. The other option is to add a piece of fire-fighting equipment procurable from specialized companies.
Let us take a look at Caterpillar as a case study for fire machine protection. The company included a fire safety device on the 777G dumper and bull D10T2. This device can detect and smother the fire. It works by triggering a fire extinguishing system, which in turn cools the overheated parts and smothers the fuel to cut down on oxygen supply.
We can also have a system that replaces the hydraulic oil from base oil with a water-soap mix that works by limiting firing when there is a contact with burning foundry residues. This is seen in a few applications, including steel mills.
Article Author: You can buy your construction truck spare parts at KEP Services with no stress friendly service.