Materials Handling & Warehousing

Integrated Fire Suppression Systems Fit for Africa

Dafo was one of the first companies in the world which started to develop integrated firefighting solutions for vehicles back in 1976. Founded in 1919, Dafo has developed into a modern, high-tech company committed to offer the very best solutions to its customers. Dafo Vehicle supplies solutions in the following segments:

  • buses and coaches,
  • mining and construction equipment,
  • forestry and waste handling equipment
  • material and cargo handling (ports included)
  • agriculture
  • ground support equipment

Fire protection of heavy-duty mobile equipment is nowadays a crucial element for sustainable mining and cargo handling operations.

Why Dafo Fire Suppression Systems?

When it comes to mining, both surface and underground, is a complex operation that needs large off-road vehicles/ heavy duty mobile equipment (HDME) and processing equipment that operate at remote locations 24/7. In addition, these machines as well as port and cargo handling vehicles operate under challenging and demanding conditions in environments with many potential fire hazards as the HDMEs often carry a lot of flammable liquids in pressurized fuel lines close to hot engines and transmissions.

When a fire breaks out on a mining or port and cargo handling vehicle the results can be dramatic. Expensive repair or replacement of valuable equipment are the obvious consequences. Extensive downtime and business interruption can result in even greater expenses as this equipment often takes many months to repair or replace. Further on and most importantly a fire on a vehicle can mean serious injuries to the machine operator, workers and in some cases also lead to geological instability of the workplace.

When it comes to bus transportation this is regarded as one of the safest modes of public transportation. Millions of passengers ride safely every day to and from work, school and for pleasure. The manufacturers and operators of buses have gone to great lengths to establish and maintain this safety record. However, a fire resulting from a collision or failure of a component puts lives at risk and can have an enormous impact on operational costs as well as customer confidence.

Buses pose many unique challenges in regards to fire risks. The varying modes of operation (city, highway, long distance), unique vehicle types (School, Transit, Coach, Demand/ Response) and design changes to meet new emissions standards provide the context for fire safety; but each fire hazard, whether it is an engine compartment, battery compartment, wheel well or even a luggage compartment, poses unique challenges in the way of geometry, airflow, clutter, flame spread and evacuation.

Since 2018 the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) has started to introduce the requirements of mandatory installations of fire detection and suppression systems of buses and coaches. This is specified in UNECE Regulation 107. UNECE Regulation 107 applies to all countries that have signed off to the regulation. For example, in Europe the requirement of fire detection and suppression systems will be put in the legislation. The requirements of installing fire suppression systems in buses and coaches are also being adopted more and more all over the world. Even though many countries are not formally signing off to UNECE Regulation 107 this regulation is being used as a basis for local requirements and standards.

A well-integrated fire suppression system minimizes the risks of costly downtime that a fire can entail.

The Dafo Vehicle Solution

Dafo Vehicle offers the most reliable and effective fire suppression systems for heavy vehicles designed to survive challenging working environments and secure safety of operations. The systems are designed to allow safe evacuation, mitigate losses due to fire and reduce the impact on investment, reducing downtime and securing business continuity and increasing the productivity of the end users. Dafo Vehicle’s robust system not only protect individual hazards within the vehicle such as leaking fuel, hydraulic fluid, and/or lubrication, built up flammable deposits, but it is also a system with low life cycle costs.

With more than 185 000 vehicle systems sold worldwide knowhow and experience ensure customers to have the latest technology combined with proven reliability. The current solutions are being used worldwide as integrated solutions at the OEM production lines as well as retrofit installations at the end user in the mining industry.

The Dafo Vehicle system combines the features of liquid and dry chemical, includes unique and propriety tailormade solutions and offers outstanding flame knockdown and unique protection against re-ignition as it will cool down the overheated engine parts in case of a thermal event.

The Dafo Vehicle System

The Dafo Vehicle fire suppression system consists of four integrated elements; Detection, Alarm, Suppression and Control which work together in a coordinated, fast and efficient way to suppress fires. Dafo Vehicle use a robust linear heat detector cable.

The basis of Dafo Vehicle’s system is the suppression agent Forrex™ which is specially developed to suppress fires in combustible engines. Forrex™ is highly effective on flammable liquid fires like petrol, diesel and hydraulic oils. The system combines the features of liquid and dry chemical, includes unique and proprietary tailormade solutions and offers outstanding flame knockdown and unique protection against re-ignition as it will cool down the overheated engine parts in case of a thermal event.

Operators need to secure that the system they are using is a robust system fit for purpose in heavy vehicles. Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection has fulfilled the requirements of the Australian Standard AS 5062:2016 – Fire protection for mobile and transportable equipment for their SV-K fire suppression system. This has been granted with a Certificate of Approval by the Certification Body Global-Mark. The AS 5062-standard is equivalent to the Zambia Bureau of Standards new standard ZS1209/2019.

Dafo Vehicle’s fire suppression systems are also approved for bus and coach applications with regard to UNECE Regulation No. 107 and P-marked in accordance with SPCR 183.

Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection continuously work with sustainability, meaning environmental sensitivity without compromising safety. Dafo Vehicle is measuring and mitigating impacts from manufacture to end-of-life is of and by choosing a Dafo Vehicle system, our customers can rest assured that it favourably contributes with added value to their own sustainability work.

In the frontline of technology engineering

Dafo Vehicle Fire Protection has recently finalized an EU-funded project called Li-IonFire which has developed a fire protection system that addresses and mitigates fire risks associated with vehicles having new energy carriers, such as electric or hybrid vehicles, effectively and safely. Consequences connected to risks of Li-ion batteries, in case of a malfunction, can be serious, for example, they can result in toxic gas emissions or explosion.

When the commonly used Li-ion batteries fail through short circuiting, overcharging, high temperatures, mechanical damage and overheating, this might cause thermal runaway and the release of a flammable electrolyte, which makes fire extinguishing very difficult. In addition to the dramatic fire scenario with the rapid increase in heat, there are a lot of potentially toxic gases being emitted.

Through the research project the Li-IonFire™ fire protection system was developed. The system will detect potential battery failure, at the earliest possible stage and take immediate action by spot cooling, using the suppression agent Forrex EV™. This will effectively stop, or delay, a potentially hazardous situation without the fire developing further.

Li-IonFire™ will significantly boost the safety of operators, the protection of valuable assets and allow safe evacuation of drivers and passengers.

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