QLD laws inspire fluorine-free fire suppressant from Sandvik

Sandvik has launched a new, environmentally-friendly fire
suppression system at this week’s Queensland Mining Expo in Mackay.

Dubbed ‘Eclipse’, the foam dispensing fire suppression
system is fluorine-free and rapidly biodegrades.

Fluorine has long been a problem for fire suppression system
design, as it is a toxic pollutant that until now has been a necessary
ingredient in conventional fire suppressing foams, which can persist in the
environment for thousands of years after discharge.

During regular yearly system discharges on light vehicles
and larger trucks, all the foam needs to be dug up and disposed of correctly.

The new Eclipse fluorine-free fire suppressant foam is the
first of its kind in this application in the world.

Developed and produced in Australia, it can be used in all
new and existing Sandvik-compliant fire suppression systems.

In addition, it fully complies with stringent new
environmental regulations being proposed in Queensland and Western Australia
which will impact on fluorine-based foams.

Sandvik Fire Suppression’s Sales Manager Michael Sargaison
said the new system complies with AS5062 2006 Fire protection for mobile and
transportable equipment, while offering world’s best practice in
environmentally sustainable foam-suppression technology.

“Because of the environmental impacts of fluorine-based
foams, Queensland and Western Australia are proposing new regulations imposing
strict new requirements on the use of these foams,” he said.

“In contrast, Sandvik’s Eclipse fully biodegrades, with none
of the regulatory restrictions now being proposed on fluorine-based foams.

“In addition to its environmental
benefits, Eclipse is superior to fluorine-based foams in that it delivers
faster knock-down while still maintaining post-fire protection – making it more
efficient at putting out mobile equipment fires.

“At the same time, it saves on money and time involved in
the costly clean-up and EHS reporting required with fluorine-based foam
systems,” Sargaison said.

Sandvik demonstrated the new foam at the Queensland Mining
Exhibition in Mackay on Wednesday.

As an authorised fire
suppression system supplier and installer, Sandvik Fire Suppression
recommissions the bulk of Sandvik systems in Australia.

“With the cost of Eclipse being very similar to fluorine-based
foams, there will be negligible cost-impact for our customers – and major cost
savings when the system is discharged,” said Sargaison.

“Once we change a compliant Sandvik system over to Eclipse,
it can then be recommissioned by us as a fluorine-free system, including all
the required documentation.

“Over the next 12 months, we plan to convert all
Sandvik-compliant fire suppression systems that we service across to Eclipse™,”
he said.

Sandvik’s fire suppression systems are manufactured in
Adelaide, South Australia, and there are currently around 5000 of its systems
in operation around Australia.

They have been fitted to mobile equipment used in surface
and underground mining, construction, forestry, waste management, materials
handling, freight handling, and locomotives.

Sandvik is also a major exporter of its fire suppression
systems to emerging markets in Africa and Asia, where safety and environmental
issues are becoming increasingly important.

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