AFEX Installs CAT Endorsed Product Fire Suppression System

AFEX is pleased to report that it has installed another fire suppression system through its CAT Endorsed Product program, this time on a 930K to be used in the waste handling industry. The Senior Sales Coordinator from the dealer of record, Foley Inc. of New Jersey, reports that the end user has taken delivery and is very pleased with their new system. “Our mechanics were quite impressed with the finished product also. AFEX did a great job insuring their fire suppression system is well integrated with the machine; it looks very professional,” said Ms. Patricia Romond. “I was pleased with the whole process. Everything went really smoothly.”

AFEX Fire Suppression Systems Annual Distributor Training School Biggest In Company History

Visitors from around the globe received two days of intensive training on the state of the fire suppression industry and the AFEX product line this past week at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham, NC. The event had outstanding participation as distributors from nine different countries were represented.

Presenters covered a broad range of topics ranging from various system applications, to correct system configuration, to appropriate system sizing. Among the specifics discussed were the continuing emergence of dual agent systems, which use both dry chemical and liquid suppression agents together, and the intrinsic value of third party certifications. The training sessions included extensive hands-on exercises with the company’s telematics-compatible Control Unit, as well as a review a number of industry technologies, including Tier 4 engines, fleet management, and hybrid vehicles. The presentation was supplemented with a number of videos, including a segment focused on fire suppression from the History Channel produced “Rise of the Machines” television program. As always, a focus was placed on customer service, including an emphasis on thorough documentation for the end user and operator training. The company also introduced its new 30 gallon liquid suppression agent tank. The school was capped off with a certification test.

“The Distributor Training School provides our partners in the field the chance to interact with one another and to share industry knowledge in a personal way. Each year the feedback on that aspect of the event is extremely positive,” said VP Rod Cavallaro. “AFEX would like to thank the attendees for their commitment in attending. Many traveled for more than 24 hours just to get here, and that high level of dedication ought to be recognized. As an organization, we truly appreciate the opportunity to share with our network of service providers the most current and relevant trends and insights we’ve identified across the many disciplines of our industry.”

AFEX in Heavy Equipment Guide Magazine

AFEX is pleased to announce that its article “When Do You Want To Know Your Machine Is On Fire” has been published in the March 2014 edition of Heavy Equipment Guide magazine. The piece explains how AFEX has taken the lead in telematics integration in the fire suppression industry, allowing end users to better track their assets in the field.

"What is important to our partners in the heavy equipment industries is important to us, so telematics has been a point of emphasis for AFEX for a number of years now. Being able to give managers an enhanced ability to monitor their fleet has been gratifying and the response has been very positive," said Rod Cavallero, VP and General Manager.

For questions regarding telematics, contact AFEX at 919-781-6610 or visit to learn more.

AFEX Fire Suppression System Makes Television Appearance

AFEX is pleased to announce that its purpose-built fire suppression system appears on the new History television network series Rise Of The Machines. The "Mega Truck" episode, which first aired March 11th on the H2 channel, provides an overview of the Barrick Gold Corporation owned and operated Cortez mine. Focusing on the Liebherr T284, one of the world's largest capacity haul trucks, the show uses impressive computer-generated graphics to illustrate some of the advanced onboard technologies, including how an AFEX fire suppression system works to protect the operator and the massive piece of equipment.

Explaining how the truck itself is on constant fire alert thanks to a series of thermal sensors, the entire process of a system discharging is shown in detailed three dimensions: from detection of the fire, through activation, and on to distribution of the powdered agent. There is then a demonstration of an actual system discharge which clearly exhibits just how quickly the fire-fighting chemical is dispersed into the engine compartment. "I just feel like she's watching my back," says the vehicle's driver, Alice.

The episode can be seen in its entirety on the official website for the show.

For questions about these types of heavy equipment fire suppression systems, contact AFEX directly at 919-781-6610.

AFEX to Attend EXPOMIN 2014 in Chile

AFEX is pleased to announce that we will be joining our distributor Fluitek at the upcoming EXPOMIN show in Santiago, Chile from April 21 to April 25. Billed as "The Center Of The World Mining Industry" with over 1,600 exhibiting companies and attendance which typically tops 80,000 visitors, it is one of the best shows of its kind. Please be sure to stop by Stand 1626-2B if you will be there to say hello to one of our fire suppression Specialists.

Waste Advantage Magazine Article: “Fire Prevention and Suppression Best Practices”

As printed in the February 2014 issue of Waste Advantage Magazine.

When it comes to preventing fires on the heavy equipment at landfills, the first line of defense will always be keeping machines clean and well maintained. Using compressed air to clear out the radiator and other areas that tend to gather debris is a common way to do this, and doing it frequently is the easiest way to stay ahead of the problem. This is always time well spent. After all, failure to follow this best practice can result in a build up of flammable fluids and materials, which sets the stage for a fire.

On top of keeping the machine clean, a good fire prevention technique is installing fire wraps on turbochargers and exhaust manifolds. The difference between the surface temperatures on treated and untreated surfaces is significant and can mean the difference between a fire starting upon contact or not. Newer models often will have this material in place, but there is a good chance that is has not been retrofitted.

But let’s be realistic, in an environment where day in and day out literally tons of potential fuel meets very hot surfaces, the occasional fire is unavoidable, which is why automatic fire suppression systems are so critical.

Fire Suppression System Overview
A fire suppression system is an after-market safety accessory that is attached directly to the machine it is protecting. It is made up of tanks holding the fire-fighting agent (some canisters also hold nitrogen to power a discharge, other “side-cartridge operated” set ups keep the propellant in a separate bottle); a series of fire detection sensors; and a network of distribution tubing and nozzles. The systems can be activated either automatically when a fire triggers the actuation mechanism, or manually by an operator. The size of the system is determined by a “fire risk assessment” which evaluates how much agent would be needed to combat a fire given a number of factors, including the size of the machine’s engine, the volume of hydraulic fluids, the presence of other fuel sources and other sources of intense heat, such as turbochargers. The type of agent used to suppress a fire (dry chemical, liquid-only or dual agent) varies according to circumstances as well.

Choosing the Right Type of Fire Suppression System
The first consideration when choosing a fire suppression system type is the machine’s environment. For the landfill setting, dual agent systems are often recommended to take advantage of strengths of each agent: the fast knockdown of a dry chemical agent and the cooling properties and extended discharge of a liquid agent. In enclosed areas, such as engine and transmission compartments, a dry chemical agent is an excellent option because it floods the space and smothers flames. When it comes to hot surfaces, such as turbochargers and exhaust manifolds, the targeted approach of a liquid agent is well-suited for fire suppression, plus it has the added benefit of reducing their temperatures dramatically, which lowers risk of reignition.

This combination approach will become even more appropriate as TIER 4 engines become more common on site. This is because these machines run hotter and are more likely to suffer from a reflash if a hydraulic hose has ruptured. At the end of the day, knowing when and where to use each type of protection is crucial, which is why systems should be installed and regularly serviced by heavy equipment fire suppression experts.

Proper Suppression Requires Proper Installation
In many ways, a fire suppression system’s effectiveness begins on day 1 with proper installation. The highest risk components need particularly close attention since they are the most common starting points for a fire. The most important areas to be addressed are the starter, the alternator, turbochargers and exhaust manifolds. Another area of major concern is the belly pan. This area is notorious for debris accumulation and needs to be protected, but a nozzle that is obstructed cannot effectively do its job of distributing the firefighting agent. For this reason, it is important that all nozzles protecting this area be installed above the debris line.

Maintaining a System is Everyone’s Job
Proper maintenance of the suppression system begins with monitoring it, and there is no substitute for an operator understanding the way a system works and taking an active role in the effort. A pre-shift inspection of the key components takes moments and provides the best defense against any potential operational issues. This is a wise process to have in place because there is no way of knowing when equipment damage might occur when working under such demanding conditions.

The condition of fire suppression system components should also be checked when machines are in for regular service. It is important to evaluate wear points if the hydraulic hose is being used for the distribution network, especially on older machines since their rubber will begin to break down. Any worn material should be replaced as needed, as should any missing blow-off nozzle caps. If using a manifold type system with stainless steel tubing, then mechanics should be sure the compression fittings are tight and that the nozzles are properly aimed once reattached after service.

Finally, having regular service calls by a licensed and trained technician is the optimum way to ensure that your fire suppression system continues to protect your operators, your vehicles and your landfill.

In summary, fires require a fuel source, so keeping a vehicle clear of debris is the ultimate fire-prevention goal. However, the working demands of a landfill are not conducive to this ideal at all times, which is why fire suppression systems are so important. Installing the proper size and type of system is key, as is proper, regular maintenance over time.

AFEX Article In Waste Advantage Magazine

AFEX is pleased to announce that its article "Fire Prevention and Suppression Best Practices" has been published in the February 2014 edition of Waste Advantage magazine. The piece explains the basics of how fire suppression systems help to protect the heavy equipment it is on. The topics covered range from choosing the right type of system for the particular circumstances, to proper installation, to maintenance concerns.

Author Ken Daniels, AFEX's Marketing Director, appreciates the platform for spreading important safety messages. "As a part of the heavy equipment industry, AFEX looks for opportunities to reiterate ways people in the field can do the most to protect themselves, their equipment, and the productivity it provides from the very real threat of fire."

For questions about its line of premium quality fire suppression systems, contact AFEX at 919-781-6610 or visit to learn more.

AFEX Releases Integrated Suppression Systems with Caterpillar, Inc.

Caterpillar Inc. and AFEX are pleased to announce that AFEX Fire Suppression Systems are now available as fully integrated and endorsed solutions for fire protection on CAT® Small Wheel Loaders. These systems, which can be installed on the K series small wheel loaders prior to shipping to the dealer, provide a reliable means to protect the machines from fire in the most at risk environments. The system is targeted towards customers in forestry, landfill, mill yards, transfer stations, and steel and slag industries.


For over 45 years, AFEX has been designing and manufacturing fire suppression systems for off-road heavy equipment. Every component of the AFEX fire suppression system has been designed to be rugged and reliable, reducing ongoing maintenance costs and ensuring that the vehicle is properly protected at all times. The system is active 24/7, automatically monitoring for fires, even when the machine is unattended. In the event a fire is detected, the AFEX system automatically discharges, providing the rapid response required for limiting damage to the machine. The system can also be manually actuated by the operator from within the cab or from the ground level.

The AFEX Fire Suppression System can be found on the Cat Small Wheel Loaders price list. For more information, please contact AFEX directly at 1-800-231-3436.

TELEMATICS: When Do You Want To Know Your Machine Is On Fire?

As published in Heavy Equipment Guide magazine.

Because fire by nature is unpredictable, proactive companies choose to invest in fire suppression systems for their fleets of mobile heavy equipment. But at any given moment it is difficult to know if these systems in the field are fully functional, ready to protect your assets. Fortunately, that is about to change.

You can now have your fire suppression system’s status provided in real time on any computer, or on a smartphone for monitoring outside of the office.

At AFEX, we anticipated the opportunity to provide users with up-to-the-minute information about their fire suppression systems, an insight which led us to develop ours to interface with telematics. As a result, the same dispatch system used to monitor machine hours, downtime, and fuel economy can now also conveniently provide our customers with real time updates. Whether it is factory installed telematics, such as CAT® Product Link™, or a third party system used to unify mixed fleets, an AFEX fire suppression system can be tied in to provide vital information on its status. For example, if a system goes offline due to damage or tampering, alerts can be issued to key personnel instantaneously.

Once integrated, the dispatch system can notify the asset manager whenever a fire occurs without need of the operator’s involvement. The exact location of the machine at the time of the fire, the engine status and fire system response are all documented and subsequently relayed out within seconds as well. Additionally, if an operator manually activates the system, the event can be communicated and logged. In fact, when the system activates for any reason the manager and maintenance provider will know immediately. As an added benefit, connected fire systems can be configured for remote actuation. This feature in particular will become increasingly valuable as unmanned equipment becomes more popular.

With telematics, service providers can give regular maintenance alerts to operators, allowing for a more precise maintenance schedule and better service.

Knowing when and why maintenance needs to occur allows a fleet manager to manage resources more effectively. This is critical information when it comes to asset management, and with the help of telematics it can be provided at the same speed as today’s fast paced world of business. Providing accountability and a reliable event timeline also allows managers to properly evaluate the root cause and/or actions that led to the fire, as well as post-fire activity. And as anyone in the asset protection business knows, fast, pinpoint knowledge of a gap in protection can mean the difference between a few hours of maintenance and a total loss.

When maximizing productivity is the goal, equipment efficiency is the key.

As machines become more technologically advanced, AFEX continues to keep pace, capitalizing on the opportunity to increase the effectiveness of its fire suppression system’s communication capabilities. Our end users benefit since equipment service is done more promptly, which means the amount of time and money dedicated to upkeep is reduced. For more information, contact AFEX directly at 1-800-231-3436.

AFEX Launches Redesigned

AFEX is pleased to announce the launch of the newly redesigned The new platform provides a modern, simple, structure with which we can more effectively provide you with information pertinent to AFEX, our systems, and the industries we serve.

We channeled our 45 years of experience as the heavy equipment specialist to provide more information on new and growing trends in the industry such as dual agent systems and telematics connectivity. Furthermore, our stories can be easily shared with your colleagues and customers through your preferred social networks. As we move forward you can look forward to ongoing content updates on these and other topics as well as an increased social media presence.

We plan to provide content in Spanish and Portuguese for our international customers in the very near future and an improved distributor portal is in development for launch in the next few months.

We hope that you will peruse the new site and continue to check back frequently as it evolves. Your feedback is valued and sincerely appreciated.

Choosing the Right Fire Suppression System

There is no one size fits all solution for fire protection. When choosing your fire suppression system, consider the unique hazards of your machine. AFEX offers dry chemical, liquid agent, and dual agent fire suppression systems in a variety of sizes and configurations to meet your needs. To determine the appropriate type of system to utilize, the first step is to conduct a "Fire Risk Assessment" of the machine to be protected and the environment in which it will be operating. This evaluation should include such considerations as the physical size of the machine, the engine horsepower and the volume of hydraulics. The potential for debris to accumulate also is a key factor when it comes to designing a system. Whether the engine is a TIER 4 or not can also impact the choice of protection type and system size.

Overall, AFEX has found that dual agent systems, combining the benefits of dry chemical with the benefits of liquid agent, are the most effective way to address most risks. Dual agent systems are so effective that the National Fire Protection Agency requires them for large hydraulic shovels. Not only are they more effective, dual agent systems require less space and are more economical than a comparable liquid-only system for the same machine.

To learn more, or to get the help of an AFEX Specialist to determine a specific system configuration, call us at (919) 781-6610 or use the contact form below.



Yes. AFEX offers liquid-only fire suppression systems that have been tested and approved by Factory
Mutual (FM) and provide Australian Standard 5062 (AS 5062) compliant fire suppression abilities.


It depends. Dry chemical and liquid agent should each be considered for their unique benefits. Dry chemical floods an entire enclosure, is effective against debris, fuel, and electrical fires, and provides unparalleled fire knockdown speed, making it especially well suited for protecting vehicle engine, transmission, and hydraulic pump compartments. Liquid agent provides an extended, cooling, discharge for a targeted area, making it the top choice for protecting specific high risk vehicle components such as turbochargers, exhaust components, and Tier 4 aftertreatment components or for penetrating areas with debris build up. Dual agent systems combine the most desirable qualities of both dry chemical and liquid agent and will provide the best overall protection for most applications.


They can be, if you use enough agent. However, it is a common misconception that they are also more efficient than dry chemical systems. Because liquid agent does not flood an enclosed space, more nozzles are required to protect a similar size compartment, and even then the overall coverage cannot accurately be compared to the total-flooding of a dry chemical system. These additional nozzles result in a more complex distribution network, which adds to the required system installation time.
liquid-only dimensions dual agent dimensions
Liquid agent tanks also provide fewer nozzles per tank than a dry chemical tank of the same size. For example, a 60 pound dry chemical tank provides up to 12 nozzles, whereas a 5 gallon liquid agent tank (which has the same physical dimensions) only provides 4 nozzles. Therefore, in order to provide the same coverage as dry chemical or dual agent systems, liquid-only systems would require more and/or larger tanks, increasing the required space on the machine. Ultimately this results in liquid-only systems that are heavier, occupy a larger footprint, require greater installation times, and cost more than a comparable dry chemical or dual agent system.

Hey Grinder Guy, Are These Fire Suppression Systems Worth The Money?

As printed in the December 2013 issue of WHEN (Waste Handling Equipment News)

By Dave Whitelaw
Well, it’s not like you are putting a sprinkler system in your house to protect your family, but for most guys, your grinder is your lifeline. If it doesn’t work, neither do you. I personally have not had any installed on my equipment, but the comments I have heard through the years are:  They are expensive…..They leak…… They are in the way.

Fire Suppression systems are becoming more and more common due to the mandates in mines, above ground and below, along with some insurance companies requiring systems on insured machinery. In addition, with the increased pressures and complexity of hydraulics and the advent of Tier IV engines and their associated excess heat, fires could potentially increase.

So for real facts, I spoke with Kenneth Daniels of AFEX Fire Suppression Systems. AFEX call themselves the heavy equipment experts because that it is all they service, heavy equipment. AFEX is in most major mines in the world, have CAT® endorsed products and have their systems engineered into some John Deere® products. Without giving me the AFEX sales pitch, he explained why I had heard the complaints I have heard in the past-

Price- A sufficiently sized and installed system depends on the size, horsepower and hydraulics of the machine. The more of each, the larger the system. This is not a one size fits all industry. Stationary, not just mobile equipment can also catch fire. While the machine loss may be an issue, the building it is inside, the mulch pile it is next to, and the landfill that is on, can be the greater issue that can cost you your business. Think about what equipment is the most critical to your business and what would happen if it caught fire and what would be the collateral damage associated with it. It is possible that your insurance rates can be reduced with this type of protection. Check with your carrier.

They Leak- Some systems are pressurized, which means the tanks contain both the propellant and the agent, like the fire extinguisher that hangs on the wall in your office. Over time they have the possibility for pressure to leak out because of the significant vibrations these machines have, which can keep the system from discharging fully or at all. This is a maintenance item that needs to be monitored on a daily basis. Concerned? Look at a differently designed side cartridge operated system that uses a sealed, pressurized nitrogen cylinders separate from the agent tanks so that leaking won't be an issue. Get a more detailed description from your Fire Suppression Supply Company.

They are in the way- Some manufacturers have predesigned systems, such as the John Deere® Feller Bunchers, but most systems are designed in the office and installed on site. Because these are aftermarket installations, the sensors and the spray nozzles need to be where the potential fire hazard could be. It’s rather easy to remove some stainless steel tubing, like AFEX uses, and make your repairs or do your service.

What does a basic system consist of and how does it work?
•  Dealer sends machine drawings to Manufacturer or Distributor for a “Fire Risk Assessment” to determine Protection, Distribution and Discharge configuration. They also determine the type of agent required for the risk.
•  Size, the amount of agent required, is determined by the size of the machine, the horsepower and hydraulic system size and pressures. Dealer installs engineered routing of steel tubing or hydraulic hoses, sensors and spray nozzles and storage tanks. Agent storage tanks are installed in an area with enough space and away from potential damage. Space for these tanks can be an issue.
•  Then manual switches are installed so an operator can activate the system at the first sign of trouble.
•  Sensors, set at approximately 300 degrees, are activated by heat or fire. The sensors trigger the tanks to open. The spray nozzles send the agent to the predetermined areas and continually spray until the tanks are empty. Liquid systems take much more material to cover compared to dry chemical. So you need much more space for storage tanks of liquid than dry chemical.

What you need to know:
•  With all the electronics and hybrid machines today, “Liquid Only” is not a good option in most cases. Dry chemical will cover class A, B and C  fires. Combustables, Fuel and Electrical respectively. Dual  systems are possible also and perform to the strengths of each agent.
•  A Side Cartridge System has a nitrogen tank which is activated by the temperature sensors, which then activates the agent tanks. In AFEX systems, they use of stainless steel tubing which adds to the strength, rigidity and  longevity of the overall system. This makes the system much more user friendly because the lines are much easier to remove for maintenance and repair.

A Fire Suppression System does not mean daily housekeeping is not necessary. Most fires start within an hour of being shut down and most are from the lack of housekeeping . These systems can only go off once and making sure they can takes a little maintenance. To reiterate, with all the vibration, dust and dirt these systems need quarterly service to make sure they can do what they were made to do.

This is one major cost you don’t want to have, but one major disaster that can be avoided. Next equipment purchase check out a system and start protecting yourself.

For more information, contact Kenneth Daniels at AFEX Fire Suppression Systems at 919-781-6610.

Questions? Dave Whitelaw, The Grinder Guy, [email protected]