When deciding on the best automatic fire suppression system for your heavy-duty mobile equipment, there are several factors to take into consideration. In addition to a manufacturer’s experience and the knowledge of their distributor network, system quality and reliability hold considerable weight when making a purchase. Sure, you can ask a manufacturer about the dependability of their fire suppression systems; however, third-party testing will give you peace of mind you’re making the safest choice for your organization.
Third-Party Approvals Speak to System Quality & Performance
Third-party testing by an independent organization in any industry provides unbiased credibility when it comes to the quality and performance of a product. Manufacturers who put their products through this kind of testing spend valuable time and resources to deliver a high-quality product to their customers.
Automatic fire suppression systems on heavy equipment must perform under some of the most stringent conditions to protect people, production, and assets. And, with so much on the line, this makes third-party testing extremely relevant for those considering which system to install on their machines.
Before we dig into the two most relevant testing standards for vehicle fire suppression systems, it’s important to note that:
Fire suppression systems are often used in various applications, such as commercial kitchens, office buildings, and public buses. Be sure that the testing approval you're reviewing was specifically created to evaluate systems on mobile equipment. There is a big difference between a fire suppression system in a kitchen or on a bus, and one mounted to a piece of heavy-duty mobile equipment.
FM HDME – International Standard for Vehicle Fire Suppression Systems
Factory Mutual (FM) is an international leader with over 100 years of experience in third-party testing and certification. They specialize in the evaluation of loss prevention products and services with the goal “to verify [the products] work each and every time they are used.”
FM offers several tests to certify fire suppression systems in various applications under the “Fixed Extinguishing Systems” category; however, for automatic systems mounted to a vehicle, the “Heavy Duty Mobile Equipment”, or HDME, the standard is the most relevant. FM recognizes that fire suppression systems mounted to moving machinery require testing above and beyond that of a fixed system due to their exposure to excess vibration, dust, debris, extreme temperatures, and the like.
- Compartmental & single nozzle fire tests
- Cycle operation
- Shock and vibration
- Temperature exposure (140°F to -40°F)
- Electrostatic discharge immunity/electromagnetic field immunity
- Resistance to steam cleaning and pressure washing
- Corrosion resistance & gravel bombardment testing
To verify whether a specific manufacturer’s fire suppression system currently holds the FM HDME certification, visit www.approvalguide.com, create a free account, and under the “Fixed Extinguishing System” category, select the “Heavy Duty Mobile Equipment Protection” standard. Click here for instructions on creating an FM account.
ActivFire AS 5062 – Australian Standard for Suppression Systems
ActivFire’s Australian Standard (AS) 5062 was created with the objective of specifying the minimum requirements for fire protection system design, installation, commissioning, and maintenance exclusively on mobile and transportable equipment. Originally developed for off-road equipment in the coal industry, the standard’s scope was expanded in later years to cover other industry sectors, such as general mining, forestry, waste handling, and agriculture.
ActivFire created its standard recognizing that mobile and transportable equipment pose “unique and specific challenges, which general risk assessment methodologies do not necessarily address.” As a result, AS 5062 was developed to “assist in meeting those specific requirements.”
When undergoing evaluation for the AS 5062 certification, the following areas are evaluated:
- Extinguishing agent
- Operating conditions
- System specification
- System design (detection, actuation, and distribution)
- System installation
- Documentation and service
Fire testing is also performed with both direct and indirect application of agent. The automatic fire suppression system must extinguish the fire using the proper amount of agent in a certain timeframe and without reignition.
To verify if a manufacturer’s system currently holds AS 5062 approval, visit https://activfire.csiro.au/ and enter the manufacturer's name in the search bar.
Bonus: ISO 9001 Certifies Quality Management Systems
ISO 9001:2015 is a standard that does not apply to a product, but instead certifies a company’s quality management system. ISO 9001 is one of the most recognized management standards in the manufacturing industry. The standard is used by organizations globally to demonstrate their dedication to continuous improvement and their ability to provide consistent, quality products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements.
To put it simply, third-party testing is highly relevant for fire suppression systems, and the certification should be specific to the purpose of the product. To learn more about the third-party certifications that AFEX fire suppression systems for heavy-duty mobile equipment hold, please contact one of our sales experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 919-781-6610.