ISO 9001 Certification Announcement

AFEX Fire Suppression Systems Awarded ISO 9001:2015 Certification

Raleigh, NC, USA – AFEX Fire Suppression Systems is proud to announce that the company was awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification for our Quality Management System (QMS) by NSF International Strategic Relations on January 31, 2020.

The ISO 9000 family is the world's most best-known quality management standard. ISO 9001:2015 is built on various quality management principles, including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. Using ISO 9001:2015 helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services.

Earning the ISO 9001:2015 certification was a rigorous process and a collaborative effort throughout the entire AFEX organization. It reaffirms our commitment to quality and exemplifies our focus on continuous improvement.

“We’ve always had a commitment to quality, so our certification to ISO 9001 further demonstrates AFEX’s company values; Do it Right. Do it Safe. Do it Better.” said Scott Matthews, Quality Manager.

About AFEX Fire Suppression Systems

AFEX Fire Suppression Systems deliver rugged, reliable fire protection solutions for heavy-duty mobile equipment that maximize machine safety and productivity. With over 50 years of industry experience and Factory Mutual, ActivFire, and CE approvals, AFEX is the leader in heavy equipment fire protection.

For more information on AFEX Fire Suppression Systems or our ISO 9001:2015 certification, please contact AFEX at (919) 781-6610 or visit us online at afexsystems.com.

AFEX Fire Suppression Systems is the First Manufacturer Approved to Factory Mutual Standard 5970 – Heavy-Duty Mobile Equipment Protection Systems.

Raleigh, NC, USA – AFEX Fire Suppression Systems is proud to announce that AFEX dry chemical, liquid agent, and dual agent fire suppression systems were awarded FM 5970 Approval on September 21, 2017.

FM Approval Standard 5970 - Heavy-Duty Mobile Equipment Protection Systems, was developed over the course of four years, and represents a collaborative effort amongst FM Approvals and industry experts. This new standard represents the industry’s most comprehensive and rigorous testing program for vehicle fire suppression systems.

The effective date of FM Approval Standard 5970 is August 2018. Even systems that were previously approved under prior FM standards must be reexamined to FM 5970. Per FM, “Products FM Approved under a previous edition shall comply with the new version by the effective date or forfeit Approval.”

To achieve FM 5970 approval, systems must pass numerous fire suppression, electrical immunity, environmental, and shock and vibration tests. These tests are designed to simulate real-world scenarios and long-term exposure in the field. FM 5970 is the first standard to test all systems in the same manner regardless of the suppression agent used.

AFEX believes strongly in the value of third-party testing and approvals. AFEX fire suppression systems were listed under UL Standard 1254 for over 30 years, and have carried FM Approval since the introduction of FM Approval Standard 5320 in 2009. AFEX fire suppression systems are also ActivFire approved to Australian Standard 5062, CE marked, and certified for use in Russia.

For AFEX, achieving FM 5970 certification represents a culmination of 50 years of experience in the heavy equipment industry and countless hours of research and development.

AFEX Celebrates 50 Years

AFEX, the leading manufacturer of fire suppression systems for mobile heavy equipment is celebrating 50 years of helping our customers maximize their safety and productivity.

Bill Lease founded the company in 1968 as Lease-AFEX, Inc., primarily to serve the Southeastern timber harvesting industry, and the waste handling industry shortly thereafter.

Bonaventure Group, Inc. purchased AFEX in 1986, and expanded into other heavy industries such as mining, steel, and oil and gas as well as international markets.

Today, AFEX systems can be found on all 7 continents, protecting all types of equipment. Although we have grown and expanded many times over, we remain focused on manufacturing only effective, reliable, purpose-built products designed to withstand the abuse of heavy industry.

It's all we do.

AFEX equipped battery-powered LHD’s headed to Vale Coleman

Vale's Coleman mine recently received two battery-powered Artisan A4 load-haul-dumps (LHDs) equipped with AFEX fire suppression systems for a six-month trial.

The A4 is powered by a lithium battery that provides four hours of operation on a one hour charge.

Vale intends to pursue battery-powered vehicles for it's underground mines across Canada when it's sure the technology will meet their needs and make economic sense. The goal is to reduce ventilation needs, and their associated costs, while also staying carbon neutral.

See here for more information on the A4 and Vale's plans.

Four Things to Consider Before Buying a Vehicle Fire Suppression System – as featured in SWANA “Talking Trash”

 

As featured in SWANA Florida's Summer 2017 edition of Talking Trash.

 

Four Things to Consider Before Buying a Vehicle Fire Suppression System

Fire puts operators in danger, leads to costly machine repairs or replacement, and lost productivity due to downtime. The vehicle fire suppression industry is based on these simple facts, but how do you choose the best solution for your unique needs?

The following considerations are a good starting point for anyone looking to protect heavy equipment.

  1. Side-cartridge vs. pressurized tanks

Pressurized tanks are filled with propellant, similar to fire extinguishers like you may have at home. In situations where the physical demands on a vehicle are minimal, this type of system is sufficient. They are common in public transportation, as an example.

On the other hand, a side-cartridge system contains the propellant in separate, sealed cartridges. This type of system is generally preferred on equipment used in heavy industries like waste and mining where machine vibration can cause pressurized tanks to leak over time.

  1. Manual actuation vs. automatic actuation

Automatic systems use a detection circuit to monitor temperatures and discharge the system when a fire is detected. These systems do not rely on an operator, and provide a quick response time even if the fire occurs out of sight.

Manual systems require the operator to discharge them. They do not include a detection network, and are therefore less costly than automatic systems. As a result, they are popular on smaller pieces of equipment.

  1. Firefighting agent type

The most commonly used agent is A:B:C dry chemical, a multi-purpose agent that protects against debris, fuel, and electrical fires. Dry chemical provides fast flame knockdown, space efficiency, and suppresses fire in 3D space, making it especially effective in enclosed areas like engine compartments.

A:B liquid agent has recently gained popularity in light of Tier 4 engines. In addition to debris and fuel fire protection, its cooling properties reduce engine surface temperatures and reduce the chances of a fire reflash.

Dual agent systems use both agents together to maximize protection by focusing on the strengths of each agent.

  1. Certifications

Certifications by third-party testing organizations are the best way to confirm that a system is built for withstanding the conditions of your working environment. For example, systems certified for off-road use by Factory Mutual are subject to shock and vibration testing to simulate years in the field. Other systems may not have passed this critical test so it’s important to clarify with a potential vendor which specific certifications have been earned, and ensure that the system is certified for off-road use.

No matter the machine’s application, having a fire suppression system on board is critical. They protect operators and work environments from the threat of fire, help you avoid costly equipment replacement, and protect your bottom line from financial losses. By doing your due diligence you can identify the right system for you.

 

Visit AFEX at WasteExpo 2017

Where do...
... waste and recycling leaders find inspiration?
... the best minds in the industry look for innovation?
... experts in the business turn for guidance?
WasteExpo of course!

Visit AFEX Fire Suppression Systems and our distributors, ASFE Fleet Solutions (booth 4114) and FQS Bear Equipment (booth 4077), to learn more about our robust, purpose-built solutions that maximize safety and productivity. AFEX systems offer industry-leading reliability and performance, along with the lowest total cost of ownership of any vehicle fire suppression system.

WasteExpo 2017 will be held May 9-11, 2017 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, LA.

Fire Suppression Systems in the Oil & Gas Industry

Fire is the worst thing that can happen to an oil & natural gas collection site. All the time, effort and resources dedicated to a well pad can literally go up in smoke in minutes, as was the case recently in Monroe County, Ohio. In this instance there were thankfully no injuries, but there was a total loss of surface equipment (which estimates put at tens of millions), a temporary evacuation of local residents, and a fish kill in a nearby creek that is being investigated for ties to the fire. Thus far the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resource have been involved in the investigation process.

The fire at the Eisenbarth property was so hot that first responders had to fall back and allow the flames to die down before they could mount a successful firefighting effort. Clearly, site personnel were not able to fight the fire themselves. Even if they could have maneuvered into position quickly enough, which is questionable, they would not have had enough firefighting agent on hand with only handheld portable extinguishers at their disposal. (Once the fire became established, tankers filled with water from a nearby river had to be brought to the site in support.) But even if they had the resources, the dangerous nature of a congested fracking spread makes it inadvisable for anyone other than a trained, professional fire fighter to make the attempt. Fortunately, the wells themselves were not involved in this instance. Had they been, the entire situation likely would have been far worse, as other thermal events over the years have shown. Even so, with just the surface equipment involved, eight regional fire departments were needed to fight the conflagration.

The well’s operating company has stated on its website that the fire was caused by a “mechanical problem with hydraulic tubing.” This explanation strongly suggests that it was the result of a compromised hydraulic fluid line spraying atomized liquid onto a hot machine surface. This is known to be the single most common cause of fires on mobile heavy equipment within the mining industry, which utilizes engines of similar type and size as those used on hydraulic fracturing equipment. This sort of fire is not at all unusual in mining, which is a major reason why the industry embraced the use of vehicle fire suppression systems over 20 years ago.

A vehicle fire suppression system is a pre-engineered safety accessory that is permanently mounted to a piece of mobile equipment. Its sensors automatically actuate the system whenever temperatures are reached indicating fire; its nozzles are positioned to attack fires at their most common starting points. This means that the vehicle is protected at all times, whether supervised or not, which is important when considering the long hours that industrial equipment is typically run. Advanced systems are designed for remote controlled firing. This is a desirable feature due to the tight quarters typical of a site being hydraulically fractured as it keeps personnel from having to move towards a burning vehicle to actuate the manual override on the system.

Once a system is activated, the machine’s engine can be set to automatically shut down. This keeps additional fluids from being pumped onto the fire, as well as stops any cooling fans, which otherwise might encourage a blaze. This is a critical step in suppressing a vehicle fire.

Generally, vehicle fire suppression is designed to combat a fire as quickly as possible. Accordingly, the material most commonly used in systems is an A:B:C: dry chemical powder that features a very fast knockdown, which essentially chokes the fire before it can become fully engaged. In addition, a liquid fire-fighting agent can be used which will cool hot surfaces as well as suppress flame. This significantly reduces the risk of a fire reflashing. A dual agent system that uses both dry and liquid agents is appropriate for a hydraulic fracturing application since these vehicles have very large engines with many hot surfaces and large volumes of highly flammable liquids and materials.

Other considerations include that the system used be robust and purpose-built for heavy equipment, and that its manufacturer be experienced with demanding work environments. Take public transportation buses as an example. They use fire suppression systems, but the light duty products appropriate for them are not rugged enough to withstand the rigors of long hours of operation at high temperatures, constant vibration and significant flexing and twisting of the platform. These factors all impact a fire suppression system’s components over time, which is why they need to be as sturdy as possible.

Other industries besides mining have fully embraced rugged vehicle systems as well, going back 50 years to when the technology got its start. The forestry and solid waste industries are traditional users, as are the military, paper mills and steel mills. Also protected are chippers and grinders in the wood processing arena, which are the closest match to fracking trucks since they have similar chassis and utilize very large, powerful engines that run hot.

Within the oil and gas industry, fire suppression on offshore rigs is known to be serious business. But this attitude towards land-based mobile equipment, despite all the known risks, for some reason has yet to be widely adopted. However, there is a growing sense across the industry that this is about to change as OEM’s and end users alike are engaging in conversations about the value of vehicle fire suppression systems. Incidents like the one referenced above are understandably accelerating the process.

The downside of fracking equipment fires is so severe that all stakeholders surely must agree that doing everything possible to mitigate them is desirable. Besides the exceedingly high cost of replacing burned equipment, there is the loss of profits from the lost fleet to consider. And a service provider must take into account the potential impact any fires will have on its ability to secure future business.

Whether it be in actual dollars spent or in the form of damage done to a company’s reputation, crisis management has significant costs also. This past February, when a company provided free pizza vouchers to those impacted by its four-day-long well fire near Bobtown, Pennsylvania, the overall reaction was largely one of derision. This obviously was not the intention of the outreach program, but there are bound to be negative responses to any public relations campaigns, no matter how well-meaning, in a climate which has such a vocal anti-fracking contingent. Prevention is therefore the best proactive strategy when managing such a volatile topic in the court of public opinion.

Safeguarding personnel and the environment, protecting investments made in expensive machines, and keeping profits flowing are all valid reasons for investing in fire suppression systems. On top of these, mitigating bad publicity is another factor to consider. And finally, as an industry under the microscope of constant scrutiny, where the slightest slip-up is amplified, no company wants to be in the position where it could be accused of having been able to do more to avert a tragedy. With so much at stake, it would seem that this reason alone is all that would be needed for most concerned organizations to take a hard look at vehicle fire suppression systems.

The Impact of Autonomous and Remote-Controlled Off-Road Equipment On Fire Suppression

The advent of unmanned equipment in heavy industries has arrived, and so manufacturers of fire suppression systems need to address how this impacts the type of coverage these units receive. Whether a machine is used in mining, timber, recycling or some other niche, this new (and growing) paradigm requires a modified approach when it comes to fire protection.

Because the human factor is largely being removed from the firefighting equation as a result of this conversion process, the opportunities for an in cab operator to identify a fire and manually actuate a fire suppression system on the vehicle itself are all but gone. Fortunately, fire liability is not drastically increased by going the unmanned route, assuming those responsible for overseeing the vehicles have the ability to actuate the system from a distance.

At the moment not every fire suppression system is remote actuation ready, which is one of the main aspects of protection that will have to change. In keeping with a long-standing position at the technological forefront of its industry, AFEX Fire Suppression Systems incorporated the necessary advancements to its Control Unit over two years ago. As a result, remote actuation of an AFEX fire suppression system is as simple as pushing a button. Another benefit of the Control Unit’s advanced nature is its ability to tie-in with existing telematics, allowing for enhanced fire suppression system monitoring.

Of course this new reality also puts more of a premium on the use of automatic systems that self-actuate once sensors have determined a spike in temperature indicative of a fire. These types of systems have the advantage of being “on guard” at all times, monitoring those areas of the machine that are difficult to see, like the inside of an engine compartment. This fact would be equally helpful whether the scale of the operation is a fleet of autonomous haul trucks or a single, remote-controlled grinder.

Ultimately, the transition to unmanned vehicles will bring about a new look to the average fire suppression system. Remote actuation will need to become a default, allowing a remote machine supervisor to react to a fire immediately upon identification, while at the same time automatic systems will become necessary to account for the lack of an onboard operator. Identifying and understanding these basic truths has allowed AFEX Fire Suppression Systems to prepare for the job of protecting the next generation of heavy equipment.

Thank You for Visiting AFEX at MINExpo 2016

MINExpo 2016 was hosted September 26-28, 2016 in Las Vegas, NV. With a focus on solutions for the mining industry, attendees learned about new technologies including autonomous vehicles, remote controlled operation, drones, and of course, fire suppression. Well attended by industry experts, leaders, and managers, MINExpo remains the premier conference for mining industry professionals.

In addition to the AFEX exhibit, visitors had an opportunity to view AFEX fire suppression systems installed on a Liebherr T 284 mining truck and PR 776 dozer, as well as a Ground Force GF45EFLT fuel and lube truck.

We hope you enjoyed the show. See you again in 2020.

Liebherr and Ground Force to Feature AFEX Fire Suppression Systems at MINExpo 2016

Raleigh, NC, USA – AFEX Fire Suppression Systems is pleased to announce that Liebherr Group and Ground Force Worldwide will feature AFEX equipped machines at MINExpo 2016, September 26-28 in Las Vegas, NV.

Liebherr Mining Equipment will feature the AFEX system on their T 284 mining truck. An advancement of the successful T 282, the T 284continues to be the lightest (lowest empty vehicle weight) and most capable (highest payload) ultra-class mining truck, while offering reduced fuel consumption and emissions through a Tier 4f engine, delivering over 4,000 hp. This further improved machine enables customers to meet production targets with fewer trucks, or in less time.

Liebherr will feature an AFEX equipped PR 776 dozer, the world's first hydrostatically powered crawler tractor in the 70 tonnes category. The modern drive concept of the new PR 776 offers extremely efficient and safe operation to customers. Visit Liebherr’s exhibit in booth 7627 to learn more.

Ground Force Worldwide designs, engineers, and manufactures mine support equipment for surface and underground mining applications. They offer over 40 product lines, including the world’s largest fuel and lube trucks, water trucks, and cable reel trucks. Their designs provide the best return on investment in addition to keeping your revenue producing “iron” running efficiently. Visit Ground Force in booth 6971 to learn more and see their AFEX equipped truck.

AFEX delivers rugged, reliable fire suppression solutions for mining equipment that maximize machine safety and productivity. With 50 years of industry experience and Factory Mutual, ActivFire, and CE approvals, AFEX is the leader in heavy equipment fire protection. Visit us at MINExpo in booth 7062, or online at https://afexsystems.com.

AFEX Featured in International Mining Magazine’s MINExpo 2016 Preview

Thank you to International Mining Magazine for featuring AFEX in your August 2016 MINExpo preview issue! The preview focuses on the most exciting exhibitors and technologies that will be on display at the show, and highlights our partnership with Liebherr and Ground Force to display AFEX equipped machines.

If you're attending the show, Be sure to visit AFEX in booth 7062, Liebherr in booth 7627, and Ground Force in booth 6971.

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