Fluoride Action Network

QLD laws inspire fluorine-free fire suppressant from Sandvik

Source: Ferret.com.au | July 25th, 2014 | By Ben Hagemann
Location: Australia
Industry type: Greenhouse/Ozone Gases

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.