SPOTLIGHT: Extensive experience with fire and explosion hazards

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By FLAMEX INC. | May 25, 2022


The production of wood pellets involves processes that often lead to the generation of sparks and fire. Crushing operations such as hammer milling of dry wood material are often a source of sparks that are transported in the material flow through the pneumatic system. Fire and burning embers can also result from the drying process due to the high temperatures and possible malfunctions of the dryer. Other processes such as pelleting, pellet cooling, screening, and product loading can also cause ignition from sparks, overheated pellets, and sources of mechanical friction.

If no action is taken, fires and explosions resulting from normal production processes can have devastating consequences for a company, large or small. This is a pervasive issue in this industry that requires ongoing management to ensure workplace safety, asset protection and business continuity. The design, installation, operation and maintenance of automatic fire protection systems play a critical role in efforts to mitigate these hazards.

Spark detection and suppression systems have long been recognized by the industry and damage control community as an effective means of preventing fires and explosions in dust collection and air filtration systems. The FLAMEX spark detection and extinguishing system was introduced in North America in the late 1970’s and was the first system of its kind to receive Factory Mutual Approval. These systems have proven to be an invaluable part of an overall protection concept in wood pellet plants.

FLAMEX Inc. has been protecting industrial facilities from fire and explosion hazards for more than 40 years. The company specializes in preventing ignition in facilities that handle combustible dust. Extensive experience in the industrial wood pellet industry has given FLAMEX Inc. a deep understanding of the risks inherent in the production process and how to address them in a way that avoids or minimizes production downtime.

As part of a large global fire protection organization, FLAMEX Inc. has a wide range of detection and suppression components to meet the specific protection needs of various applications that may exist in a single manufacturing facility. FLAMEX Inc. is constantly striving to improve its product offering in line with the latest technological advances. Accordingly, the company recently presented a new, powerful tool for effective firefighting from a safe distance. The MX One firefighting turbine can spray 1,000 gallons of water per minute, projecting a stream of water up to 260 feet and water mist up to 130 feet. The device can be controlled automatically or manually via a remote device. Applications in the wood pellet industry include process flows, storage and loading areas.

Printed in Issue 2, 2022 of Pellet Mill Magazine

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