Article From: 3/18/2013 Production Machining, Lori Beckman, Managing Editor
In a busy machine shop like yours, the last thing you need to deal with is a machine fire. At best, a machine fire will cause some minor damage and temporary downtime if suppressed quickly by an operator. In the worst case scenario, however, a fire will be left undetected when running lights out and can cause a total loss of a facility.
An on-machine fire suppression system can suppress a fire within 10 seconds of igniting, preventing any damage to a machine—most importantly, preventing a catastrophe. A mechanism within the machine’s enclosure triggers the release of an extinguishing agent when it detects a fire. The cost of these systems varies depending on the complexity of the detection mechanism and control system.
Some suppression systems use foam, dry chemicals or water as fire extinguishing agents. Others use CO2 or other “clean” agents (they leave no hard-to-clean residue, are electrically non-conductive and non-corrosive and will not damage equipment).
Some fire suppression equipment isn’t always specifically for the inside of a machine tool, however. They are commonly used throughout the shop floor, in areas such as cleaning tanks, computers, dust and mist collectors, and electrical control cabinets.