As opposed to traditional tunneling methods, TBMs are much more cost effective due to their speed. Able to tunnel on average 50 – 60 feet a day (and as much as 200 feet on a really good day), they are big earners. Capable of earning $100+ million per mile, they quickly pay back their $80 million purchase price.
A fire in a TBM is a catastrophic event to be avoided at all costs. First and foremost, any fire in a tunnel is deadly. There is the crew in the machine itself, plus dozens of support personnel working in close proximity. Escape is not easy and getting help down into the tunnel will be slow.
Then there is the machine itself. As referenced above, TBMs carry an incredible price tag. Additionally, they are custom built, and parts are no doubt hard to obtain and can also be very expensive. And with the machine being underground, any repair becomes more difficult and more expensive.
But the real cost is in lost boring time. With the ability to earn $1 million-plus a day, these losses turn into substantial sums quickly. Also, keep in mind that most TBMs work on high-profile, highly publicized projects for government entities. In addition to the monetary loss, the damage to the boring company’s image can be irreparable with a prolonged interruption.
The fire risk on a TBM is real. They are virtually a self-contained city of high-voltage systems that operate an array of mechanisms that cut and support the tunnel. They draw up to 3400 kVA to drive the cutterhead and power the necessary ancillary equipment. TBMs often operate around the clock and in some of the harshest environments imaginable. The undeniable fire hazard must be recognized and addressed.
With the life safety risk accompanied by the massive financial exposure, it is a necessity to have a superb fire suppression system in place to provide immediate protection. The Stat-X® total flooding fire suppression system is ideal for all of the enclosed critical electrical and machinery spaces on the TBM.
The Stat-X compact units are easily installed in locations where they will not interfere with any of the TBM’s equipment operation while still providing complete coverage of the space. The Stat-X electrically operated system can be connected to a fire detection system for activation, or the thermally activated units are specified to activate at a pre-set temperature.
The rapid response of the Stat-X system acts to quickly suppress fires in a TBM while they are manageable, thereby protecting life safety, reducing damage, and minimizing downtime. Discharge of a Stat-X unit is not harmful to personnel, does not damage equipment, and requires minimal cleanup.
No cylinder weighing requirement