Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are an amazing feat of engineering. Measuring over 500-feet long and carrying a crew of five or more personnel, these beasts can chew through miles of solid rock, sand, or mud. Used worldwide, TBMs have revolutionized travel and transportation.
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.
Stat-X fire suppression is currently protecting fire suppression for tunneling and boring equipment worldwide. Find out more today.Talk To An Expert
"After researching available special hazard (fire) systems for the very best protection as well as compliance with safety and environmental issues we found Stat-X technology as the product leader."
— Engineer, Leicestershire, UK
Tunneling and boring equipment companies and operators need a compact, durable fire suppression system for the self-contained high-voltage systems that operate an array of mechanisms that cut and support the tunnel boring machine that quickly detects and extinguishes fires, complies with regulations, and protects your crew, assets, and the environment.
Stat-X has many listings and approvals that supports these criteria, offering quick and effective fire suppression, durability, minimal maintenance, and environmental safety in the remote and harshest of environments tunneling and boring equipment.
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Stat-X is an ideal fire suppression alternative to HFC based systems that are being regulated out of use through various global movements; and to PFAS based systems that are starting to face significant regulatory pressure at the local level, and likely to be more widespread in the coming years.
This animation video shows the Stat X® condensed aerosol fire suppression in an electrical cabinet application. This video features the thermally activated generators.