Fire Suppression for Tunneling and Boring Equipment

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

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.

The Solution

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.

Tunnel Boring Machine

Stat-X® Fire Suppression Features:

  • Effective Agent Performance
    Highly effective based on required density
  • Compact and Modular
    Offering adaptable design especially when space and weight are critical
  • Simple and Economic Installation
    No piping required, resulting in significant savings on parts and labor
  • Durable
    Ideal for harsh environments and remote locations
  • Long service life
    Service life of fifteen (15) years
  • Virtually Maintenance Free
  • No cylinder weighing requirement

  • U.S. EPA SNAP listed for normally occupied and unoccupied spaces
  • Environmentally Friendly
    Zero potential for global warming or ozone depletion
  • Made in the USA 

Suggested Product Lines

Stat-X Condensed Aerosol Fire Suppression 2500E Model

Stat-X® Fixed System: Electrical Units for Ordinary Locations

Stat-X 250T Fire Suppression Generator

Stat-X® Fire Suppression System: Thermal Units

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