Thermal imaging camera keeps fire risk under control in coal pile storage site
Coal storage in large coal piles brings with it the risk of spontaneous
fires. As always, prevention is better than cure. A thermal imaging
camera from FLIR Systems helps to ensure safety at the Nástup Mines
Cooperation in Tusimice, Czech Republic. The system provides a
cost-effective solution for continuous, remote monitoring of
temperatures in the coal piles.
Bulk storage of any combustible materials leads to
fire risk in many large storage areas such as waste bunkers, wood or
paper stockpiles, as well cement and coal storage yards. Self-ignition
usually starts within the bottom layers of a stock-pile as a result of
temperature increases in the material. By continuous monitoring of the
surface layers, hot spots can be detected in an early stage and action
can be taken to prevent fires from breaking out.
Fully automated infrared temperature monitoring
A good example of an effective solution is the
one supplied by FLIR Systems integrator ENELEX (www.enelex.cz) at the
Homogenization Storage Yard SD of the Nástup Mines Cooperation in
Tusimice, Czech Republic. For this location, ENELEX supplied a thermal imaging camera from FLIR Systems for continuous and fully automated
monitoring of the coal pile. The large size of the storage yard means
the use of a portable thermal imaging camera is not a practical solution
for this critical task. Only a fully automated system is able to
constantly monitor the hundreds of thousands of tons of coal which are
stored at this site on an area of approximately 800 x 200 meters.
Extensive experience in continuous thermal monitoring
The FLIR Systems thermal imaging camera mounted on a mast over the coal piles of the Nástup Mines Cooperation in the Czech Republic.
FLIR Systems thermal imaging cameras were
selected because of the company’s extensive experience in a wide range
of continuous thermal monitoring applications. These range from quality
control on printed circuit boards right up to systems designed to
operate in harsh industrial environments such as steel mills, glass
production lines, waste treatment plans and other industrial processes.
The system is based on the FLIR A310 thermal
imaging cameras, which are mounted on five steel masts at strategic
locations around the site. To ensure optimum coverage of the whole area,
the cameras are configured to generate a direct alarm output to an
operator if previously defined maximum temperature thresholds are
exceeded. An acoustic alarm and a display alarm on a monitor will draw
the operator’s attention to a possible spontaneous fire development.
The overlay of a coal pile with 2 hot spots as possible combustion points.
system allows for an accurate positioning and a detailed analysis of
the critical location so that the hot spot can beextinguished and a
fire prevented. Because of the extensive size of the storage site, the
control and camera signals are transported by fibre-optic cables with a
total length of 3 km from the camera mast to the control room.
Controlling fire risks at all kinds of sites
Over the past 10 years, thermal imaging cameras have been applied on an increasing scale for temperature monitoring and
measurement applications, in addition to situations where their night
vision capabilities are used. One of the areas where these cameras are
being successfully applied is in sites which are subject to fire risk.
In this way these cameras have enabled companies holding stocks of
materials like wood, paper, plastic and wastes, as well as the cement
and coal industries, to improve the safety of their plants and storage
Safety of course means not only protecting the
stored materials themselves, but also ensuring the safety of employees
and others in the areas around the storage sites. In addition to that,
there is also the risk of consequential damage that can be caused by
fires, including loss of property, water damage resulting from
fire-fighting and standstill of production lines. In view of these real
risks, the cost of an automated temperature monitoring system using
thermal imaging cameras is a modest and very worthwhile investment.
On this thermal image taken by a FLIR A310 thermal imaging camera mounted on top of a mast shows two coal piles separated by a loading zone.
This thermal image shows a coal stacker-reclaimer in full operation.
The FLIR A310 thermal imaging camera, a complete and cost-effective package
FLIR Systems’ A310 thermal imaging camera is a
complete and cost-effective package which is easy to implement in a wide
range of environments. The system is supplied with all the components
needed for installation:
- FLIR A310 thermal imaging camera, incorporating a patented uncooled solid state microbolometer detector
- Interfacing input/output box
- A flexible Software Development Kit, which
allows the operator to preset and modify alarm conditions for previously
defined areas within the camera’s field of view. These alarms control
relay and analog outputs in the I/O box. For example, a relay alarm can
be generated if the temperature within the defined areas falls below or
rises above a predefined value.
As with all its products, FLIR Systems offers a
complete range of accessory lenses, including close-up, wide-angle and
telescopic, to match the requirements of specific applications.