Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ComDust Alert #2 -Combine Harvester Combustible Dust Fires

I found an interesting article regarding combine harvester combustible dust hazards and would like to share it with everyone. It's really a combination of several stories that spans two continents, one under the equator for all you shellbacks and one above the equator here in the USA.

For instance, last week a news article from
MPNnow (10/16/08) of a combine that caught fire in Farmington, N.Y., which was a total loss of $240,000. The farmer thinks that a spark from one of the blades ignited a layer of soybean dust inside the equipment. This sounds so familiar in the manufacturing sector where a spark travels through the duct work into the dust collector causing a fire or much worse an explosion.

Anyway, fast forward to an article today originating in Australia where harvesting of grain crops has begun and the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) is providing a warning :

"The machinery itself, I mean it's all metal so it can get hot and if there's any build up of dust on the equipment that does get hot, well then it can ignite very quickly and they'll lose a fairly expensive piece of equipment..."

These are excellent examples illustrating how hot surfaces cause combustible dust fires no matter if its in the manufacturing sector or farming sector. Until reading these articles originating from both sides of the Pacific Ocean I had no idea there was a combustible dust hazard on farm equipment. I wonder if all the global farmers operating those very expensive combine harvesters know about the combustible dust hazards?

10/13/08 Combine Fire-Argos, Indiana
10/6/08 Combine Fire - Elma, Iowa
1o/2/08 Combine Fire-Wallingford, Iowa


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