Case Study | Waste Transfer Detection

Project Summary

Waste Transfer Sector

The waste and recycling sector is amongst the most active sectors in Europe, with a value of over £30bn in 2020. However, in recent years with increased production and disposal of electronics, there are a number of high-risk areas that can have drastic knock-on effects within large plants across the UK.

One particular area of risk is fires caused by batteries which have been incorrectly disposed of in normal waste methods, rather than using correct e-waste recycling methods across the UK.

These fires start when batteries fall from waste conveyor belts and get caught in the roller bars underneath, often getting crushed, sparking, exploding and carrying a huge fire risk into general machinery spaces and along conveyors.

The challenge

We were approached by one of the country’s largest fire detection companies and were asked to produce a bespoke system that worked with their early detection systems, for the largest waste transfer company in Europe.

Our team of highly skilled systems designers surveyed the site and discovered a large number of concerning factors; particularly, the vast quantity of waste that is being transferred around these sites, the flammable risk materials and machinery within each transfer station and the pure scale of what was required to be achieved.

We spent time with the client and end user to understand what their primary concern was, and looked at how to achieve the most effective solution with the shortest reaction time possible, to ensure that fire spread was managed as efficiently as possible

The Solution

We designed from the ground up a completely bespoke solution for the end user. This consisted of two separate systems, integrated into a central fire control system which can be managed throughout site. This consisted of two, hydraulically suitable pump sets, utilising a supply and demand arrangement for each system. One system covered the main plant areas and machinery, whilst the other system covered the smaller transfer conveyors. Custom control panels were designed to support and work as swiftly as possible alongside the rapid flame detection system being utilised across the facility.

Each system was also fitted with manual override options to allow operators a chance of early activation and individual sectional solenoid valves in order to allow for precise reporting data to be fed back to the site monitoring station so that early warning can be provided to the other parts of the plant. This also worked with an early shutdown procedure, which integrated the suppression and detection systems to the emergency plant shutdown system. This stopped the conveyors and allowed for a greatly reduced risk spread to be implemented.

The system utilised 25,000 ltr water storage tanks to provide full coverage on each system. A series of carefully calibrated nozzles were placed along the edge of the conveyor, or directly above the conveyor path where required, to provide optimum coverage levels for the risk at hand.

The system is serviced annually in line with the appropriate standards and wet-tested to ensure full system integrity.

Client Response

The client was overjoyed with the system.

We are now in discussion with a subsidiary to provide a similar system in North West England.