SOURCES, SCIENCE, AND SOLUTIONS
EXPERIENCE HARVEST FREE OF CHRONIC FIRE RISK
THE CAUSES AND ORIGINS OF COMBINE FIRES
Lab and field studies suggest rapid ignition of dust at the exhaust system.
Research funded by the South Dakota Oilseeds Council and conducted at South Dakota State University (SDSU) has shown that combine harvester fires in sunflower originate at the engine exhaust system. Lab studies indicated that the pith inside the stem is the material that produces the white dust cloud around the machine. This fine dust is quite volatile and can ignite on contact with a hot exhaust system. The resulting airborne embers are the source of the chronic combine fires experienced by sunflower growers.
PREVENT CHRONIC SMOLDERS BEFORE THEY START
FireStop. A patented system that separates volatile dust from the ignition source.
Hot engine exhaust components are enclosed against the side of the engine. Galvanized steel sections assemble to separate the hot components from the dusty air in the engine environment. The galvanized parts are designed using a CAD package to fit the complex exhaust system, and are laser cut. Perforated lines allow forming of parts from flat stock onsite.
A CLEAN AIR SUPPLY IS KEY
With clean air around the exhaust system there is no dust to ignite.
A Donaldson air filter and Topspin intake remove the fine organic dust from the air supply. A pressure blower pulls this air through the filter and propels it under pressure through tubing to the enclosed exhaust system. Positive pressure prevents entry of dust that would otherwise ignite on the hot engine exhaust system.
HYDRAULIC DRIVE USES AN EXISTING CIRCUIT
A hydraulic motor uses the flow from an existing circuit on the combine. Motor size is matched to the circuit to achieve desired fan speed. No controls or maintenance are required.
WHAT FIRESTOP WILL DO
A FireStop system will stop the process that presents volatile organic dusts to the hottest parts of the combine. The system will allow the full use of the engine and combine systems without constant fear of igniting a combine fire. It does not matter how warm, dry, or windy the day is. The system does not require attention, other than to empty the filter when servicing the machine. It runs when the engine runs. It uses a small amount of power and is operated in all crops.
WHAT FIRESTOP WILL NOT DO
FireStop protects the exhaust system from flammable dust. It effectively stops the frequent harvest fires from this source. It will NOT prevent a fire caused by a hot bearing, a failed alternator, an electrical short, or other ignition source unrelated to the exhaust system. These fires occur less frequently, and in all crops.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The 2021 price for a FireStop combine fire prevention kit is $5,950 plus any applicable tax and shipping. The kit can be purchased directly using the contact information on this site. You can also ask your equipment dealership if they can acquire a kit for your model. The price includes the exhaust system enclosure, air filter, ducting and fittings, blower, hydraulic drive motor, lines, and valves specific to the combine model. Shipping is in addition to the kit price. Ask about "local" delivery or come to Brookings! Export may be available in 2021.
The purchaser is responsible for installation. I will provide documentation but cannot do all of the installations. YouTube videos for current kits are linked here, or from the menu at the top of the page, to help with installation for different models.
Some components of these kits have long lead times. While I will purchase some critical components ahead, I cannot guarantee I'll be able to supply newly ordered kits in time for sunflower harvest if ordered in September. April would be better. Call if you need information on kits for which I have components on hand.
Thanks to the National Sunflower Association for the image at left, and for research funding that lead to this solution.