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DBA & Mining Haul Truck Safety

The DBA Approach

DBA Silencing is a family business that was built up over several decades by Archie and Shirley Cardinal of Port Alberni, British Columbia. Legend has it that, in the company’s early years, Archie drove all over North America, dropping in on mine sites with information on DBA products. Archie would ask to speak to the truck mechanics, and would often be told that they weren’t available for sales calls. Archie would counter by suggesting that he wasn’t a salesperson, he was a problem-solver. He would often follow this up by asking if the site had experienced any truck fires.

In those instances where they had, Archie then had an opening to explain how DBA Silencing’s exhaust parts can substantially boost mining haul truck safety. And that’s what we’ll cover in today’s blog post: the various ways in which DBA heavy truck exhaust parts can make a mine site safer. 

mining haul truck safety

Mine Site Hazards

Workers in the mining industry have to contend with a daunting assortment of potential perils. These include: exposure to toxic chemicals, occupational diseases {such as lung cancer caused by silica dust}, hearing loss, injury from explosives {which are often detonated to blast open tunnels}, and injury from heavy machinery. Operators of haul trucks {such as the Caterpillar 797F and the Komatsu 930E} must be wary of a variety of risks. They must avoid being struck or run over, avoid falling from the upper levels of their house-sized vehicles, avoid tipping during dumping, and avoid driving into treacherous terrain. They must also avoid being stuck inside the driver’s cab in the event that there’s a fire.

fire in the mine

Fortunately, modern mining trucks are much less susceptible than their predecessors to catastrophic combustion. We now have sophisticated fire suppression systems that can extinguish flames quickly and efficiently. That said, trucks can and do still burn. And a truck blaze is typically devastating. It not only endangers the operator, it can jeopardize others as well. Example number one: the fumes from the inferno can be harmful. Example number two: exploding tires can travel hundreds of metres.

There’s also the loss of an extremely expensive mobile asset, the loss of payload, the loss of time when operations are halted, and perhaps the loss of other resources if the conflagration spreads. Additional impacts can include increased insurance premiums, fines, and negative publicity. Clearly, truck fires are to be avoided at all costs. And that’s where DBA Silencing comes in.

Insulated Fibreglass Shells

A truck fire is typically the result of an ignition source coming into contact with a fuel source. Ignition sources might be frayed wiring, turbochargers, or other high-temperature components. Fuel sources could be hydraulic fluid from worn hoses or diesel fuel from leaky injectors or fittings. Many fires start when operating fluids drip or spray onto hot exhaust pipes. One way to prevent this from happening is to swaddle your full exhaust system in thermal blankets that will bring surface temperatures down below the flash point of oil.

Insulated Fibreglass Shells

There are a number of drawbacks to blankets, however. They can be fiddly to fit into place, depending on the style of fastener. They can also expose installers to itchy fibres, depending on the blanket’s composition. Most importantly, they can start to sag over time, reducing their prophylactic effectiveness. Some blankets will even absorb oil, which also compromises their performance.

Another method of reducing surface temperatures is the use of double wall, or dual wall, exhaust parts. Double wall components usually feature two layers of steel with an insulating agent in the middle. Dual wall systems have their place but, again, there are a number of disadvantages. These units are typically quite heavy, and that can cause a variety of problems. Perhaps more significantly, they’re not always able to lower surface temperatures to optimal levels.

At DBA Silencing, we do things a little differently. We encase our exhaust parts in rigid fibreglass shells, and add a layer of specialty insulation for good measure. In some situations, we powder coat these shells for additional durability. The result? Relatively lightweight exhaust components that bring surface temperatures so far down that you can touch them with your bare hand. {On the home page of our website you’ll find a video of a DBA technician doing exactly that.}

clamps cover for mining haul truck safety

As far as we know, our proprietary shell technology is unique in the mining industry. And it really does help keep people safe. Operators driving vehicles equipped with complete exhaust systems from DBA can rest easy, knowing that a fire is extremely unlikely. And mechanics working hard to get a haul truck back into the rotation don’t have to worry about inadvertently searing their skin.

Clamp Covers for mining haul truck safety

Improving Mining Haul Truck Safety

As outlined above, people working on mine sites are confronted on a daily basis by an intimidating array of risks. At DBA, we’re pleased to provide heavy duty exhaust parts designed specifically to make haul trucks as fireproof as possible. The good news, if you’re looking to try out a DBA exhaust kit, is that they not only decrease driver jeopardy, they also save you a lot of money; our aftermarket systems are a fraction of the price of their OEM equivalents. In many cases, they’re also longer-lasting and easier to install.

You can check out all the items we offer by perusing the pages of our catalogue. And of course you can call us anytime, toll free, at 1-800-661-5886, and ask us as many questions as you like about mining haul truck safety. Be careful out there, everyone!

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