Horizontal Grinders and Fire Safety

| Industry Insights

closeup of red fire extinguisher

Along with our commitments to innovation and customer satisfaction, safety is one of Rotochopper’s top priorities. Heavy machinery of any kind poses a risk to workers and operators alike, and horizontal grinders can be dangerous if best practices for fire safety are not used while they’re in operation. Many of the industries that utilize horizontal grinders deal daily with flammable materials—wood waste, corn stover, or pallet debris, for instance—so safety precautions need to be taken.

In honor of Fire Prevention Week—October 3rd through 9th—let’s go over some of the best practices for preventing horizontal grinder fires and encouraging an attitude of vigilance and safety while on the grind site.

Horizontal Grinder Fire Prevention

Keep heat-producing elements of the machine clean and inspect them thoroughly for issues. This includes parts like the engine, rotor, electric motor, wiring, and hydraulic pumps. A good preventative maintenance program can help you spot potential problems, leaks, and the like before they turn into fire hazards.

Keep flammable materials away from the grinder, including your end product. If possible, ensure the grinder and your stockpiled product are separated at the end of a grinding session. Look for grease and other spilled fluids, as well as dust and cardboard. Remove them from the machine before continuing to run the horizontal grinder.

Follow fire prevention shutdown inspection guidelines. Power wash or vacuum dust and debris off the horizontal grinder—don’t forget to open the guards and doors to do the same. Remove debris from nearby the machine, look for any smoldering metal or wood waste, and check components like the hydraulic fluid, hammer mill, and roto bearings to ensure they’re a safe temperature. Have someone stay near the horizontal grinder for at least 30 minutes after shutdown to ensure no fires start.

Have a method of ferrous material removal. Metal contaminants in your feedstock can cause sparking when they hit the rotor. Even if they don’t, it’s never a good idea to have hot metal sitting in stockpiled, flammable product.

Questions? The team at Rotochopper is ready to answer. Contact one of our expert sales or customer support representatives to get a conversation started.

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