Each year, more than $20 million in property losses and between 40 and 50 injuries occur from combine and tractor fires1. In addition to fire risk, a build-up of dust, dry chaff, leaves and other organic material can hinder equipment performance. Routine cleaning and maintenance along with basic operational precautions go a long way in preventing costly fires.
Simple Steps to Fire Prevention
Fire risk is particularly high on equipment with heated bearings, belts, and chains, around dry crops and crop residue, and near woodland areas. During harvest season, fire prevention can be addressed in a few ways that focus on cleaning and maintenance. While the additional cleaning time can take hours, it will also extend equipment longevity. Given that combines start at $400,000, these are extra steps that are more than worth the investment in time.
Keep fire extinguishers handy. Accidents happen, so it’s important to keep fire extinguishers on the combine and easily accessible. If a fire does occur, get personnel out of harm’s way first. If a worker is in the combine or tractor, turn off the engine and get out.
Prevent static electricity. Use a ground chain attached to the combine frame to prevent static charges from igniting dry chaff and harvest residue.
Cool off the engine before refueling. Turn off the combine or tractor and wait 15 minutes before refueling to reduce the risk of spilled gas volatilizing and igniting.
Park carefully. Avoid parking combines in or around barns, other farm structures and flammable liquids in case a hot spot ignites.
Stay up-to-date on maintenance. A large majority of fires on combines and tractors begin in the engine and engine compartment, making it vital to start the harvest season by removing all caked-on grease, oil and crop residue. During harvest, check the machine daily for issues such as overheated bearings, insufficient coolant and oil levels, and damaged fuel or oil hoses.
Keep dry organic material from accumulating. While ground chains are used to prevent static charges from igniting dry chaff and harvest residue, routine cleaning is the easiest way to limit that risk. After starting the season, make sure you frequently clean off any organic material on the combine. Dry grass and grime can also build up underneath mowers. Not only will this incite frequent breaks to remove the caked-on material, it also poses a fire risk.
Shorten Cleaning Time with SWASHEQUIPMENT™
SWASHEQUIPMENT™ offers farmers a way to simplify and shorten cleaning times on combines and tractors. When SWASHEQUIPMENT™ is applied to clean surfaces, equipment is easier to clean and it stays cleaner longer. An anti-static agent reduces static charge to prevent dust and other material from accumulating on surfaces which decreases fire risk. Plus, the hydrophobic agent in SWASHEQUIPMENT™ repels moisture to speed up drying time.
SWASHEQUIPMENT™ can be applied to all surfaces (excluding seats and foot pedals), with no drying or rinsing required, and it creates a glossy finish that keeps equipment looking new for longer.
With everything you have riding on your combine and tractors, make equipment cleaning - simplified with the use of SWASHEQUIPMENT™ - part of your routine. Talk to one our representatives today to learn how.