Patol introduce new video to highlight importance of Coal Conveyor Protection

Industrial fire detection specialists Patol have demonstrated the particular suitability of their transit heat sensor to coal conveying applications with a new video shot at Wales’ last remaining coal fired power station.

Patol’s 5000 series of early warning infrared transit heat sensors are protecting the conveyors at Aberthaw power station, in the Vale of Glamorgan. The coal-fired facility has a capacity to generate 1,500MW of electricity – sufficient to meet the needs of some 1.5 million people, so protecting the site’s coal conveyors from the threat of fire is fundamental to maintaining security of supply.

Steve Wilder is a Project Engineer and in the new video he takes the viewer into the heart of the power station to show the conveyors and how they carry the coal from rail delivery and feed it into the boilers serving the site’s three generating units.

Steve shows a sensor unit sited a metre above the conveyors, one of several sensors located at the Head and Tail end of each conveyor. The sensors are designed to pick up a heat signature from the coal passing through their field of vision beneath by identifying any ‘hot spots’. This is well before any potential sparks or embers are present, enabling the all-important early intervention in a combustible environment. In the event of a sensor going into alarm, the conveyor stops and sprinklers are automatically activated to douse the affected area and prevent the danger passing further into the facility and causing more serious damage.

Steve comments – “it was a great privilege to actually show the sensors in-situ and in a real working environment. It allows us to demonstrate what a difficult area it is to protect due to the nature of the coal being conveyed, and why in this application we have the ATEX certified sensor specifically designed for such hazardous environments. Coal dust can accumulate on the sensor housing, which is why we use compressed air to ensure the sensor lens remains clean for optimum performance.”

Aberthaw is one of many power stations throughout the world that are protected by Patol’s infrared transit heat sensors.

The new video can be viewed on Patol’s website ( under the ‘Products and Services’ section and the sub-category ‘Infrared transit (conveyor) heat and flame sensors’.