The German inland port of Orsoy (Rheinberg) and transport company NIAG Niederrheinische Verkehrsbetriebe AG have devised a system to prevent spontaneous combustion of coal. Orsoy handles around 3 Mtpa of bulk cargoes, mostly coal, which arrives by barge from ARA seaports.
Before the barges sail, the temperature is taken, and regular checks are made during the voyage. During rail wagon loading in the port, NIAG uses what the company’s manager, port operations, Anne Lüdering, describes as a unique system, which is fully compliant with the regulations (655 RID).
Thermal imaging cameras work on conveyor belts, but not on crane grabs or loading chutes, so NIAG has installed its own measuring equipment, developed in cooperation with Elektro-Venn, which has extensive experience with coal trains.
The equipment has 12 sensors, six on each side of the chute, which measure the temperature constantly (three times per second). Some 1,400t are moved through the installation when a train with 24 wagons is being loaded.
During the loading operations the sensors are constantly cleaned with compressed air to keep the dust out, and in winter the equipment is heated. From 55 degC onwards a yellow warning light comes on, and at 60 degC an audio
alarm comes on with a red ‘stop’ light, and the operator suspends the loading operation, and the respective wagon is shunted out of the train. Loading resumes in consultation with the customer.
All data are collected and included by NIAG in documentation for the customer. Despite this automated process, human control is needed by a controller at the steering helm.