Bus and Coach CV Sector News

eQuilt protects operators from expensive fire damage costs

24 April 2014 #Bus and Coach #CV Sector #News

A new product that can contain engine bay fires and prevent expensive total loss of vehicles has been launched into the bus and coach market.

With more than 100 engine bay fires each year, Clark Wright reckons it could save operators hundreds of thousands in costs with eQuilt, which it recently put to the test in a well-attended and dramatic demonstration at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire.

Costing around £2,000 to £2,500, the laminated product exceeds existing fire regulation standards and, since it replaces existing soundproofing material, adds no weight to a final build. As well as containing fire it also reduces noise levels by 6dB more than conventional material.

In the demonstration – which was attended by notable operators such as Arriva, First Bus, Stageboach and Transport for London – eQuilt contained the fire in the engine bay for twenty minutes, more than enough time for the emergency services to have reached a real scene.

Although temperatures in the engine bay almost touched 800C after 15 minutes in the demonstration – 150C beyond the melting point of aluminium –  the passenger saloon temperature had only risen to 27C.

While an engine bay fire can lead to the total loss of a bus or coach in around four minutes, Clark Wright Sales Director Gary Hammatt said demonstration vehicle could have been repaired for around £15,000 to £20,000 thanks to eQuilt.

With the cost of a new bus ranging from £150,000 to £325,000 there is consequently a great potential saving to be had, says Hammatt.

“It’s not just the saving to the operator, though, eQuilt can also help with collateral damage – a fire in the Limehouse tunnel shows that.

“It was shut for seven days after one bus caught fire and it cost millions to put right. We could have contained that.”

Hammatt has had expressions of interest from many operators and Clark Wright is now in the process of fitting out a Plaxton President with the material for Metroline.

Alexander Dennis Limited will also be fitting it to builds for Arriva, while Clark Wright is now developing other products to be used on seating in passenger saloons.

For more information, and to watch the live test, visit www.equilt.co.uk.

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