Introducing the Safetyshunt, an intelligent high current circuit protector
Vehicle electrical fires represent a growing financial exposure for many truck owners and fleet operators. Truck fires continue to account for 1 in 10 truck loss incidents, with electrical failure accounting for nearly 70% of fires ignited in the cabin or engine bay region1. The cost of a truck loss due to a fire can venture into the hundreds of thousands of dollars with loss of load, vehicle downtime, repair costs and insurance claims all contributing to a significant financial loss.
In 2013 Baxters developed a concept for a device that could reduce the chance of a vehicle fire. “When reports of electrical failure in trucks were revealed to account for a large proportion of cabin and engine bay fires, concerns were raised about the lack of protection for the start circuit in trucking and transport vehicles. At around the same time we were doing some work for an international coal miner to mitigate the risk of electrical fire in face shovels and it occurred to us that the circuit protection developed for them could be adapted to protect the start circuit” said Scott Mitchell, CEO.
The project produced a new electrical safety device called the Safetyshunt, an intelligent high current circuit protector that greatly reduces electrical fire risk in vehicles when fitted.
The Safetyshunt works as an intelligent starter circuit breaker and battery isolator that can handle up to 3000Amps. It sits in the positive feed from battery to starter and is capable of distinguishing between the current spike associated with normal engine cranking and that created by a short-circuit.
The Safetyshunt protects a vehicle in several ways; in the event that a significant failure occurs in the electrical start circuit of a vehicle while it is in operation, the safety shunt will protect the vehicle, advise the operator that the Safetyshunt has been activated via a warning light and allow the vehicle to be navigated to safety.
In the event that a short-circuit created by a breach in the battery cable insulation, the Safetyshunt cuts power in milliseconds to effectively eliminate the chance of combustion.
The Safetyshunt will also trigger if the starter motor hangs in mesh or an inexperienced operator holds the ignition on for more than 12 seconds. In either event, the starter relay contacts can weld together causing the starter to overheat and catch fire. After triggering and isolating the starter circuit the Safetyshunt can easily be reset by the operator.
As an additional feature, in the absence of an ignition signal (for example when the vehicle is turned off) the Safetyshunt automatically isolates the starter motor.
The Safetyshunt sets a new standard of industry safety by protecting vehicles from the most common causes of fire due to electrical failure, and protecting operators from potentially life threatening situations. Designed in Australia and manufactured in Germany to meet tough Australian conditions it offers the highest level of protection against electrical failure currently available. Baxters have produced 12 and 24 volt models suitable for applications in trucks, dangerous goods transport, busses, boats, mining, earth moving and agricultural equipment.
1 - NTI 2015 Major Accident Investigation Report