Isolated in an air-conditioned capsule at the front of the machine, combine operators are usually completely unaware when there’s an inferno slowly building behind them. By the time they do get a whiff of smoke or catch a lick of flame in the mirror, it’s usually far too late to do anything about it. Even if they are early enough to attempt to tackle the blaze, the puny fire extinguishers fitted on most machines have little impact. It is a worry for many farmers, particularly those covering vast acreages with high-output machines that quickly become smothered in tinder-dry dust and chaff. Trading as PCML Group, fire-suppression specialist Paul Townsend and his business partner Rob Thomas have introduced a built-in extinguisher system that automatically senses and puts out fires. It is not the first setup of this type, but according to the firm it has a number of elements to make it more effective. The firm is yet to install a system on a combine harvester, but it does have several working on large waste shredders. At the heart of the system are two 9kg pressurised tanks of monoammonium phosphate fire suppressant powder and another 9kg tank of foam. These are connected to a netw...