|Ron Ewers, left, the former president of Class 1, has designed a new compact, computer-controlled compressed air foam system to be marketed by E-ONE and Classic Fire, which builds initial attack and commercial chassis pumpers for E-ONE. At right is Dan White of Classic Fire.|
|The E-ONE/Classic CAFS exhibit highlights the new system's features at the Fire Rescue International trade show in Denver last month. (E-ONE Photo)|
A new proprietary compressed air foam system is now available on E-ONE and Classic Fire apparatus. It's called E-ONE/Classic CAFS, and it is exclusive to E-ONE and Classic's joint venture enterprise. Only three other manufacturers have their own foam systems.
The new system was designed by Ron Ewers of Ewers Consulting based in Ocala, Fla., and was introduced at the Fire Rescue International trade show in Denver last month.
"It's a proprietary product based on an air bottle CAF system, but we put a compressor on it," said Ewers, who has been in the fire apparatus and component manufacturing business for more than 30 years. He was the founder and past president of Class 1, a maker of advanced electronic controls and technological components for apparatus. He sold the company, which he founded in 1991, to the IDEX Corporation in 2001. Before he started started Class 1, he was a top executive at E-ONE.
He said his new E-ONE/Classic CAFS system is simple to operate, simple to install and simple to maintain. Firefighters, he said, can make compressed air foam at the touch of one button.
"Compared to other systems," he said, "this is at the top of the value chart."
There are a handful of compressed air foam system makers and fewer still apparatus manufacturers with proprietary systems. E-ONE/Classic joins the list with Darley, Pierce Manufacturing and Rosenbauer America.
According to Ewers, one of the most impressive features of the new system is the fact it can fit into a 42-inch pump module. Other CAF systems can require up to 60 inches or more for equipment and components, he said.
The new system gets its air supply from a 140 to 250-cfm compressor powered by a six-bolt pto, according to Ewers, who said only 30 horsepower is required. The system is controlled electronically with Class 1 equipment and a Hale foam system, he said.
"It will work with any foam proportioner, but it works better with the [Hale] FoamLogix system," he said.
Because the system works with a pto drive, it is very easy to retrofit into existing apparatus, he said.
Competitive CAFS products typically work with belts or gears taking power from the pump shafts, making it challenging to retrofit CAFS on existing apparatus.
"I've been showing this system to local chiefs and fire departments, and they've been saying this is the system we've been waiting for," Ewers said. The design has been 10 years in the making, he said, and is based on listening to customers and their needs.
"This is the best CAF system I've seen brought to market," said Gene Franklin, E-ONE's product management specialist.
"It's very smooth to operate, and it's very, very nicely done," said James Kloss, E-ONE's new product development division manager.
Automated Air Cutoff
Some of the new system's features include: preprogrammed wet or dry ratios that can be done on the fly; automated air cutoff when water flow stops or when the foam tank is empty or the compressor overheats; and a discharge valve that opens automatically when air is shut off.
The compressor can only be engaged when the pump is engaged, which prevents the compressor from overheating as water from the fire pump is circulated to a pto cooler. Additionally, the compressor can be used to operate rescue air bags, some air tools and other air-driven devices.
Four Lines At Once
Perhaps the most impressive are the system's unique combination air injection and mixing inductor, an automated mechanical balancing valve adjustment, which requires no operator intervention, and a feature that allows the operator to deliver straight water, foam or wet and dry CAFS all at the same time.
"We can operate four different lines at a time with Class A foam in each line, one with dry CAFS, one with wet CAFS another with just foam and one with water," Ewers said. That combination gives fire departments options of how to fight fires. The feature, he said, allows firefighters to protect exposures while knocking down and extinguishing fire simultaneously.
A sophisticated set of intelligent electronic switches and controls helps with the auto balancing of the air, foam and water, which greatly simplifies CAFS operations for the user, Ewers said. The system, he said, is computer area network (CAN) based using a network of microcontrollers, sensors and actuators to make CAFS.
Ewers also said he developed a unique air induction venturi which reduces the turbulence and helps take the "violence" out of the mixing process making for a smoother finish foam.
Dan White, vice president of sales for Classic Fire had praise for the system, especially for the preset for wet or dry CAFS.
"The whole thing from start to finish is very well designed," White said. "This came from listening to what the customers want in a CAF system."
The compressed air foam system is available on E-ONE apparatus, including its line of pumpers and aerials and on Classic Fire's line, which includes light rescue trucks, wildland and brush trucks and tankers.
In July 2005 E-ONE and Classic Fire, two Ocala-based apparatus builders, entered into an agreement creating a joint venture between E-ONE and Classic. The venture created an exclusive relationship where by Classic Fire would manufacture brush trucks, light rescues, tankers and skid units to complement E-ONE's line of aerials and larger custom chassis apparatus. The apparatus produced by Classic Fire is branded E-ONE and a new model line was created and marketed as E-ONE Classic. Distribution of the product is done through all eligible E-ONE dealers.
Ewers said he's very pleased with the E-ONE Classic CAFS product. "It's the best I've seen in the world," he said.
For information about E-ONE call 352-237-1122 or go to www.e-one.com.