|Hale Products debuted a new pump module and panel design for FDIC show attendees to review. Company representatives were on hand in the booth to learn how potential users would react to the new designs and were pleased with the comments.|
While apparatus builders make big splashy products, the components that go into their trucks are less visible, and plenty of those manufacturers were displaying new products at this year’s Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) trade show.
Hale Products exhibited a new pump panel and pump module that featured intuitive graphics designed to help firefighters more easily operate pumps, especially under fire ground pressure when events happen fast and distractions are plentiful.
Hale Pump Panel Graphics
Other apparatus component makers at the show included Fire Research Corp., which displayed an innovative automatic tank refill system, a seatbelt monitoring system and a variety of other electronic goodies. Kussmaul Electronics showed an open door monitor system; Zico had an SCBA holder with an electric interface; Havis-Shields and Whelan showed new lights; and first-time show attendee Rodgard demonstrated a run-flat tire system that permits apparatus to continue to operate even with a flat tire.
Hale Products’ Director of Engineering Mike Laskaris said the concept behind Hale’s new pump panel is that illustrated graphics and color-coding would make it easier for pump operators to deliver water foam and CAFS as needed.
“We’re using simple graphics, common shapes like bubbles and truck pictures, and colors to make pump operations more obvious,” Laskaris said. The new panel graphics are prototypical, he said, and Hale was asking for comments from show attendees.
The new Hale pump module, he said, has a lower crosslay hose bed, where the hoses are at shoulder height, and a low profile pump, which saves space above the pump mechanics for compartments, generators, CAF systems or even storage.
FRC Refill System
“We decided to save the space for the apparatus builder to decide how to use,” he said.
Other features include a hinged stainless steel front cover providing full access to pump and valve mechanics behind, lever-action pump drains, Class 1 ESK electronics and a plug-and-play wiring harness. It has LED red lights for panel illumination.
“We have something for everyone,” Laskaris said, noting that pump panel installers and maintenance personnel, appreciate the access the new pump module offers.
Fire Research showcased a system that automatically refills apparatus booster tanks when a water supply has been established. The system works on electronic valves only, said Rick Fix, the company’s national sales manager.
“This system means the tank will always be filled, and the pump operator doesn’t need to think about it,” Fix said.
Other components Fix pointed out in the booth included an improved seat belt monitor system to keep track of personnel in apparatus, a data acquisition system and a vehicle data recorder.
The new data recorders collect and store information pertaining to vehicle speed, vehicle acceleration and deceleration, engine RPM, ABS events and occupant seat belt use status. The information can be downloaded to personal computers for analysis.
Fire Research also had an improved InControl complete pressure governor, engine monitoring and master pressure display for use on pumping apparatus.
“We have all kinds of new products,” Fix said as show attendees crowded into Fire Research’s booth.
Kussmaul Door Monitoring
In another booth, Kussmaul Electronics had a brand new door monitoring system. A small panel, about the size of a rocker switch, with tiny LEDs indicating which doors and cabinets are open on an apparatus by illuminating the LED.
Tom Nugent, Kussmaul’s vice president, said the new monitor is small to take up less space on the dash, yet is an effective means to indicate open compartments and cab doors.
On the other side of the convention center, Zico was showing a brand new SCBA seat mount with an electric release that can interlock with cabs and chassis.
“Fire departments can interlock these SCBA mounts with the parking brake, so the SCBAs can’t be removed from the seat until the truck has stopped moving. Or the bracket can be released by a switch activated by the officer,” said Ted P. Ziaylek Jr., Zico’s marketing manager.
Havis-Shields had a booth full of innovation including the company’s latest, the new HID Collins Dynamics spotlight, designed to reduce current draw and increase bulb life by up to four times.
According to the manufacturer, the new HID light reduces current draw by up to 60 percent over the draw of a comparable halogen spot light. It also features a durable, liquid tight rubber gasket housing to keep water out.
The new light can be easily retrofitted onto existing apparatus as it uses the same hole pattern as other Havis-Shields lights.
The Whelen Engineering Company exhibited its new Pioneer series super-LED floodlight, a 75-watt package producing 6,000 lumens.
The company said the Pioneer floodlights operate at a low temperature and are instant on/off, eliminating the high current warm up time associated with other light sources.
A first-time show participant Cliff Post, general manager of Rodgard, said his company has been selling its product for more than 30 years, but not extensively to the fire market.
Post said Rodgard Runflats are made from lightweight, high-strength polyester elastomers and can be found on vehicles ranging in size from oversized aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles to passenger cars used by dignitaries.
“You can fire bullets at these and they’ll stand up,” Post said.
While bullets may not be a concern for firefighters, Post proved the point that they’ll take abuse and can handle the weight of a fire apparatus.
He explained the system is comprised of a roller and a runner. The runner is clamped on to the bare rim in its drop center, inside the tire, and the roller rotates on the runner, he said, noting that it does not interfere with the handling, ride or performance of the vehicle.
When the tire blows out for whatever reason, he said it gives the driver greatly improved vehicle maneuverability and control at high speeds and with heavy loads. He said it’s been used in police vehicles and government armored limousines for years, and can be found in special applications such as monorail trains and military combat vehicles.
“We think the time has come that they be installed in all firefighting vehicles,” Post said. “It’s a matter of firefighter safety.”
The Runflat device is designed to allow the roller to move or rotate about the wheel at the same speed of the tire to reduce friction and heat build up, Post said.
The product is available to fit on wheels from 14 inches to 22.5 inches.
“We’ve got them to fit all kinds of tires and just about any applications,” Post said.