By Chris Mc Loone
According to Daryl Adams, president and CEO of Spartan Motors, Inc., “Tradeshows like FDIC International offer multiple benefits such as brand image enhancement, demand generation, and new customer contact. However, there is another we place great value on : voice of market (VOM).” A case in point, says Adams, is that Spartan continually was receiving negative feedback regarding the performance of its HVAC system within the cab. “Our engineers met with several cold- and hot-climate departments to hear their concerns. After vetting the feedback, Spartan began to develop the new system to get colder or warmer, faster. Our engineering team embraced this need and quickly developed the Spartan Advanced Climate Control system that can be found in our booth at FDIC International this year.”
Spartan’s Advanced Climate Control went through more than 20,000 miles of rigorous testing—equal to roughly three years of test data—and experienced a broad set of conditions and atmospheres. Adams states that cabs equipped with the Advanced Climate Control System boast an air velocity that on average is 317 percent higher than the current Spartan system. “The airflow has been greatly improved for both the front and rear occupants of the cab, with vents extending toward the rear of the cab to provide for equal distribution of air flow. Aside from its dramatically improved fit, finish, and general appearance, the system has shown significant improvement in both the air conditioner and heater metrics at the 30-minute and 60-minute marks,”says Adams. Heater pull up is from 0°F to 68°F within 30 minutes, while the cabin cools from 120°F to less than 80°F within 30 minutes. The system also offers easy serviceability.
Spartan has also seen a good response for its optimized engine tunnel. “All while keeping within the 99-inch width design, we have increased the hip room for the driver and officer seating locations while also increasing the rear crew floor space behind the engine tunnel,” says Adams. “The rear of the tunnel was pushed forward to give an additional 2 inches of leg room for the two forward facing crew members. Overall, the volume increase within the cab is 5,827 cubic inches. A product of this redesign was the incorporation of 22-inch base seats for both the officer and driver locations.”
Spartan’s Mobile Gateway was originally displayed as a prototype at FDIC 2013. With the Mobile Gateway, a department can expand the connection range of its location up to 25 miles compared with the typical three to four miles achieved with a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The Mobile Gateway also seamlessly switches from tower to tower, or from 3G to 4G, while continuously obtaining the strongest available signal. Don’t get limited with the number of users, as tThe Spartan Mobile Gateway provides robust connectivity for the entire fleet, with access for an unlimited number of simultaneous users.
With the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) soon requiring all automobiles, beginning with the 2016 model year, to be manufactured with backup cameras, Spartan has taken that memorandum and instituted an exclusively available Intelligent Backup Camera System into its fire trucks. “A fire department can use Spartan’s system to protect both life and property using object detection,” says Adams. “Track and detect both moving and stationary objects in the path of the apparatus.” What makes Spartan’s system so special, according to Adams, is that it uses near infrared technology. The system also provides active guidance while reversing the apparatus. “The driver is now able to precisely reverse the apparatus into the firehouse while the active guidelines indicate the path of the vehicle,” adds Adams. “As if that was not enough, Spartan’s intelligent backup camera technology accurately estimates the distance of an object from the rear of the apparatus with both visual and audio distance indicators.”
About FDIC International, Adams says, “FDIC International is the one North American tradeshow where we see the supply base as a group put its best foot forward and gain the competitive edge. As is the case most years, the primary focus is new product introduction, and we expect to see a number of new offerings in 2015. However, don’t be surprised to see many suppliers highlight the ‘best of the best’ or premium offerings as they always do. That is where Spartan is continuously differentiated. Spartan again will have a solid representation of premium products—best of the best—but the focus is and always will be centered on being relevant to the customer.” He adds that as a customer-centric organization, the VOM process is a staple of Spartan’s new product development approach. “FDIC International provides a very efficient means to gather feedback on new product and services and unmet needs from a broad range of emergency response decision makers.”
Finally, Adams states that FDIC International is a tradeshow that is continually evolving. “There is an expanding international dimension, which is a clear benefit to show exhibitors such as Spartan,” he says. “The number of international guests continues to rise. These global growth opportunities are, in many cases, creating incremental demand for NFPA products and OEMs such as Spartan.”
For more information, visit www.spartanmotors.com.
The Spartan Motors booth is 2409.
By Chris Mc Loone