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  1. #61
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    when I'm 100ft up in the air I feel great with aluminum, its also what holds me at 30,000ft.

    yea I know stupid comparison, but if all the steel guys can make dumb ones so can I.

    I do like knowing that just aluminum is holding me up and not steel and rust.


  2. #62
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    Let's review: There have been steel aerials Waaaay longer than aluminum ones. I have NO problem with an aluminum aerial. All my career,I've worked off primarily steel aerials.This spans 40+ years. Never had any of them I worked off of rust thru. Never had a catastrophic failure. Steel aerial crash to the ground? Absolutely and there will be aluminum failures as well once there are enough of them on the market.NOT ALL of the failures can be blamed on the MATERIAL,many had outside influences. Now over my career,I had to work off an aluminum aerial a time or two.We've never owned one but I don't see that they do the job any better or worse than their steel counterparts. You are absolutely correct that aluminum doesn't rust. But other factors influence the lifespan of the device including chemical and flex factors. If you study aerial device failures you can learn quite a lot and I try diligently to study anything that affects the ability of our personnel to do their jobs safely.If you think for one minute that an aluminum aerial cannot fail,due to any one of a myriad of issues,I would suggest that you need to look a bit more carefully. T.C.

  3. #63
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    Cool Aluminum aerials are not new!

    Rescue101: I think your perception of the history of fire service aerials is a little skewd. By doing a little Google work and some Wikipedia reading I have learned that spring raised 85' wood aerials were still in common use into the late 1930's and early 1940's.
    Seagrave introduced their first hydraulic raised steel aerial in 1935.
    Peter Pirsch introduced their first hydraulic raised ALUMINUM aerial in 1938.
    ALF introduced thier first hydraulic raised steel aerial in the late 1930's, early 1940's.
    Sutphan started building aluminum aerials around 1970 and E-One has built thousands since 1979. Over that time frame other steel builders such as LTI and Smeal started building aerials.
    Peter Pirsch ladders were used by cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Memphis, Minneapolis, St. Paul. Most major American cities have used aluminum aerials of one brand or other, over the years. Remember, the aerialscope's upper booms and platform are also aluminum.
    You seem to think that aluminum aerials are a recent phenomenon when they have been around about as long as steel aerials.
    Let the debate continue!
    Last edited by donethat; 05-22-2009 at 03:04 PM. Reason: spelling

  4. #64
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    Donethat,Good post. Don't OUTTHINK my message. My point,if you care to call it that,is that STEEL aerials outnumber aluminum ones by quite a large number worldwide. You may also note that I said,and I quote" I don't have a problem with aluminum aerials". Just we've never owned one and probably won't in the foreseeable future. But if any of you are suggesting that aluminum is FAR superior to steel for an aerial,let's just say I've got my doubts. If it were the case,there wouldn't be any steel aerials. and I'm sure cost is a factor. Funny you mention Pirsch,where are they today? Not in business.Companies come and companies go,it's a fact of life and the times. By the way,ever play with a spring loaded aerial? Our forefathers had ba**s! T.C.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Donethat,Good post. Don't OUTTHINK my message. My point,if you care to call it that,is that STEEL aerials outnumber aluminum ones by quite a large number worldwide. You may also note that I said,and I quote" I don't have a problem with aluminum aerials". Just we've never owned one and probably won't in the foreseeable future. But if any of you are suggesting that aluminum is FAR superior to steel for an aerial,let's just say I've got my doubts. If it were the case,there wouldn't be any steel aerials. and I'm sure cost is a factor. Funny you mention Pirsch,where are they today? Not in business.Companies come and companies go,it's a fact of life and the times. By the way,ever play with a spring loaded aerial? Our forefathers had ba**s! T.C.
    I think that you see more steel ladders than aluminum for a fwe reasons. THe main one being that for the most part, there has generaly been more ladder companies offering steel than aluminum. The other i would say is how uninformed some people are in reguards to aluminum ladders. I have heard some people say that they can't believe anyone would climb one becasue aluminum is so much weeker than steel....yada yada yada. Engineering is the main reason, hell if it's engineered correctly you could probably build one out of bulsa wood.
    As for why more mfgs. offer steel than aluminum. I would guess the cost of the material is one thing.....steel is generaly cheeper than aluminum, the other would be fabrication....aluminum isn't hard to weld but in hte grand sceme of things, steel is easier to weld than aluminum, thus giving you a better chance of the weld being strong enought to handle the streeses place on an aerial. Sutphen uses "Huck Bolts" wich are strong as hell....thats what is used to assemble aircraft frames.
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  6. #66
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    thats cute, the steel guys are ok with bashing aluminum, but the second someone makes a comment about steel we're off base.


    one thing aluminum has that steel doesn't is a smaller jack spread.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    one thing aluminum has that steel doesn't is a smaller jack spread.
    Only E-One aerials have a smaller jack spread, all others (Sutphen and Pierce) have a jack spread as larger as their steel counterparts. With the exception of the HP75 ladder it has a 16' spread due to the H style outriggers instead of the underslung style. The reality is that the jack spread has less to due with the material that the aerial is made of and more to do with the design of the outriggers.

  8. #68
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    Trucky,exactly right and I alluded to that in a earlier post.Steel is MUCH easier to repair particularly after it's been in the field awhile. When I'm not doing the Fire thing,we run a general automotive repair facility.I've had occasion to repair both aluminum and steel products over the years, To PROPERLY weld aluminum it has to be VERY clean.New aluminum is no problem. Seasoned aluminum on the other hand can present a challenge. Steel has to be clean too but is generally easier to prepare than seasoned aluminum. Easier to test too,magnaflux doesn't work real well on a E-one. I'm quite sure that the price and ease of assembly are quite an influence on what a mfg chooses to use in ladder construction. Jack spreads? Well,with the exception of E-one,those are all over the board with the majority of them in the 16-18 foot spread for a 100' ladder regardless of ladder composition. Now you've got hot dipped galvanized ladders,so where's the rust? Ever seen an aluminum body corrode(and no, this isn't your arguement)? I have and the spot is just as weak as a rusted steel one. How about Carbon fiber or titanium? I don't think with all the Gov intervation of late that most of the aerial producers are turning out bad product. Nor do I believe that aluminum is the end all for aerials. It's not a bad material,far from it. But neither is it perfect. T.C.

  9. #69
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    We have a 2002 E-One HP-75 that was ladder tested at the beginning of this month and cracks were found by the testing company. Long story short, our truck was out of service for close to three weeks so it could be welded/fixed. Waiting to see if you can tell where they welded the cracks and how many cracks were found. This ladder mind you, has been well maintained and seen little to no heat. Aluminum though ,is what afforded us to get a 500 gallon tank and a 75ft ladder on a single axle.

  10. #70
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    That can and has been done with a steel ladder as well. I believe Ferrara offers the 77' and 500 gallons on a single. As to where your cracks were found I have no idea. Over the years the most common places are around the beams or the lifting cradle.Sometimes around the "z"or "w" members. This happens to ALL ladders in time with Sutphen being a notable exception.Think about what happens to an aerial over many years of service. They twist,they bend,and all that energy has to go somewhere. It was mentioned earlier that aircraft are made of aluminum not steel and rightly so. But the average aircraft gets a wee bit more regular maintence and inspections than your average aerial. Compared to the early years,the products of today are quite a bit better than the older stuff.And I've GOT some of the older stuff. T.C.

  11. #71
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    Good point, you are correct about Ferrara. I wonder what the "In service" weight sticker is though with a 75ft steel ladder and 500 gallons of water? We are are already pushing the envelope. I take it Sutphen does not suffer from cracking in the same places due to their Huckbolt (?) fasteners?

  12. #72
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    I have no idea,never weighed one. Huckbolt is but one advantage,note that Sutphen uses a SQUARE boom.No one else does except the 'scope.Less flexing than a U shaped boom,which is what the rest of us have. By the way,where were your cracks? T.C.

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    I have not been able to find out yet. I have been out on a back injury. I will find out more come Wednesday and i will let you know.

  14. #74
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    Ugh,Hate back injuries. Recipient of a lifelong version. Best of luck healing and yeah,I'd be interested in the location. I'm curious to see if they're in the same areas that the steel ones crack.

  15. #75
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    Nameless,I just had an amusing thought. They used to make military fighter planes out of Balsa wood. Would you like an aerial made of Balsa wood? Another amusing analogy. T.C.

  16. #76
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    Donethat,while I won't dispute there were aluminum aerials dating back to the early 40's I WILL suggest that they weren't very numerous compared to their steel counterparts. If you compare numbers of produced units I think you'll find that it wasn't until E-one started earnestly producing the Aluminums that they began showing up on the fireground in any significant numbers. No question, Sutphen has been producing quality aluminum devices for years. But again,they don't control a huge market share. History skewed? As soon as the Captain and I get done arguing who's steering the ship,history isn't the only thing that's gonna be skewed,hehe T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 05-23-2009 at 07:31 PM.

  17. #77
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    Ho-Hum! Now let me see!

  18. #78
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    See what? The Light? I hope you're not telling me you're going aluminum.Since 1959,the Metz steel aerial with the only change being the controller.Yes Tony,I know they produced ladders well before '59. But that's when the current design started showing up .
    Last edited by Rescue101; 05-23-2009 at 07:37 PM.

  19. #79
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    2, Smeal also builds a 75' single axel w/500 water.

    While we are on that how is it possible that Ferrara uses a 75' structurer built by Smeal and is able to strech it 2 more feet?

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tower47 View Post
    2, Smeal also builds a 75' single axel w/500 water.

    While we are on that how is it possible that Ferrara uses a 75' structurer built by Smeal and is able to strech it 2 more feet?
    2' bolt on egress at the tip.

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