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  1. #1
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    Default New Aerial Questions

    Our department has operated a MM Sutphen SP95 aerial since 1980 with the original being replaced with an updated version in 2002. In 2004 we purchased a used 1987 80' RM E-One as a second ladder due to space restrictions in the second station. There is the distinct possibility of replacing the 80' stick in the next few years and it has also been determined that the station housing this ladder could be modified to accept a longer apparatus but would result in a height restriction of 11' over the rear (10'-15') of the apparatus.
    Although a committee has not yet been created I feel it would be safe to assume that the replacement aerial would be a mid mount platform for two distinct reasons. First, it has a lower overall height and would fit within the height restriction. Second, as a combination department it would be advantageous to have two MM apparatus with the same capabilities regardless of the call. We also do not operate as Engine or Truck companies. We get both types apparatus on scene and assign personnel to the task as needed.
    Knowing what can happen when you assume, I feel the committee would lead toward a 100' MM platform with a 1,500 gpm Hale QMax, hydraulic generator, Cummins or Maxxforce engine (service for both in town), 300 - 500 gallons of water and two preconnects with LDH, and possibly 3", carried in the bed. For us staffing is not the issue, we are looking for a ladder that can "feed itself" regarding water. We would also not be looking at an apparatus similar to a Bronto or Metz.
    I will also add the caveat that I am a fan of Sutphen aerial apparatus but I will not be the one writing the check for this apparatus and if I am on the committee it will not be a committee of one. These statements and questions are made with an open mind.
    With the above information I have several questions that I would like your input on:
    1) Steel vs. aluminum: I have searched the threads but want to know if someone has something new to add to the debate. One issue for me, I requested overall length, overall height and weights from a couple regional builders that make mid mounts using steel. When compared to a Sutphen SPH100 they weigh 20 to 25,000 pounds more. If the cost are the same how can you justify the additional weight?
    2) If you allow both steel and aluminum aerial builders to bid how do you fairly evaluate the two? Steel will of course have heavier axles and possibly a larger engine due to the weight. How do you keep it fair?
    3) When comparing aerials you need to look at overall length, overall height, out rigger spread, working load capacities in the platform both dry and wet, set up time and ease of operation. What am I missing?
    4) What else would you inject into this debate (I am looking for a healthy debate backed up by fact and reason not name calling and blind builder affinity)?

    Thank you,
    Walt
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    www.kvfd.net


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    When you have such variances (aluminum vs. steel), I think you really need to write a performance spec and rate what you receive as bids according to that.

    Like you said, is a steel midmount better than an aluminum because it has heavier rear axles? Lots of due diligence is needed on your committee's end.
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

  3. #3
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    We lean toward performance type specs but evaluating them is the rub. You see the dilemma we could be looking at.

    Walt
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  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    We lean toward performance type specs but evaluating them is the rub. You see the dilemma we could be looking at.

    Walt
    Couldn't the evaluation be performance based then also? Time to full extension? Time for setup? Handling, etc? Turning radius?
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

  5. #5
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    NPFD801 hit it on the head. Performance spcs and testing. When we purchased our '06 MM tower we did not prefer steel over aluminum. We put to paper the things we felt were important that the truck could do and other items that could be measured and prove valuable and let them become our deciding factors (as if price wasn't enough!).

    Here is a few I can recall off my head:
    1. lowest angle over the cab
    2. shortest distance from side of body to front of bucket with basket on ground at 90 degrees to the body.
    3. wall to wall turning radius
    4. OAL OAH
    5. bucket shape that allows for safe access/egress from multiple positions (not a perfect rectangle)

    I can find the doc on my work computer on Tuesday if you'd like.

  6. #6
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    The only Midmount that you can get with a Hale Q Max pump would be a Smeal. Every other Manufacturer uses a Hale 8FG pump.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by commack95 View Post
    The only Midmount that you can get with a Hale Q Max pump would be a Smeal. Every other Manufacturer uses a Hale 8FG pump.
    The Waterous S100 and Darley LSP are also both available for midmount applications. But I think commack95 is right about the 8FG being the only Hale available for other manufacturers.

  8. #8
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    Besides the Smeal product, Sutphen has the ability to offer the Hale Q-Max pump on all of their towers/ladders.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HMTROMAN1 View Post
    Besides the Smeal product, Sutphen has the ability to offer the Hale Q-Max pump on all of their towers/ladders.
    I stand corrected thanks for the info

  10. #10
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    Steel will of course have heavier axles and possibly a larger engine due to the weight. How do you keep it fair?
    Not really, all trucks in this category will be maxed out GVW's for their size (75-80K lbs). Aluminum trucks just put more of the weight into the frame/torque box which gives you a lower COG and resulting smaller jack spread (I actually found at least one aluminum manufacturer puts steel ballast plates in the rear of their mid mounts).
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire304 View Post
    Not really, all trucks in this category will be maxed out GVW's for their size (75-80K lbs). Aluminum trucks just put more of the weight into the frame/torque box which gives you a lower COG and resulting smaller jack spread (I actually found at least one aluminum manufacturer puts steel ballast plates in the rear of their mid mounts).
    I have seen steel ballast used with steel aerials as well. Platforms primarily. I know of one builder who put some steel behind the rear axle to reduce the load on the front axle to keep it from being overloaded.

  12. #12
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    On a related note, my FD has 11' bay doors AND a sloped drive. The ladder can only get into bay 3 because of this. We managed to find a RM 105' ladder to fit in this space, so the 11' restriction (proposed) at your station shouldn't be too big an issue. A RM bucket would not fit in ours.

    I do know that Spartan and most other chassis builders offer low profile cabs. Ferrarra (and thus probably Smeal) also offer low profile RM LADDERS. That may bear looking into for your station should you choose to replace the rm ladder with another one.

    Just thought I'd throw that in there, that you aren't necessarily limited to shorter sticks due to a height restriction. OAL, now that's a different story!

    I cannot offer anything in the steel vs aluminum question, as I've only worked with steel units.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    I just want to comment on the axles real quick. Whether steel or aluminum, spec the heaviest axle that you can get.

    Ballast plates are used in both steel and aluminum ladders, with or without platforms, RM or MM. Got all of them by different manufacturers and some have ballast plates, and others don't.

    FM1

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  14. #14
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input guys.

    RFDACM02,
    Would you please send me that document. Use my work address of twalton@kearneygov.org.

    Nozzle nut 22
    Thanks for the info but since we have only two aerials it makes more sense for us to have two MM's due to the type of department and how we operate.

    FIREMECH1,
    With you on the axles. It's a wise investment to do it now and not have to worry down the road. Partially due to the "Velcro Effect" along with longevity.

    Thanks guys. Any other views?
    Walt
    Train like you want to fight.
    www.kvfd.net

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