TFT FlipTip Nozzles
Saw the TFT FlipTip nozzle at FDIC a couple years ago and checked it out. To me it seemed more like a gimmick than a practical option. I understand the desire to combine solid bore and combination in the same nozzle and I think Akron did a pretty good job with the Saber Jet nozzles. The FlipTip didn't seem very balanced but then again it wasn't flowing water, just a demo on the table.
Just out of curiosity, has anybody used them and what do you think?
Personally I've been wondering about this since I saw them. It's been a couple years now so I thought I would ask to see if anyone has experience with them. Our department isn't looking at trying them or anything else, just trying to satisfy personal curiosity.
I have used one and I was not impressed. For one, the nozzle is heavy, it might as well be a boat anchor. Depending on your sb tip size and the operating pressure of the fog tip, you have issues with getting the proper nozzle pressure (100 psi fog vs. 50 psi SB). When the front tip is folded down to allow the smoothbore to function I got a really strange nozzle reaction.The hose out in front of me wanted to bend down and kink, I think this is due to the nozzle being heavy and the balance being thrown off when it's folded down. I think you were dead on when you said it seemed like a gimmick (a lot of TFT's nozzles are). Jack of all trades master of none. I'm a big believer in simple nozzles, less to go wrong.
I am glad someone else said the word gimmick. Look at TFT, they started as an automatic nozzle company solely. That was all they sold. Then they bought KK Thunderfog and started marketing single flow, selectable gallonage combination nozzles, and the greatest horror of all SMOOTH BORE NOZZLES! :rolleyes: The point being TFT had said for year that the automatic nozzle was the answer and the only answer for handlines and master streams. If that is true why add the other product lines and muddy the waters?
The flip top is the answer to the Akron Saber Jet, but it is also an attempt to stay relevant in a changing landscape of nozzles. It is indeed a gimmick and one that I believe will not be around long.
By the way, I am not saying automatic nozzles, when maintained properly, and with properly trained pump operators, fire officers, and firefighters don't work exactly as designed. Of course they do. The truth is find me more than a handful of FDs that meet all 4 of the preceeding requirements and I will be astounded. Most have no idea that the original 50 to 350 TFT nozzles were supposed to be cleaned and lubricated on a schedule. Many of those nozzles today do not operate in the proper flow or pressure ranges because of that fact. What maintenance is there on a single gallonage combination nozzle, or a smoothbore? Hose off the chunks and make sure the bail opens and closes properly. Simplicity eliminates problems many times.
Through purely anecdotal evidence I believe the day of the automatic nozzle has come and gone in many fire departments. Many have realized it made little sense to spend the money to have a nozzle capable of flowwing 50 to 350 and then set a standard preconnect flow of 150 gpm or there abouts and never flow anything different. I am seeing some departments switching to single gallonage low pressure combination nozzles and others to smoothbores. Less pressure, more water, less nozzle reaction, and less cost per nozzle.
When I spoke to Akron at FDIC I asked them about the friction loss and flows regarding solid bore vs. combination and the different flows. Their response, and I guess it makes sense, is with the right solid bore orifice the increase in gpm increases the friction loss and the same pump pressure is required because the increased flow increases the friction loss which correlates with about 50 psi at the tip on the solid bore. Mind you this is theoretical, I've never tested it.
The Saber Jet is available in the single shut off and dual shut off. We have one dual shut off on a CAFS grass rig. The bale controls the solid bore and turning the nozzle turns on the combination. I like the single shut off concept better where half open is combination and full open is solid bore.
To me this is the simplest nozzle that may be able to provide the "best of both worlds". I can understand what TFT was shooting for but it didn't seem to make sense to me.
Thank you for your views,
FFWalt, I think the Akron guy was right, depending on how you set up the nozzle you can make it work. One common set up is a 15/16" integrated smooth bore with a 150 GPM @ 75 PSI fog tip screwed on. They will operate at the similar pressures. If you decide you want to flow a 175 or 185 GPM fog tip through a 15/16" SB, you will have a tough time supplying it due to the friction loss in the 15/16" tip.
Thanks for you thoughts guys. After seeing the single shut off Akron Saber Jet I can't imagine anything simpler. When the bale is open half way you get combination and full open is solid bore. If you chose the appropriate orifice size to get the appropriate flow and pressure on both combination and solid bore it would be the best of both worlds in my mind.
I wasn't impressed by the TFT Flip Tip when I saw it but wanted to see what people that actually used it thought. Of course, I wasn't impressed with the Akron Zero Torque either when I saw it but became a believer after talking to those that used it.