Thread: Air Bag Life Expectancy
05-06-2003, 02:05 PM #1
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
Air Bag Life Expectancy
Our department currently has Vetter High Pressure Air bags in service that were purchased in the 1980's. Any info on when these should be taken out of service. Never been tested.
Last edited by dmclaurin; 05-07-2003 at 05:09 PM.
05-10-2003, 09:19 PM #2
We had the same issue come up a few years back. Even with regular proper inspections and maintenance you could still have a failure of the bags. Go to the link below to find out a little more.
Scroll down to "FEATURED ARTICLES" There, at the second link is a decent report on High-Pressure air bags.
Hope it helps.
Never say NEVER, and never say always...
Last edited by NB87JW; 05-11-2003 at 03:47 AM."Making Sense with Common Sense"
Motor Vehicle Rescue Consultants
( MVRC@comcast.net) Jordan Sr.
05-10-2003, 11:51 PM #3
Time for a change
I had the same question, and contacted a rep. He told me that my bags, purchessed in '86 are in need of replacing. The new Vetter bags have Kevlar reinforcement opposed to the steel in our current ones. We are in the process of ordering replacements for the ones in use.
If you need a contact name, e-mail me and I will give you his name, he is an ex-chief & works in NY. Maybe he can help you.
JoeA positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
05-11-2003, 01:17 PM #4
I'm working on an article on the life expectancy of high pressure rescue airbags. Have two good case studies of explosive failure during use. Both systems were the same vintage as mentioned in this thread. Bottom line of my research will be recommendation to replace airbags after a certain number of years of service. The 20+ years will be beyond the recommended life expectancy that I'll present.
Departments might want to plan on spending some money to be on the safe side.
Ron Moore, Batt Chief/Training Officer
McKinney(TX) Fire Department
214-578-3405Ron Moore, Forum Moderator
05-12-2003, 02:32 PM #5
I have been working on a "sales pitch" for admin. to replace our nearly 20 year old bags on several apparatus. How soon will your information be out?
Let us know please.
Last edited by NB87JW; 05-12-2003 at 02:34 PM."Making Sense with Common Sense"
Motor Vehicle Rescue Consultants
( MVRC@comcast.net) Jordan Sr.
12-02-2003, 09:50 PM #6
Ron (or anyone else), did this article get published?
I seem to remember reading it, but I am having some trouble locating it. Maybe I was hallucinating...
12-02-2003, 09:59 PM #7
I thought there was a standard or guideline that specified 12 monthly pressure testing????
Is anyone even bothering to have theirs tested or recertified by the manufacturer?Luke
12-02-2003, 10:09 PM #8
I can tell you that we have never had ours tested, and I think that's more the rule rather than the exception (in this area it is, atleast). This is all that I could come up with on the web (for some reason vBulletin isn't parsing the address below correctly, so you're going to have to type it in... can't even copy and paste... weird):
"According to Vetter representative/technician, John Healey, 76 Main Street, Waren, RI 02885, Vetter recommends that the bags should be hydro statically tested after 5 years, 7 years, 9 years and then every year after."
Q 8. Does Paratech have a trade in program for the MAXIFORCE Lift Bags? A 8. Paratech offers a trade in on our MAXIFORCE Lift Bags as an incentive to upgrade your bags before they’ve reached their life expectancy as long as the bags are still in working condition. You can trade in your airbags for one of equal or greater size and receive a 20% discount off of the list pricing.
Last edited by Resq14; 12-02-2003 at 10:20 PM.
12-07-2003, 04:07 PM #9
As a "stocking distributor" for Paratech, Inc., I contacted the company and requested their "official" response to this question.
Below is a copy of the letter that Paratech sends out upon receiving inquiries of this nature.
Re: SERVICE LIFE OF PARATECH'S MAXIFORCE AIR LIFT BAGS
As lifting bags age and fire departments consider replacement, I receive frequent requests for information on the service life of our Maxiforce Air Lifting Bags. I hope this information is helpful.
The service life of a Maxiforce steel reinforced Air Lift Bag was 8 - 10 years. Paratech has not produced steel reinforced air lifting bags since 1987. So, if you still have steel reinforced Maxiforce air lift bags in service, we strongly recommend that they be removed from service as soon as possible.
All steel reinforced lifting bags may be used in the Paratech trade-up program.
The service life of a Maxiforce aramid reinforced air lift bag purchased between 1990 - 2000 is 8 – 12 years. Maxiforce air lift bags purchased from the year 2000 to present is 12 – 16 years.
Paratech, in cooperation with our dealers, offers a trade-up program on all types and brands of air lift bags. This works by giving the fire departments a 20% credit off the current published price of an equal or smaller size Maxiforce air lift bag. Most air lift bag systems operate at 118 psi, so you can still use your old controller and regulator with the new air lift bags if you choose not to upgrade your control equipment.
If you require more information about the trade-in program please contact your local Paratech dealer. If you have any technical questions about Paratech products, I look forward to hearing from you at 800-435-9358, during business hours.
12-07-2003, 05:03 PM #10
It's interesting that manufacturers such as Paratech offer a trade up program, but they don't offer a a hydrostatic test service.
Many departments just can't afford to trade up.
I know in Australia, we have a couple of companies that offer testing of bags....Luke
12-08-2003, 04:13 PM #11
Blame It On The Attorneys
Having brought up the issue of air lift bag "testing and recertification" at FDIC a few years ago (from both a distributor's and an end user's point of view), I recall that the manufacturers' reluctance was rooted in the liability that they assumed by performing this service.
One of the industry's experts explained that an air lift bag's service life is dependent on several variables: original construction methods, materials, use, care and storage all play a role in just how long an individual bag can safely remain in service.
When the bag leaves the factory for the first time there have been strictly documented controls over these variables. While construction and materials remains constant, when the bag returns for testing and recertification several years later, the manufacturer is being asked to test it and to certify that it is safe for continued use without knowing how it has been used and cared for. As such, this manufacturer would only test their own bags. If the bag passed, the certification read:
"The air lift bag was tested and found to meet or exceed performance criteria on this date."
No additional warranty or testimonial of future performance was offered.
I agree that the cost to replace an entire set of air lift bags after just a few years of service is high. However, for several years now we have been assisting departments in dealing with this through planning. As the expected service life is always expressed in a range of years, we ask that the department keep a record of air lift bag use and plan for the replacement of just the bags with the most use (or obvious wear) at the beginning of this range.
Example: In 2000, a department purchases an 8 Bag 136 Ton Set containing 1 each; 44T, 32T, 22T, 17T, 12T, 5T, 3T, 1T air lift bags. 12 years later, records indicate that the two most commonly used air lift bags are the 32T and 17T. Only these two bags are replaced after the 12th year. The remaining bags are replaced at a rate of two per year during the 14th through 16th year of service according to use and condition.
While not reducing the overall cost of replacement, this "rotation" does spread out the cost over 4 budget years. I hope this helps those departments who are facing the issue of air lift bag replacement in the near future.
Good Luck and Be Safe!
12-08-2003, 05:17 PM #12
A good thing when buying any capital equipment is to place an expected service life to it.
I know, more work and it actually assumes you have a plan
Most of us do this with apparatus -- figuring on a 20 year life or whatever. First apparatus plan in my town came in around 1970, and we're now on the third major generation of it covering us till 2030 -- with the major goal over time of evenly spacing out purchases.
I think a lot fewer actually plan out things like pagers, bunker gear, air bottles, etc then we all know wear out or break at a pretty predictable pace.
You buy something, there should be a plan it's replacement is written into.
12-12-2003, 10:24 PM #13
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
One point to share, which cannot be argued, is the fact that anytime you have used your airbags for something that they were not intended for, or if the bag received a "shock load", It should be tested.
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