ORLANDO – Fire Department Safety Officer Association apparatus symposium attendees were treated to some additional sneak peeks at what is new and hot for 2014 on the last day of the event.
Representatives of Spartan Chassis, Hale Pumps and Pierce gave presentations about cab improvements, running gear improvements and pump innovations.
First up was Spartan Chassis.
Mike Bowman, director of fire truck sales for Spartan Chassis, explained the strength and protection “under the armor” of the cab and chassis. He said Spartan has extensive air bag placement for occupant protection with its Advanced Protection System (APS). He claims the Spartan system covers three times the area to its competitors.
In addition to its airbag protection, Spartan Chassis has improved its seatbelts with an intelligent system which has an automatic retractor to pull the occupant into the seat and then plays the belt back out to minimize torso injuries as the collision event winds down.
“Seatbelt retraction is a fairly violent, pyrotechnic event and the belt can sometimes cause torso injuries,” Bowman said. “We wanted to minimize that.”
Bowman also said Spartan Chassis offers 728 different cab configurations to give customers the ability to specify exactly what they want.
Spartan Chassis also has a fire truck training workshop at its factory in Michigan every October and Bowman invited symposium attendees to participate.
“You get yourself out there, and we’ll take real good care of you,” Bowman said.
Hale Products and Class 1 was up next with information about new products and the company’s 100th anniversary.
Bruce Lear, vice president of sales and marketing at Hale Products said the company was started in 1914 in Conshohocken, Pa., by three firefighters who “thought they could make a better fire truck.”
“It was started in a residential garage,” said Lear, who added that the company recently completed a consolidation with a new plant in Ocala, Fla. Additionally, Hale offered a factory tour to symposium attendees and invited people to tour the plant on their own schedule.
Lear said Hale has redesigned its popular Qmax pump to reduce pump panel widths. Qmax XS was introduced in 2012 and is 8-inches narrower.
With narrower pump panels departments can decide to use the space for backboards, crosslays and other storage needs, Lear said.
Hale has also worked on its pump gear packages and developed a system that prevents “hot shifting” and the damage that it can cause, Lear said.
“Nobody hot shifts, right,” Lear said. “Well, we’ve come up with an anti-hot shift system which makes it so you can’t even though you’re not supposed to.”
Lear’s colleague at Class 1, Dave Guynn, who is the company’s sales manager, discussed some new products being introduced from Class 1. The company has an improved display for its display panel products called Ultraview.
He said one of the biggest improvements is visibility in bright sun shine which means it can be used in cabs or on the outside of the apparatus. They’re all J1989 CAN protocol compliant and can do everything from monitor tire pressure and generate information for use in many ways.
Guynn said the company will have several items for review at the Fire Department Instructors Conference show in April.
Pierce Manufacturing rounded out the “What’s Hot” topic discussion.
Custom Chassis Product Manager Lisa Barwick said new for 2014 is a TAK4 rear independent which will be unveiled in April.
Barwick said it complements the TAK4 independent front suspension that was introduced in 2001. The system, she said, will improve ride comfort and control. It will be available in 36,000 and 52,000 pound axle ratings.
The rear independent suspension system will also have a tight turning technology, Barwick said, noting that it will have a mechanical steer mechanism with two steering gears. She said it will reduce tire scrub and improve turning radius as just the rear axle turns, if it is a tandem rear axle system. It has coil springs and drum brakes, she added.