Menu

WFC News

Posted: Apr 15, 2015

Electronics Make Aerial Devices Safer, Easier to Use

By Alan M. Petrillo

View Image Gallery>

Makers of aerial ladders and platforms have developed a number of electronic systems that have made aerials safer and easier for firefighters to operate.

These include envelope control, automatic jacking systems, leveling systems, auto-stow, proximity warning systems, and preprogrammed ramping systems. With electronic technology continuing to evolve, some manufacturers predict that more electronic assist systems are in store for the future of the fire service.

Envelope Control

Tim Smits, senior sales manager of fleet management for Pierce Manufacturing Inc., says his company was one of the first in the country to put envelope control on aerial devices. "We offer envelope control to allow the aerial to keep stable when placed in certain positions," Smits points out, "especially on the short side where it will not allow an operator to put the aerial in an unsafe position."

Mike Harstad, aerial products manager for Rosenbauer, says Rosenbauer has been building the Smart Aerial System into its aerial devices for the past eight or nine years and envelope control is part of that system. "The system is a controller area network (CAN) bus that uses a couple of communications wires in a closed-loop system instead of point-to-point wiring," he says. CAN bus is a vehicle bus that allows microcontrollers and devices to communicate with each other in a vehicle without a host computer. Harstad notes that using a CAN bus system "makes it simpler to troubleshoot and repair because there are minimal points where something can be wrong."

Harstad says Rosenbauer's envelope control prevents putting the ladder in a place where it could cause damage to the apparatus. "It protects the envelope that is the actual apparatus," he points out.

Chip Goodson, aerial devices engineering manager for E-ONE, says E-ONE has envelope control for situations where a longer cab and wheelbase could cause forward stability problems as the front wheels are lifted off the ground. "If you extend the aerial over the front of the truck, at the 90-foot extension point the system stops the ladder as if there was a wall in front of it," Goodson says. "As you raise the aerial, you can then extend it farther," he adds. The system is designed to prevent the aerial from tipping forward, but Goodson says E-ONE can do 100 percent loading off the sides of the vehicle.

The control panel on a Pierce Manufacturing aerial ladder has a display that allows an operator to page through different screens to get any information needed on the status of the aerial. (Photo courtesy of Pierce Manufacturing Inc
The control panel on a Pierce Manufacturing aerial ladder has a display
that allows an operator to page through different screens to get any
information needed on the status of the aerial. (Photo courtesy of Pierce
Manufacturing Inc.)

Goodson notes that E-ONE's Bronto RLP Plus aerial devices have a full-range envelope control system that includes variable jacking.

Jason Witmier, product manager for aerials at KME, says his company's system is called E-Zone and is set up to specifically monitor rotation of an aerial device. "An encoder works as the ladder rotates, and if the vehicle has been short-jacked, the system can stop the aerial from swinging over the short jack side and prevent the ladder from tipping ove

Read more
Posted: Apr 15, 2015

Fire Truck Photo of the Day-KME Pumper

Read more
Posted: Apr 14, 2015

Fire Truck Photo of the Day-Ferrara Ladder Truck

Read more
Posted: Apr 13, 2015

Fire Truck Photo of the Day-Pierce Pumper

Read more
Posted: Apr 10, 2015

Fire Truck Photo of the Day-SVI Heavy Rescue Truck

Read more
RSS
First65296530653165326534653665376538Last

Theme picker

Search News Articles