With Australia’s capital cities and country towns facing a potential catastrophic fire season, it is not only farmers and homeowners who need to get prepared! The move to more efficient, capable fire fighting equipment is a must. Even volunteer brigades are around the country, are planning to upgrade, where appropriate to, and the latest technologies.
Australian Pump Industries is the leading supplier of portable lightweight fire pumps. Here the Chief Engineer, John Hales, weighs up some basics on the evolution and development of the company’s pump product range.
CAPABILITY IS EVERYTHING
In a fire having the ability to get the fire out fast is everything. It’s not how much pressure you have but how much water you can apply at pressure!
Australian Pump has been behind the push to improve the capability and pressure flow characteristics of their product range over the last 25 years. During that time they have developed pumps that can deliver more water at pressure, even going into production with a twin impeller high pressure pump with 3 inch ports.
The company started with the concept of the Aussie Fire Chief. That pump simply larger diameter impeller. The hydraulics combination of the heavy duty impeller and volute is perfectly matched to either petrol or diesel engines produced by the world’s best manufacturers.
All units are carefully tested by the engineers from Yanmar, Honda and Kubota to ensure that there is plenty of reserved horsepower to drive the product even in an extreme situation.
PUMP DESIGN COUNTS
When Aussie developed the Fire Chief they started out thinking about the application and opportunities for the design without worrying too much about cost. “Price is a factor of course but we believe if you start out with a 3” (76 mm) instead of a 2” pump you ultimately wind up with more capability because of the ability to use bigger impellers and volutes,” said Hales. “The trick is to make sure the balanced impellers and volute design does not over load the engine,” he said.
The big belly body on the Fire Chief gave the company room to design in a 7 ½” diameter impeller. The huge impeller, weighing 2.5 times more than competitors, and made of top quality aluminium material, works in combination with a preciously machined volute. The combination of impellers and volutes means the water passages produce more pressure but, deliver more water as well!
WATER IN… WATER OUT
The company also worked putting a bigger suction port into the pump. “We built in a 2” flanged, removable suction port that gives the user real advantages,” said Hales. “The more water that can get into the pump provides the operator with an inherent advantage over small suction port pump.” He said.
Hales also went onto say that the larger port also means you can accommodate a bigger check valve to help the self-priming process. That results in the Fire Chief lifting water through a vertical 7.6 metre suction line!
“We see fire pumps with a 38 mm suction inlet and 4 separate outlets! How on earth can that pump ever be expected to push water through more than 1 outlet from a 38 mm (1 ½”) suction? It’s marketing gimmick not a practical solution, ” said Hales.
PUMPS STABILITY IMPORTANT
Getting the pump to sit firmly on a base can be a big thing in the panic and excitement of a bushfire situation. Aussie started out with the Fire Chief with two steel skids with anti-vibration mounts to stabilize the pump. “In the heat of the moment a tug on the delivery hose and topple the pump,” said Hales. “That can only happen if there’s no operating base on the machine.”
Recent developments of the Fire Chief in its “Red Brigade” configuration include a heavy duty roll frame on anti-vibration mounts. That makes the machine even more stable.
The Fire Chief produces a whopping pressure of up to 100 PSI (75 metre head). Flows are up to 450 litres per minute maximum but the key performance figure is the duty point of operation. “The Chief can pull 200 lpm at 50 metres head” said Hales. “That’s substantially more than any of our competitors and makes the performance of 3rd world cheap pumps that are flooding Australia look totally inadequate,” said Hales.
THE RANGE EXPANDS
Today, after working closely with farmers, home owners and even national parks and fire-fighting authorities, the company has expanded the product line up to make pumps specifically suitable for the Australian market. The range now includes both petrol and diesel drive machines, single and twin impellers and even the mighty “Brigade Boss” series that delivers huge flows at pressure. All these big pumps all come with roll frames with bases and anti-vibration mounts. The diesels come with galvanised steel, or more recently, stainless steel frames for protection against corrosion.
FIVE YEAR WARRANTY PROTECTION
Australian Pump is the only company that offers 5 year warranty on their fire fighting pumps.
“That’s because we believe in the product and know just how good it is” said Hales. “That 5 year warranty is unique in the industry and has not been followed by any of our competitors. That tells you something.” he said.
Although Aussie Pumps products are made to the highest standards prices are competitive. “We don’t believe in fake prices and fake discounts . We have real prices and we sell through great distributors who support our philosophy,” said Hales.
A new catalogue, Aussie Pump Smart, is available for all those interested in “FIRE PUMPOLOGY”. It helps farmers and professionals select the right pump for any duty. The catalogue shows roughly 500 options, the biggest range not only in Australia but in the southern hemisphere.
Further information on Aussie Firefighter Range… click here