22-Jul-2010 Source: Absolute Fire Solutions
Absolute Fire Solutions, (AFS) announced today thatÂ the innovative actuator and control technology that allows cockpit volume control and multi-drop capabilities with no weight penalty, which was previously patented in Australia, has now received patents in both Canada and the United States. The proprietary control system design distinguishes FAST Bucket from older technology bucket products because it enables operators to control water volume from the cockpit, regardless of bucket size, and uses less than 2 amps of down-line power. FAST Bucket is available from Absolute Fire Solutions in Calgary, Canada.
The technology uses the weight of water in the bucket to create hydraulic pressure in a small closed actuator. The pressure then operates a simple base valve each time the pilot depresses the drop switch. This fundamental change has created new options for operators, including cockpit selectable automatic volume control (eliminating bucket cinching), a â€œgatedâ€ drop capability which allows split drops on all sizes similar to a tank, and a line of simplified accessories that use the â€œweight of the waterâ€ concept to enhance performance.
Cockpit volume control and multiple drops in every size enable firefighting agencies to apply more retardant on the fire more effectively, as pilots have the option to increase their loads as they burn fuel.
â€œWe knew the innovative bucket was a breakthrough in technology that would result in new possibilities and a change in conventional thinking,â€ said Steve Matthews, President of AFS. â€œThis new system gives pilots more control. They can alter bucket volume and disbursements based on the demand and performance of the helicopter.Â Â No one will know that better than the pilots and now they have the ability to make those choices.â€
Matthews purchased the technology from the Australian inventors in 2006 and spent two years improving the design to simplify field maintenance and increase reliability. Key enhancements driven by operator feedback include manual and auto volume control, foam injection, powered fill, gel injection and data-logging.
â€œMost of the fine-tuning and improvements, and almost all the accessory concepts, are the result of suggestions from supportive operators, which has been critical. The patents are a nice recognition of the unique concept behind each FAST Bucket, but the operator contribution is what really takes the FAST system to the next level,â€ Matthews said.
About Absolute Fire Solutions
Absolute Fire Solutions (AFS) of Calgary, Canada, manufactures the FAST Bucket, the worldâ€™s first aerial firefighting bucket integrating cockpit volume control in every size. In its third year of operation, AFS has clients in 16 countries operating the full range of FAST Buckets and accessories, including FAST Fill, FAST Foam and now FAST Gel. The introduction of FAST Gel continues AFSâ€™s aggressive innovation in aerial fire suppression equipment. For more information about Absolute Fire Solutions, visitÂ www.absolutefire.ca, or one of our worldwide distributors.Â Â Â AFS products are distributed commercially by DART Helicopter Services,www.darthelicopterservices.com, and to military and government agencies by Simplex Mfg.,Â www.simplexmfg.com