Tasmanian fireys endorse Allison autos


Tasmanian Fire service says switching to automatic fire trucks has led to significant savings over manuals.

Tasmanian fireys endorse Allison autos
Hino GT 4x4 fire truck

 

The Tasmanian Fire Service says switching to Allison automatics has engineered out a major cost.

This is because of significant reductions in driveline damage caused by drivers, says Leon Smith, TFS manager of engineering services.

"The guy who overhauls our transmissions, clutches and differentials was constantly telling me to remind the drivers that the gearshift was not a crowbar, because many did not have the expertise to understand the subtleties of using a manual," says Smith.

"With an automatic those problems have been eliminated, thankfully."

Since moving to Allison-equipped 4x4s, the Tasmanian Fire Service has added 28 integrated Hino GT automatics.

"We won't be buying any more manual fire trucks," says Smith. "The automatics have proven to be a much better proposition, and really the only way to go."

The Tasmanian Fire Service encouraged Hino to supply factory fitted Allison-equipped automatic versions of its GT 4x4 truck.

This was after a successful trial in 2007 of retrofitting three Hino GTs with Allison 2500 transmissions.

Smith says the original concept of fitting an automatic to 4x4 trucks was pursued as a means of increasing top speed, as well as delivering better acceleration both on and off-road.

"By any measure, the conversion to automatics on the three trucks was a success, so much so that it led other Australian firefighting organizations to be interested in the idea," he says.

"We lobbied the Japanese manufacturers and now Hino, Isuzu and Fuso all offer factory-fitted Allison automatics on 4x4 trucks."

The Tasmanian Fire Service has a long history with Allison transmissions, using them in a variety of urban firefighting trucks including Freightliners, Scanias and Ivecos.

The fleet now only specifies Allisons.

"The automatic means it is safer for a wider range of drivers to operate because fire fighters are not full-time truck drivers and the automatics allow them to concentrate on steering, rather than changing gears," says Smith.

Apart from helping to pioneer the automatics in Japanese 4x4 trucks, Allison says the Tasmanian Fire Service is a technology leader in other areas. It is now the only state-controlled fire service in Australia that still manufactures truck bodies and firefighting machines in its own engineering operation.

The Service recently developed a Hino FM 2630 using the Allison 3000 series automatic for use as an advanced Compressed Air Foam firefighting truck. The Allison's live power take-off (PTO) provision fuels a large compressor, which increases the foam's fire-fighting effectiveness by a factor of eight.

This truck was used to help extinguish the infamous and long-burning Morwell coal mine fire in Victoria in early 2014.

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