News & Media

New crew cab light tankers

  • Crew Cab Light Tankers in production at Bell Environmental in Sunshine
  • Crew Cab Light Tankers in production at Bell Environmental in Sunshine

By: CFA News

Category: Vehicles / Equipment / Buildings

  3.43 PM 14 September, 2016

Location: General

Views: 13842

CFA’s first ever crew cab light tanker is being inspected today on production lines, one of eight new-model tankers set to be delivered to brigades ahead of the summer season.

Two further single-cab tankers were requested under VESEP, and will also be with those brigades by the end of November.

Project Manager Elliott Barnfather is on site at manufacturer Bell Environmental today (Wednesday 14 September) to inspect the first completed truck, which features an all-alloy body construction and rota-moulded 1,700-litre water tank.

While the new crew cab model is similar to the previous 1.2.4D light tanker, also built by Bell, Elliot will be paying particular attention to various design adjustments brought in to accommodate the larger-sized cab.

The light tankers are being manufactured at Bell, based in North Sunshine, who are also currently working to complete 40 new heavy tankers for CFA.

A key focus over the past few weeks has been finalising and perfecting the design for an electro-hydraulic cab-tilt mechanism that will allow access for district mechanical officers.  

A seat-belt arrangement incorporating lap/sash belts for all seats and extra reinforcement has also had to undergo rigorous testing to ensure safety standards were being met.

Elliott said that last year Bell Environmental had decided – on its own initiative – to fund and build a prototype for a new crew cab model, after overseeing the production of 30 single cab light tankers.

“It was an entrepreneurial move, I think, because they recognised that this was the way the things were heading. Obviously, there is a clear advantage for having crew inside an air-conditioned cabin; it allows them to be transported in relative safety.”

He added that testing for the prototype, which was trialled with Allambee Fire Brigade in Gippsland, had yielded good results.

“The main issue we discovered from the prototype was the long and low overhang on the bottom rear of the truck. This came about because with the larger cab the tray body had to be moved rearwards,” he said.

“In the end we found a way to modify that design because it would have limited the truck’s ability to manoeuvre in certain terrains, such as backing in or out of ditches.”

The NPS75-155 4x4 is one ISUZU’s best-selling trucks in Australia and is common in the mining sector as well as the fire services.

Elliott said an upgrade to ISUZU’s NPS 4x4 meant it could easily handle not only the additional passenger weight, but an increased water tank capacity, from 1,300 litres on the older 1.2.4D up to 1,700 litres on the new crew cab model.

After good feedback from brigades, a decision was also made to remain with the same water-cooled diesel engine.

Manoeuvrability and accessibility for crew members are key features of a light tanker, a vehicle Elliot describes as a practical vehicle that goes places where the bigger tankers can’t.

“As an engineer, I try to keep the design as simple as possible,” he said.

Once off production lines, the new trucks will be checked at CFA mechanical workshops before passing into the hands of brigades.

A further 10 crew cab light tankers for brigades have just been approved by the Minister under the recently announced 2016 VESEP program. 

The following tankers are being built as part of CFA’s capital works program:

  •          Milford
  •          Trida
  •          Allambee
  •          Glen Alvie

The following brigade-owned tankers will be delivered under the VESEP program:

  •          Belgrave
  •          Hildene
  •          Mount Taylor
  •          Pastoria
  •          Metcalfe (single cab LT)
  •          Rokewood   (single cab LT)
Last Updated: 14 September 2016