Absolute Fire Solutions’ FAST bucket adds U.S. and Canadian patents
July 21, 2010, Calgary - Absolute Fire Solutions, (AFS) announced today that 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.
By Carey Fredericks
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
"gated" drop capability which allows split drops on all sizes similar to a
tank, and a line of simplified accessories that use the "weight of the water"
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.
"We knew the innovative bucket was a breakthrough in
technology that would result in new possibilities and a change in conventional
thinking," said Steve Matthews, President of AFS. "This new system gives pilots
more control. They can alter bucket volume and disbursements based on the
demand and performance of the helicopter. No one will know that better than the
pilots and now they have the ability to make those choices."
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.
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," Matthews said.