The chief is in command

Warwick Lorenz

Warwick Lorenz, Managing Director of Australian Pump Industries, on how the Aussie Fire Chief scores over its competition.

Climate change is presenting challenges which we never expected to face. It isn’t just about droughts and floods; it’s also about the horrific destructive power of terrifying bushfires that don’t just affect regional areas. They can devastate the outskirts of major cities too.

Australian Pump Industries has developed what is arguably the world’s best lightweight, portable fire pump – the Aussie Fire Chief. 

When we developed the Aussie Fire Chief, we were seeking to supply something that had advantages over and above products that were already in the market. We took the design from our 3” transfer pump, with its big belly body, and designed a closed impeller and volute that took advantage of the size of the pump to produce more flow and pressure than competitor products.

That was almost 28 years ago. Today, the Aussie Fire Chief is available throughout the world, with export sales climbing every season. 

In Australia, the Aussie brand of fire pumps has gained huge acceptance with major contracts from government departments as well as accolades from farmers and homeowners.

WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT THE CHIEF?

The excellent hydraulic design has enabled us to maximise the size of the impeller without overloading the engine. Compared to competitor brands, our impeller is an extra ½” in diameter. Our Chief Engineer John Hales achieved this with a perfectly balanced design for both impeller and volute, matched to the Honda GX160 engine. 

The extra large impeller means the pump delivers 25 per cent more pressure. Compared to cheap third world products, the superior performance is even more pronounced.

THE COMPONENT ADVANTAGE

It’s not just the size of the impeller but also the high-grade aluminium solid discus style that weighs much more than our competitors. While one brand uses a plastic impeller (nylon), another uses a two-piece impeller, which is held together with a tek screw. They call it the ‘floating impeller’ and believe a two-piece impeller is an advantage. We disagree with that. We think that it is not great engineering, particularly if the tek screw wears out, rusts or disappears during the life of the pump.

It seems obvious to us that pumps being used for firefighting or any farm duty, need to be steady with a stable base when operated. That’s why our fire pumps come either with a full frame option or mounted on two steel skids with anti-vibration mounts as standard. Take a look at the equivalents and decide which is best.

INLET SIZE AFFECTS PERFORMANCE

The Aussie Fire Chief comes standard with a 2″ suction port with a big heavy-duty check valve behind it. The 2″ suction inlet provides the pump with extra volume at a velocity that gets the job done.

Standard fire pumps from competitors have 1½” inlets. That’s a disadvantage that affects performance. With Aussie Fire Chief getting 33.3 per cent more water into the pump, it means more water out at pressure. That can be vital during critical firefighting or any other application. The inlet is flanged and it can be increased to 2 ½” or even 3″ for more volume but less pressure performance.

OUTLETS THAT DELIVER

The Aussie Fire Chief has one 1 ½” outlet and two 1″ outlets. All part of what we call a discharge tree, which is flanged mounted to the top of the pump body. We put metal caps and chains on those outlets to provide security for the user. Other brands use a three-way head while some have developed a four-way head with two 1½” outlets and two 1″ outlets. That’s a total of 5″ of outlet mounted with either a 2″ inlet or some models a 1½” inlet.

Our engineers can’t work out how you can operate four hoses that amount to 5″ of discharge when you only have a 1½” inlet to let the water into the pump. 

COST IS IMPORTANT

We know the Fire Chief costs more to make than our competitor’s products. But we put it on the market for $800 plus GST (Sydney price). Compared to the retail price of other brands, the Aussie Fire Chief is a bargain.

WHAT ABOUT WARRANTY?

The Fire Chief comes with a five-year pump end warranty. The pump’s suitability for application on the Honda GX160 and GX200 6.5hp engine is fully approved by Honda after stringent match testing. Although we get great performance, we do not overload the engine.

AUSSIE FIRE PUMP RESCUE

We are very proud of the Fire Chief and its big brother, Mr T twin impeller range. The pumps are fully supported by Honda and Australian Pump Industries. 

Aussie offers Fire Chief wet end kits that can replace other fire pumps, either with 5/8″ engine shaft or ¾” engine shaft. That means you don’t have to throw the engine away but can rather replace the pump end simply by carrying out a kind of ‘heart transplant’. But you can’t mix and match other parts with Aussie Pump parts. What will work is making sure the engine is still in good condition with plenty of compression. Fitting up an Aussie Fire Chief or Mr T twin impeller with the right engine is a piece of cake. We can ‘rescue’ old pumps, provided the engine is up to it.

FIRES ARE COMING

We take the fire situation very seriously. We know there is huge amounts of growth out there and that the volunteer fire services are extremely concerned about the possibilities of catastrophic fires this summer. It may be late in the season, but they believe they are coming. 

BIG PUMPS TOO

Australian Pump have developed a range of super high pressure twin impeller pumps that also have longer warranties and more performance than competitors. The Aussie Mr T twin impeller range is powered by a minimum 9hp Honda petrol engines or in the case of diesels, 10 hp Yanmars. They have pressures as high as 135 psi and also have excellent operating characteristics with more volume of water being thrown at a fire than others. 

For example, a new 3″ version of the Mr T, QPT305SLT pump, powered by 13hp electric start Honda petrol engine will produce flows of up to 200lpm at almost 100psi pressure. What’s more, the pump can handle that load without imposing any extra stress on the engine. Yanmar versions are also available, using 10 hp electric start diesel. 

All of the innovative product range the company has developed is based on customer feedback. Understanding what the user wants to do with the product is what drives us. We simply put ourselves in the customer’s place and ask, what would work for us?

For more information, including details of the Aussie fire pump rescue package, please contact Australian Pump Industries or visit aussiepumps.com.au.