Audio Feedback and Mindmapping Response

Posted On March 31, 2009

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I found my audio feedback from week 4 very useful. Having it up on blackboard has allowed me to open it up and access it a number of different times. Its also in an easy to use filing system so i’m not struggling to find a ratty old bit of paper with some lecturers handwriting on it I cant read.

From the audio feedback I concluded that I need to find a primary focus for my design and work on other areas of interest as a secondary if its applicable. My area as it stands is a very large area and needs to be narrowed down so I can conduct my work in the most efficient and effective manor. I have chosen to respond to this using a mind map to explore my key objectives then the possible areas that may need to be look at depending on my design choices and research approach.

I have chosen to limit my design to the slip on unit itself. Originally I was focused on the entire tray and toolbox system. As I found from the feedback this project may lead to be to large and time consuming. I have chosen to investigate the key areas of the tank, pump, equipment, storage, hose reel and potential spin offs. I have decided to look at any further aspects such as the tray and tool box if required in my design process. This way I will restrict and focus my research whilst increasing my productivity.

Vehicle Specifications

Posted On March 31, 2009

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These links have the full range of specs for both the patrol and land cruiser models. The patrol specs however are slightly more comprehensive. I’m still looking to get a full dimensional breakdown of both vehicles.

Land Cruiser 70 Series Broucher

Land Cruiser 79 Cab Chassis Specs

Nissan Patrol Cab Chassis Specs

Australian Standards in Relation to my Project.

Posted On March 31, 2009

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I have been investigating the SAI Global database to find standards that may affect my future design. I found that the majority of the standards are linked to infrastructure, clothing and fire detection. There is also a section deticated to the testing of materials under heat. As for firefighting tools and equiptment there is very little specified.  As the existing slip on units are made from a combination of existing products such as a davey firefighting pump and silvan 400 l tank it may be applicable to look at each type of product individually. For example pump fittings, sizes and hydrant requirments. From my reaserch it will be more applicable to refer to the standards as required. However the heat test for materials will be very helpful when I begin to experiment with materials etc.

I looked at the following documents Knapsack Spray Pumps for Firefighting AS 1687—1991, Fire Hose Reels AS/NZS 1221:1997, Protective Clothing for Firefighters AS 1687—1991 and a range of documents under the heading Ignitability and burning behaviour of materials and products. I found these documents very useful, they cover the areas of material specification,  joing methods and requirments and product testing.  They will help me understand the general requirments of Standards Australia and how to find the approipiate standard when I require it.

DSE Survey

Posted On March 31, 2009

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I have prepared a survey to be posted to the Mansfield DSE depot. Gathering data from a minimum of 25- 30 employees who use these units all the time and hopefully around another 20 who use the units occasionally.

I originally aimed to make the survey a tick box style survey. Using a 5 box grading system. This was because it would be faster for the individual to fill and the data easier to collate. I aim to make the survey relatively quick so people aren’t deterred from actually filling it out. After actually trialing the original prototype myself I found that I was limiting the range of information I could actually gather. By asking closed questions I was not leaving the individual to open up about the desired problem. This style also meant that the questions had to be worded in a particular to use the grading system but as a result question leading to my desired answer seemed to be created.

I have since modified the survey to focus on positives and negatives with no leading questions. Leaving the subjects to fill the table and elaberate were they feel nesaccary. This will hopefully allow me to gather a broader range of opinions with no bias.

Design Idea…

Posted On March 24, 2009

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I have been think about making the water tank of the unit mounted between the chassis rails bellow the tray of the ute. This way the tank could stay mounted permenatly and be used all times of the year without getting in the way. I took these photos at a near by nissan and toyota dealer. I was looking for the chassis design of both the Land Cruiser and Patrol but neither dealer had these models in stock. Instead I looked at the Hilux and Navara. Although these models aren’t has tall or as big they still will give a approximate ideal of the layout. I will endevour to get images and measurments of the correct vehicles.

NT Fire Unit Pics.

Posted On March 24, 2009

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I was given these photos from a mate at DSE. He saw these units in the Northern Terratory on a holiday.

Mansfield DSE Visit, Thoughts and Ideas

Posted On March 23, 2009

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Yesterday I visited the Mansfield DSE depot. This visit allowed me document the current range of equipment and slip on units they use. I took a series of photos of both the Toyota and Nissan vehicles and documented a range of problems in regards to each. As part of this visit I intended to talk with most of the crew but as unable to do so as most of them had been deployed to Alexandra on fire rehab. Instead I talked with Chris Purcell and David Hurley regarding the problems. Chris is the depots works coordinator and has approximately 28 years fire experience and David is the forest management officer of the crown land housing Mt Buller, Mt Stirling, Craig’s Hut and a fair portion of Mansfield high country. David also has a number of years fire experience. This discussion was very insightful. As I was already aware of some of the current issues surrounding the slip on units I new what questions to ask, but the answers I received were a lot more political then I had first expected. This obviously became a common theme in a government department.

Chris explained to me the situation with Toyota 4x4s in comparison to the Nissan Patrols. Apparently the Toyota’s were the better vehicle and the preferred of the DSE for a numbers of years. Since the days were the department was known as the forest commission. Recently Toyota released the V8 model Land Cruiser as a standards so naturally as the work vehicles were changed over with age, the new V8’s came in. These vehicles were obviously a step up in performance but came with a range of alternate issues in regards to the DSE’s requirements. The slip on firefighting units had to be mounted approximately 150mm back from the front of the tray. This was to distribute the weight over the rear axel. This was required by Vic roads as the V8 Land Cruisers were right on the weight limit at the front axel. By mounting the unit 150mm backward this reduced storage space on the tray and caused the vehicles to be extremely back heavy. This was a safety risk when climbing steep hills whilst four wheel driving. DSE then choose to bring in the Nissan Patrol as a solution to this problem. A V6 turbo Diesel. Although this was a smart alternative the Patrols aren’t quiet able to stand the harshness of the required work. With numerous numbers of the vehicles clutch’s breaking down after only 3000kms. Chris is chasing some numbers for me if they are available to him.

I was also made aware that the trays and toolboxes purchase were a department standard. Both these items were very costly and very basic for the prices they paid. If a cheaper more practical alternative could be found he said it would defiantly be in the DSE’s best interest to phase in the equipment with the new vehicle change over’s. Overall both Chris and David felt that there was a need for change in the designs especially with size increase of the fires over the last 10 years. The units they had were fast becoming obsolete for fire.

As I was unable to talk to the crew I wish to conduct a survey that may be distributed to a number of work centers to gather a broader opinion of the current systems etc. This will be distributed by the end of the week.

Over the summer months DSE employ approximately 1300 extra Project Firefighters (PFFs). These PPFs are distributed throughout all of Victoria’s work centers. The distribution depends on depot size. This generally ranges from 2 – 15 per depot. As Mansfield is one of the biggest depots in the north east they had 12 extra PPFs last year. This was my job for the last 3 years. As the numbers increase over the summer, the vehicles need to increase as well. 12 employees equates to 6 extra vehicles. The vehicles are stored in Melbourne over the winter and distributed to the depots as required over the summer. If this is the case it may be a big possibility that these PPF vehicles are redesigned to be fire customized, while the normal crew vehicles remain as they are using slip on fire units for fire and every day forest work. As away fire crews generally only consist of 3 or 4 vehicles the fire customized PFF vehicles could be first to go if deployed away.

RFS Lightweight Tanker Specs

Posted On March 20, 2009

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By looking at the websites of other agencies I was able to find that both the RFS and CFS use a similar unit to the DSE. However this is a more customized firefighting unit that is no removable. Although this unit is not removable and wouldn’t suit the purposes of the DSE this is a good starting point for exploring this equipment. These units are not as modern as the DSE mainly due to the fact the RFS and CFS are volunteer organizations and don’t have a lot of government funding. As a result there is only approximately 10 – 15 of these units in either state. This also means the units a slightly antiquated. They are mounted on older model land cruisers and don’t have problems with weight restrictions on the front axel. This is a major issue that needs to be addressed. These units are slightly more practically laid out and a key starting point for my project. I wish to look further into…

Tank size, weight, cost, practicality, usability, storage, centre of gravity, materials, equipment, removability, functionality availability to all agencies.

The following link contains all the specifications for the firefighting unit.

Specifications

Project Timeline

Posted On March 18, 2009

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A breif summation of my time. This semester I intend to focus on the idea exploration and the design of the project. My time has been broken up as follows…

project-scheme1

Current Slip On Firefighting Units

Posted On March 17, 2009

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As you can see the current range of existing firefighting units they are merely just a portable “slip on unit.” They are designed for the purpose of being portable and removable.

As a result of making the unit slip on it takes up valuable tray room, reduces practicality for a vast range of users, leave no storage room for other necessary equipment and cause unstable 4×4 driving conditions. Exploring ideas such as low center of gravity tanks, plug and play models depending on different requirements and space saving options may help to make this fighting unit more customized to suit its firefighting role.

DSE Visit…

I intend to spend next Monday at the Mansfield and Alexandra DSE depot. By doing this I aim to have a closer look at the current units and firefighting gear. As well as this I intend to talk to a number of the crew employees who use this equipment every day to gather and understand their thoughts. I will also meet with David Wells to discuss his thoughts on my project. David is regional fire officers for North East Victoria.

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