Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd

Tools - the need for versatility

Published:  01 April, 2006

Today’s rescuers need tools which are fit for the job, reports Aidan Turnbull. The fact is that road vehicles now feature more rigid materials and improved construction features that make them harder than ever to get into.

The crash-resistance requirements of safety norms such as the European Norm 96/79 EC and the American NHTSA-Norm (MVSS 208, MVSS 214) for passenger vehicles and the European EN Norm ECE R29 for heavy goods vehicles are - paradoxically - making life tougher for RTA/MVA extrication teams.
The tools themselves have to be tougher and more versatile to cope with these new conditions.
New from Holmatro:
The Holmatro NCT(tm) cutter range has been specially designed to cope with for modern vehicle materials, says the company.
Recently, Holmatro introduced its new line of NCT (New Car Technology) hydraulic cutters. Through their unique 90* blade shape, these NCT cutters offer superior performance on modern vehicle materials and constructions.
Apart from a very controlled and smooth cutting action, this cutter range is said to require needs less pressure (force) to use than conventional cutters to use. If vehicles of the future present tougher challenges, Holmatro’s engineers feel the NCT range could already have the answer.
Also new is the Holmatro 4000-series of hydraulic rescue tools - the successor to the popular Holmatro 3000-series.
 Holmatro’s new revolutionary CORE Technology is standard on all 4000-series tools. However, the Holmatro 4000-series can also be supplied with traditional dual hoses.
Apart from CORE Technology, the 4000-series features carrying handles with integrated LED lighting ­now a standard feature on all Holmatro 4000­series cutters, combitools and spreaders.
Holmatro’s Bert Willems comments: “You need never work in your own shadow again, neither at night nor during daytime when bright sunshine can also cause dark shady areas. The integrated LED lighting also provides illumination in those cases when rescue scene lighting is absent (e.g. certain rapid intervention situations). On one standard AA battery, the LEDs run for about 6 hours continuously. The battery can be replaced in less than 60 seconds.”
The 4000-series cutters and combitools also feature the i-bolt central bolt construction - this means it’s sunk into the blade holder and directly squeezes the blades together. The i-bolt construction presents many benefits:
*The bolt is sunk into the blade holder. This results in a much flatter design which provides better access in narrow spaces;
*The blades are squeezed together directly, this as opposed to a conventional bolt construction where the bolt sits on top of the blade holder and squeezes the (‘softer’) aluminium blade holder together, with the blades in between;
*i-Bolt technology therefore results in less blade separation and a more efficient cutting process. A cutter with i-bolt technology outperforms an identical cutter with a conventional bolt construction, says Holmatro;
*The bolt and blade holder are protected by a stainless steel cover, making damage much less likely ( ‘damaging it impossible’ says Holmatro);
*Finally, the i-bolt construction reduces tool weight compared to conventional bolt construction.
Standard on all Holmatro 4000-series spreaders and rams, new speed valve open tools up 65% faster (for spreaders and 35% for rams), allowing for faster more efficient tool placement and thus shortening the duration of the extrication time required.
The speed valve increases the opening speed when pressure is not yet built up or when working pressures are low (below 150 bar). At 150 bar working pressure the valve automatically reduces the opening speed back to ‘normal’ to ensure a controlled and safe extrication process. The control handle of course allows for accurate and proportional opening and closing at both high and low speeds. More information? Visit:
Powerful stuff from LUKAS:
The LUKAS LSP 80 EN premium spreader is powerful in every sense of the word - it has a 46 ton spreading force.
One of the most powerful spreaders in the world, it’s considered to be especially suitable for heavy-duty rescue operations.
Comments Kurt Pleiner of LUKAS Hydraulik GmbH. “It features patented multifunctional tips for spreading, peeling, squeezing and pulling without the need to change between applications. It has proven its long-term quality worldwide. Clan Tools is our distributor for fire brigades in UK using LUKAS Rescue Tools.”
Recommended applications for the LSP 80 EN include accidents on roads, railroads, waterways, in the aftermaths of aircrashes and following natural disasters. It has been designed to work best in extrication missions involving car and truck crashes, in the moving and lifting of obstacles and where firefighters need to deform metal structures.
“The spreader will also easily peel man-sized holes in metal walls and pull away obstacles using a chain set,” points out Kurt.
“In fact, it can open steel walls up to 0.24 in/6 mm in thickness, can create openings up to 24 in/610 mm with one single stroke. The LUKAS spreader provides precise operation with your finger tips in any position. It offers spreading and peeling without changing of tips and, as additional operator safety feature - all moving mechanical parts are covered.
The LSP 80 EN provides a spreading force up to 101,000 lbs/450 kN and a spreading distance of 24 in/610 mm. Its squeezing force up to (at spreader tip) is recorded at 28,700 lbs or 128 kN, with a pulling force up to 22,200 lbs or 99 kN. Despite its power the unit only weighs 57.1 lbs or
25.9 kg. More information?
Tough tools for tough situations:
All new from AMKUS are the Extended Reach Tips (patent pending) for the AMK-24 Spreader ­these provide an additional 8 inches of spread. The unique construction of these tips eliminates loss of power while providing extended reach and the push button pins eliminate losing pins in the field.
The AMK-24 Spreader is said to be the lightest weight, full size spreader available with a ‘unique construction which allows maximum usable force’, says the company.
A spokesman told F&R: “The tips remain parallel to the cylinder throughout the spread, allowing them to stay in contact with the material continuously for maximum spread. This helps avoid piercing with the tips.
“A specially-designed check valve design maintains load. The spreader provides excellent balance and has been anodized for corrosion protection.”
The next model in the family - the AMK-28 - is a 28” (711 mm) spreader which provides an economical alternative to full size spreaders. This features a linkage/arm drive which provides superior forces.
The AMK-21 CUTTER features a unique 360 degree rotating handle with eight positions, allowing rescuers to place the handle in the best position for the desired cutting action. “A control valve placement provides a compact design allowing greater access for the user. The tool’s design provides excellent balance and natural hand placement meeting all kinds of automotive cutting requirements,” said the spokesman.
Its long blade provides a continuous cutting capability on B & C posts, third doors and roofs. ‘It’s designed for racing but lends itself to everyday vehicle rescue,’ says AMKUS. More information?
The multi-tool approach from KAMV:
Tested and approved by the Swedish Military Defence force, the K.A.M.V. SOS Rescue Tool unit has been designed and streamlined ‘to replace a toolbox which would normally weigh 30kg, and enables you to free up your hands for other tasks’, says the company. The SOS Rescue Unit tool-kit includes a remarkable 12 tools for a weight of of just 2.7 kg - and can easily be belt mounted.
“The SOS unit provides a means of fast release for victims of car accidents stuck in car-wrecks and other similar scenarios,” said a spokesman.
“Today this tool is used by rescue personnel, disaster teams, fire Brigades, police, ambulances, armed forces and civil defence teams.”
The SOS Rescue Unit including an axe, crowbar, heavy hammer, plate-cutter, metal­saw, saw for wood, glass and concrete, a knife, a hammer, a chisel, a spade, a pickaxe and an angle and gauge rod.
Essentially six separate items, the SOS Rescue kit can be manipulated and made up into 12 different powerful tools. Through connecting the different parts together in different directions a rescuer can create a required tool in just a matter of seconds.
All parts of the SOS Rescue Unit are produced with heavy duty and reliability in mind. The handles are made of tempered steel and are epoxy lacquered and the inner surfaces are treated with plastic oil. The handles are equipped with a heavy duty rubber for great grip.
Parts like the claw and the axe-blade are made of tempered tool-steel, and the saws and knife are made of bimetallic, non-chattering high-speed steel. The holster is manufactured from heat resistant polyamide reinforced with glass fibre and contains ventilation holes and buttons made of brass. Whether in holster or plastic case, the SOS Rescue Unit is made for long-term storage, says the company. More information? Visit:

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